A cycle of meta-essays based on episodes in the writer’s life as lover, father, teacher, and writer. In aggregate they describe a narrative arc while describing the interplay between memory and the creative process.
All but two of the works have been published in various journals from 1997 to 2012. Each riff is titled by a song, creating the soundtrack of a life!
I'm not sure what a metamemoir is, but it seems to be a literary version of a great rock album, a set of great tunes in different keys and rhythms crafted and chosen to make some kind of sense. Sure, the writing is brilliant, not just smart, but sparkling. Sure, sometimes it's Laugh Out Loud. And sure, it's a personal story. But it's also the story of generations, and our generations, and how we got to where we are by doing the best we could with what we knew at the time. And those belly laughs can leave you weeping. And for all the art and intellect, what makes it go is simplicity and honesty. No self-serving excuses. No profound answers. No irritable reaching after fact and reason. Just truth. And it deserves to go platinum.
David Bradley, author of the Pen-Faulkner Award-winning novel, The Chaneysville Incident
My mother’s breath fills my ear as she whispers from her deathbed, “That goddam bitch Joan Baez ruined your life.”
She has told me this many times. She isn’t senile; this is a theme of hers. I jet back to Massachusetts, and though she lingers longer than anyone predicts, in Florida a few weeks later, she dies in her sleep. The prior evening, when her nurse asked if she wanted anything in the morning, Muriel joked, “I’ll have a dry Martini.”
So my brother and sister and I bury our mother with a fifth of Boodles Gin, a pint of Martini and Rossi Dry Vermouth, and a jar of green olives. Had we buried her with pearl onions, she’d have risen from the dead. “Who ordered a goddam Gibson?” she’d say. When I share my resurrection scheme with my sister, she thinks I am kidding, but Muriel lived a life nourished by spite; who knows how long enmity can animate the soul?
from Norwegian Wood
The soundtrack of my life suggests these narratives. Instead of a rounded story called “Graduation,” you’ve read an inconclusive tale called “Norwegian Wood.” Other riffs on other songs in other tempos will tell other tales. I am a product of my time; in my time, in America in the second half of the twentieth century, popular music defines us.
I write memoir, not history. Writers who attempt autobiography bewilder me, and I am in awe of the few who have believably managed it. So another witness may protest that what I report is only tenuously related to the facts. Glasser, it happened this way, not that.
In every case, they are right.
The truth I report and you read is the truth of the heart. If you find meaning in any of that, I am glad for you.