I have recently been reading memoirs and from the title of one called, “Writing God’s Obituary” by Anthony B. Pinn, and I noticed that this writer spends the majority of his time writing about how he was a preacher including tidbits from his childhood rather than focusing on his theme of how he became an atheist.
How does a writer avoid this? I think that the theme has to be focused on ones’ mind and the writing has to stay within those parameters. He could have for example have spoken not just about how he became a preacher, but what changed him. How the seeds of that change became implanted in his head rather than fifty or sixty pages of needless blather about biographical material.
I am talking about his book so that I can remember to streamline and focus in my own memoir. What makes my memoir about working at a big box store important? It was the fall from working as a teacher to working as a minimum wage worker that is important. It is the humiliation and rage at this situation. It is the strange and vapid glances from other workers, and the feeling of gloom and desperation.