What is it? Memoir? Biography? Diary? Journal?

A friend, Barbara Frazier, just sent me a marvelous email showing a clear understanding of what I struggled to say in My Unveiled Face: A Memoir of A Free Woman. Barbara also sees my problems with getting women of different ages interested in this history of women in those difficult times. And in my story.

Immediately an old book popped into my mind and I grabbed Cave Drawings For The Future from a bookcase. Mentally I could see Abner Dean’s pictorial cartoon of side-by-side labeling of Biography and Autography.

Reality is even better than memory! The naked guy (all Abner Dean’s people have no clothes) above the Biography label smiles as arms from both sides reach out to lift him up and help him on his way to success. That’s biography: lots of help.

Then I laugh and I’m still smiling – at the clawing teeth and nail (also naked guy), rocks falling on him as he fights to make his quite difficult way in life. Autobiography: and of course he did it all himself! Same life. Two vastly different stories.

Curious, I look up Abner Dean (when I bought this book lo those many years ago there was no Goggle) but today on an entry on The Comics Journal:

Born on March 18, 1910, Abner Dean died on June 30, 1982 in New York City, the place of his birth. The last piece in his final volume of new material is an illustrated poem titled “Very Late Afternoon Thought.” Dean drew an empty chair in front a drawing table with a cartoon of a question mark torn into four pieces:

What is there

Will not be me –

I will have left there

Quietly

On exit cue

With cartoon done –

And you can sit and watch the fun.

What makes me appreciate and laugh is how well Abner Dean nails it: Who tells the story? Fortunately for me and my Memoir this time it’s me! And I’m gonna buy more Abner Dean; he’s insightfully, killingly, funny.


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