All of their books are worth reading, and/but what I wanted to pass on this morning was CS's advice about memoir. She teaches Creative Non-Fiction and gets a lot of what she called "My Trip to Paris." Her simple question to her students (the disappointed ones clutching their Paris journals) was this: Why should I care?
What a good question! It comes up in poetry all the time -- this is pretty but why should I care? This certainly rhymes but why should I care? And, of course, it comes up in fiction where it's more of a whack upside the head. Someone works for months on a novel and then comes The Question. The stuttering answer often is, "I worked hard on this." "It really happened." "I've always wanted to tell this story."
Those answers wouldn't cut it with Ms. Strayed. And if you're given to self-interrogation (the shiny boot, the leather glove, the hot lights) they might not be good enough for you, either.
And probably shouldn't be.