Greenwood Encyclopedia of African American Literature

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Counter-Memoir


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Counter-Memoir
*
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Nobody wants to hear his stories:
what a relief. It's refreshing to him
not to be of interest, not to try to
entertain, not to inflate the value
of his experience. Obscurity is
a dear state to occupy. It is spacious
and undemanding, like a meadow
that wasn't on the map. Still, sometimes
people ask questions, maybe out of
politeness, hard to say. So then he talks
quickly about himself but changes
the subject as soon as possible. Silence
*
is his memoir. A blank page encompasses
that life nicely. He used to want people
to be interested in is stories. What,
he wonders, was he thinking? He
doesn't care about his life-story,
aside from the fact that it appears
to exist. His life-story is boring, partly
because he knows it too well. He wonders:
Is autobiography a kind of sin?
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Hans Ostrom Copyright 2009 Hans Ostrom
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