“Write a memoir, Kirby! Write a memoir” – so goes the refrain from friends. “From the stories you tell, your life has been so interesting.”
I refrained from placating the refrain because I always thought my life was just normal. But I will take their word for it that whether you are a whoop-de-doo celebrity or politico or war hero or mass-murderer or an accountant or a janitor, your own life just looks “normal”. I am not any of the above – but I guess I will take my friends at their words.
Granted, I have been through a lot. More honest, perhaps, to say that I have put myself through a lot –- suburban childhood to young adult street-kid to part-time cowboy to acid-jazz hippie musician and neo-beat poet to reasonably respected (if not always respectable) newspaper reporter and historical researcher. I guess you could say “I’ve been around”.
I am going to call this collection of essays fiction for several reasons. My life has not been any “Andy of Mayberry” type deal – probably more like “Twilight Zone.” There are probably people who were involved in it that would just as soon not be fingered for having been. To borrow from another TV reference, “The names have been changed to protect the innocent”. Additionally, memories by nature tend to be faulty, sometimes fuzzy and imprecise (particularly so if you grew up in the 1960s and 1970s). I did not take Chicago Manual of Style reference notes on my own life. Last but not least, it is the nature of memories that they embellish themselves – so be it.
I am also going to leave out some of the really miserable episodes because I don’t care to recall them and you don’t deserve to be subjected to that sort of crap.
And so, dear friends in the chorus and innocent bystanders, grab your ass (or hat, as appropriate) and welcome aboard the ride. Please keep your tray tables in the upright position and seat belts fastened. We expect some turbulence.