As I read Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, I found myself in awe of Jenny Lawson’s ability to write about her life – happy moments, scary moments, everything in between. She infuses her stories with humor and her wry voice is a clear wink to the reader. Her memoir reads like conversations with Lawson.
I admit – I’m jealous.
I took a non-fiction/memoir writing class during my MFA and rewrote a story about a single moment in my life three different times. Each version was wildly different. One was dark and bleak and totally bummed out the class. One had a distinct voice of current me talking about past me and that didn’t go well. The third was a more roundabout approach – my attempt to ease into the dark and bleak story.
While everyone had positive things to say in general about my writing, it was obvious none of the stories worked. The teacher said maybe I hadn’t found the right way to tell that particular story yey.
I’ve always suspected I can’t write a memoir or short stories recounting actual events. My writing voice isn’t really my voice. I get formal and stuffy. I think it’s my way of putting distance between me and the difficult story. Granted, I haven’t tried writing about anything lighthearted in my life so maybe that would be different.
I approach all memoirs conflicted. I am interested in the person or the story they will tell but expect to be disappointed by the voice. I have a preference for the authorial voice; I want the memoirist to be upfront with me that she is looking back on something and has current opinions about the past. Not sure why, but it’s what I like.
Lawson’s book is written with chapters either being a pithy story of one event or conversation, or a thematic tale that rambles along its track. There was a present tense voice clearly recounting past tales and I inhaled them. Lawson reminds us to acknowledge the absurdity of life and in our lives, and to focus on what is important – winning arguments, collecting whatever we are passionate about (even taxidermied animals with miniature clothes), and family.
Sounds about right.
Get her book here.
Visit her awesome blog here.