Friday, March 25, 2005

Giving it away

I found a great article in today's New York Times. (You'll have to register to read it, but it'll just take you a minute and it's free.) The headline, "We All Have a Life. Must We All Write About It?" captured my interest immediately and the cartoon illustration made me snicker.

The memoir has been on the march for more than a decade now. Readers have long since gotten used to the idea that you do not have to be a statesman or a military commander - or, like Saint-Simon or Chateaubriand, a witness to great events - to commit your life to print. But the genre has become so inclusive that it's almost impossible to imagine which life experiences do not qualify as memoir material.

Canvassing the publishers' catalogs, I was intrigued to see "All in My Head," by Paula Kamen. It's about a headache the author has been carrying around for more than a decade. It will do battle on the bookstore shelves with, among many others, "Fat Girl," by Judith Moore, a memoir of growing up fat and female, which in turn will compete with another fat-girl memoir, "I'm Not the New Me," by Wendy McClure, which will square off against "Faith in Carlos Gomez: A Memoir of Salsa, Sex, and Salvation," by Samantha Dunn, who found a new way of life, and a book topic, when she signed up for dance lessons. Then there's "House," by Michael Ruhlman. It's about a house. Is there not something to be said for the unexamined life?

I can't believe people are willing to pay actual money for these books. And now I'm wondering why I'm still here, blogging away for nothing, when I could be selling books about managing my almost-daily TMJ headaches, living the good life in a soprano-size body, or dithering over what color to paint the kitchen of my little Cape Cod house.

Hmm. If I'm not back by this time tomorrow, just assume that I've found a sucker--er, a publisher who's interested in paying for the kind of stuff bloggers give away every day for free.


tristan coulter said...

You can sell pretty much anything; it just has to come in a pretty package. Invention is the mother of necessity… tell people they need something – they’ll buy it. We’re all a bunch of suckers who are very easy to capitalize on.

Special offer! For the low price of $4.95, I’m willing to offer my opinions on any topic! Act now and for an addition $2 I’ll also judge you based purely on superficial observations! This package makes a perfect gift for loved ones, coworkers, or neighbors!

Brenda Coulter said...

I can't believe you're "comment spamming" your own mother's blog. Especially after I bought you that cool new shirt the other day.

tristan coulter said...

The shirt is cool, I dig the new duds.

I'll refrain from spamming in the future.

Heather Diane Tipton said...

Oh come on Brenda. Tristan's spamming and your response is entertaining to me! ;-)

Gone Away said...

I have plenty of spam. Offers, anyone...?

Brenda Coulter said...

No, thanks. I really couldn't eat another bite.

Anonymous said...

Do you really that! (spam)
I eat anchovy ;-D