Reflections on writing about yourself

Don Miller reflects on writing a memoir, and by extension, about any writing about yourself:

1. Confession: There is something in me that wants to be known by others. I share my life to have other people read about it, put down the book, look me in the eye and say "you exist."

2. Confession: Half the time, if not more than half, I am full of bullshit. I share what will make me look good. If I am vulnerable, I share just enough vulnerability to be perceived as vulnerable, rather than to actually humiliate myself so that others can talk more openly about their own insecurities. I also leak in my accomplishments, and I've become a master at it. I don't even know I am doing it half the time, and the other half I strategically list my accomplishments so that they come off as dismissive or "in passing."

3. Justification: By exploring my own feelings about life, I am actually exploring the human condition, and in writing I try to find something interesting about "us" rather than "me" and so by reading about me, people are actually reading about themselves. I believe this is actually true of the memoirist. If they really wrote all about themselves, nobody would care.