Friday, January 13, 2006

Please limit your use to 15 minutes while other patrons are waiting.

So, I'm here, live, from Tacoma's central library in the famed Hilltop neighborhood. You might remember it from the Bloods versus the Crips rivalry 1987-1992. Anyway, it's only a couple blocks from the County-City building where the sheriff's office is, so I'm feeling okay about being here. Plus, there's a kick-ass teriyaki place across the street that I dig a lot.

I ran 10 miles this morning. It wasn't raining when I left my apartment, but started about four miles into it. It's day 26, I think, of measurable rain here in western Washington, and I'm just praying for sunshine of any sort. Maybe just a dry day would cheer me up.

I'm going to help my friend John move sometime today, and then I hope to start planning Neil's bachelor party, which will be in March. His wedding is in June. I can't wait.

One last thing before I go: I wanted to write about the James Frey/Million Little Pieces controversy. I was turned onto the book from a positive review in the Onion's AV Club, and was floored after reading it about three years ago. But even though it was billed as a non-fiction memoir, I never quite bought 100 percent of everything that he wrote. I also didn't care if it was 100 percent true. Dave Eggers' first book, a "memoir", changed the way I wrote and the way I thought about things, but I didn't believe all of it. I love Augusten Burroughs books, but I don't believe all of what he writes. Ditto on some Chuck Klosterman stuff.

These authors have partially fictionalized their lives to make them fit the narrative structure they have in their minds. And probably to make their lives seem more interesting. I have no problem with this.

When Oprah picked Frey's book for her book club I was surprised. It's a gritty portrayal of a guy who's really lost his way, screwed up his life and ended up at Minnesota's lovely Halzenden rehab center. I gave her a lot of credit for picking the book and introducing it to a wider audience that likely wouldn't have picked it up -- ever.

So, I'm not upset with Frey because I never believed the book was 100 percent true. And I have a sneaking suspicion that the only reason people care about this is because Oprah's now attached to it.

I'll try not to trip on my soapbox on the way out.



At 10:06 AM, Blogger Brianna said...

from the Times article...

In an interview with The Times last month, Mr. Frey said that he originally envisioned "A Million Little Pieces" not as a memoir but as a novel. "We were in discussions after we sold it as to whether to publish it as fiction or as nonfiction," he said. "And a lot of those issues had to do with following in a legacy of American writers." Mr. Frey noted that writers like Hemingway, Henry Miller and Jack Kerouac had written very autobiographical books that were published as fiction.

But when Doubleday decided to publish the book as nonfiction, Mr. Frey said, he did not have to change anything. "It was written exactly as it was published," he said.


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