Tom Wolfe, seven or eight years ago (starting at:17): “I’ve never been tempted to write a memoir. I really honestly believe what George Orwell said, which was that the memoir, the autobiography, is the worst form of fiction ever devised. Because people are willing to confess to anything colorful or exciting [in their lives]…they murdered somebody or they smoked a lot of dope…it could be almost anything.
“Except for the humiliations. They will never write about the humiliations, which, Orwell said, make up 75% of life. I couldn’t agree more with that.”
Wolfe is right — the best autobiographies are those in which the author doesn’t cut himself/herself the slightest break. Which is why my forthcoming, work-in-progress memoir (I probably won’t call it Last Honest Asshole but the title is catchy) will rank highly as I’ve never shirked from talking about rejection, melancholy moods, sullenness and feelings of existential downerism and depression — these states of mind have been tugging at my spirit since I was six. The problem of course, is that most people don’t want to read about guys who scowl and feel shitty about things. And so editors are always telling writers to keep things lively, and that means good, well-told stories, etc.
This is one reason why I shut down after an hour’s worth of party chatter. Because you’re obliged to be “on” all the time, and nobody wants to hear anything but funny stories, pithy insights and amusing anecdotes.