Dr. Filas, my professor at Westfield State who taught me about memoir writing, said, “It doesn’t have to be exact. You can paraphrase or embellish if you need to.”
Although I am not against the practice of embellished dialogue for some, I will not use it in my writing. Some conversations stick in my mind, but others are foggy, so I will say “I have said” or “He may have said.” The exact details are important to me, so I will not say definitively that something was said if it was not.
The problem is, it’s been twelve years and I am starting to forget things.
“Did Dad like onions?” Max asked me the other day.
I opened my mouth to answer, but would not bet my life on it.
Roger wrote with his left hand but used a leftie glove for baseball. “Did Dad bat and golf rightie?” I asked Tyler.
“He definitely batted righty.” He answered. “Football was left.”
Roger’s face, scent, and voice are tucked away in a safe place in my mind, but some things have already fled.
I will put this on my pros list as another good reason to continue writing my memoir. Putting it on paper while I still remember everything, or most things, locks it into the world, and not embellishing ensures it’s everyone’s story about Roger, not only mine.
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