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The Fake Fake Memoir

You say you are lying, but if everything you say is a lie, then you are telling the truth, but you cannot tell the truth because you always lie... illogical! Illogical! Please explain! You are human; only humans can explain! Illogical!

-Norman the Android from the
Star Trek episode I, Mudd

It's the craze that's sweeping the nation: The Fake Memoirs. Everybody's writing them. Everybody's publishing them. The defenders of this new reportage point to all of the roman à clefs that have been written over the years without realizing that those were all published as novels.

See here's my problem: everything in Beer, Blood and Cornmealy happened. I fought the Poontangler and slugged it out with the Sasquatch. I had the corn tortillas hurled at me by drunks. James Hetfield did yell "Kill the fags" at me while El Homo Loco pummeled my nuts. It's all true, making my book barely deserving of the name memoir in today's crazy mixed up publishing world. There are even 32 color pages in the book giving viability to every depraved word of it. People still stop me on the street to ask me when I'm wrestling again even though I haven't worked with Incredibly Strange Wrestling since 2003 - and that was in Europe. Count Dante retired to write his memoirs, damn it!

So what is the truthful writer to do? It's time for the fake fake memoir. A memoir that is all true but is exposed to be a hoax, only the hoaxing is in fact the hoax, not the memoir. I can have my sister call the Chronicle and tell them that I never wrestled and am really spent those years earning my MBA from Stanford. Sure, It's pretty confusing, but I think that our current literary world is ready for the next level of shamming.

But then I come back to the burden of proof meaning that I am burdened with proof. Too many people saw me. Too many people know me. I'm not sometimes played by different people at public appearances. The faking of the fake memoir will never work with me but you're welcomed to try. As George P. Cosmatos, the great director of Tombstone once said, "All of the mustaches and lightening are real."

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No good deed will go unpunished

As I sit here writing my comments at a desk made of genuine plastic, I find that, over time, it matters less and less if anyone believes a word I write. I'm elated if they read it at all. In fact, I could probably benefit from a good dose of identity theft. If someone wants to steal my identity, it probably means I have an identity worth stealing.
More and more, of late, one hears of someone faking their own death in order to obtain sympathy, cash, or just a good rest.
I propose a brand new scam for consideration: faking one's own birth. The possibilities seem limitless, but then one has to deal with the sort of paradox you presented at the beginning.

Eric Nichols,
North Pole, Alaska

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Fiction is always nipping at the edges.

Fiction is always nipping at the edges of all we write. It's a constant battle to keep in from intruding on even our best intentioned works. For me, I felt that I might be the only one to tell this tale in print, so I'd better do it right. Also with a cast of characters like El Homo Loco, El Pollo Diablo, Macho Sasquatcho and The Mexican Viking, fictionalizing would have only made it duller than what real life had already supplied me.

Thanks for commenting,

Bob Calhoun

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Interesting thoughts.

Interesting thoughts. Perhaps the root of the problem is that it's all fiction anyway. I've just finished a first draft of a memoir that uses some techniques more common in fiction. It might end like this:

I started out thinking that I would write a book which was "true." I don't know what that word means any more. Truth is like matter itself. The closer you look, the more it disappears, until you are confronted with spinning particles, tiny speeding entities that are changed by the mere act of examination. Stories, losing their brief purchase in the present, change in the telling, and the best one can hope for is that illuminate a little and that they entertain.

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Double what I said to Steel Stonehenge

James, Fiction is always trying to claw its way into our works but sometimes you have to be true to the story because you may be the only one to tell it. There is that burden. Still, I love a good hoax. J.T. LeRoy was a pretty good hoax. I'm not so sure about the others. Frey is almost a victem of the memoir craze. In the 70s, he could have just written his book as a novel and it would have been published.

Thanks for commenting,

Bob Calhoun