You can’t invent other people’s lives, but you can invent your own. You do it every day, of course, as you are living it. Your life is a series of enacted acts that come to crescendos and conclusions, minute by minute, day by day. So when you are writing a memoir you are really reinventing what you have already invented, and, in the process of reinvention/revision, you find angles and screws and coils and cogs that you missed the first time around; I say, put them in now, for god’s sake.
Memoir is the only second chance you ever get at life. It is a willful turning back of the clock, a logical impossibility, and yet you do it, because your mind exists outside of time. If your memoir is really good, really honest, really from the roots of your heart, you yourself will not even know what is invention/reinvention and what is “really real” because the act of remembering imaginatively blurs those distinctions for you, forever.
Lauren Slater, from Salon’s guide to writing a memoir
Slater’s Lying: A Metaphorical Memoir is one book on my shelves I really gotta reread. Soon.