Monday, February 16, 2009

Write Good and Evil, Not the Middle

You can do worse — and, candidly, most dads do — than to live a life based on how you would like your child to write about you in their tell-all memoirs. But that is not the only road to fame.

Who wouldn't want to be remembered as a Louis Uhlberg, a deaf man and paragon of virtues who loving raised the son Myron, author of a new memoir, Hands of My Father? On the other hand, it is certainly possible that if Joe Queenan's father hadn't been such an unforgiveable alcoholic lout and so emotionally abusive, young Queenan not only wouldn't have had the material that frames his own new memoir of how he grew, Closing Time, but he might never have become a writer at all. Thus, in a scientific study based solely on these two samples, the lesson for dads is either to be angelic or satanic ... if your goal is to encourage your child to write about you.

Blah dads make blah memories and those memoirs don't get sold. Fair warning Things One and Two, in the interests of your future literary careers, I may have to change everything very dramatically.

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