A writer came through Iowa City — they do that — probably in 2011 or 12, when I was still living there. He had published a couple of memoirs that had been well received, or at least that’s what his bio said. He couldn’t have been more than thirty-five or so, and how one writes two memoirs by that age is a little unclear to me, but that’s not what I want to write about.
He used the word “lovely” a lot, and the bulk of his advice — this was something like a workshop — to the under-35-year-old aspiring memoirists (I exclude myself from this category because the years have caught up with me) was to hustle, publish lots and lots, including, especially, little fragments from one’s memoir/s in a variety of venues, and never turn down an interview or publicity request. Also, you needed to tell everyone who did anything for you that she or he had been lovely, absolutely lovely.
I found his presentation really fun and lively and pretty much empty of content. I suppose it was, like his use of lovely, rather vapid. I haven’t been able to remember his name, I’m afraid, so I don’t know what his memoirs are like. Maybe they’re really good, which would mean, contrary to his usage, not lovely at all.