Memoirs are supposed to be languid reflections of a notable life lived, correct? So how would you describe Cheryl Strayed’s runaway bestseller Wild, coming soon as a movie to a theater near you starring Reece Witherspoon? Strayed shares in her memoir insights on a failed marriage, grief over a lost mother, and pain stemming from a stepfather who moved on after their mutual loss. She does so, however, framed narratively atop a weeks-long hike along the Pacific Crest Trail.
The structure of Committed: A Memoir of the Artist’s Road is quite similar, but instead framed narratively atop a weeks-long cross-country road trip. This is a subgenre of memoir that far predates Strayed, from Peter Matthiessen (The Snow Leopard) to John Steinbeck (Travels With Charley). I don’t think it a coincidence that Matthiessen and Steinbeck are most known and remembered as novelists. Their memoirs read like novels, complete with plot, scene, dialogue and character arcs.
Those are the elements of Committed that I break down in a guest post for Cynthia Robertson’s blog. Cynthia is a fiction writer, as are many of her readers. I encourage you to visit her blog and offer your thoughts as a writer or reader on using fiction craft techniques to write nonfiction.
Oh, and if you’re going to be anywhere near Phoenix, Arizona, on Friday, January 2nd, 2015, I’d love for you to swing by a book-signing I’ll be doing at the Barnes & Noble Metro Center location from 3 to 5 pm local time!