A LITTLE BIT of memoir goes a long way, particularly if you are considering writing an opinion piece. In this case, all we need is that you provide us enough reason to listen to you. In writing, we refer to this role of established authority as a reliable narrator. Are you one of these?
Memoir is all about territory. And you define yours by walking the perimeter of your expertise. I have many areas of expertise. I am a woman, a wife, a mother, sister, writer, dog-lover, trustee of my beloved university, memoir teacher, blogger, gardener, sailor, and more. And I would argue that within each of those areas of expertise are contained many sub-areas.
For instance, everyone knows that within motherhood are many chambers of a tender heart. For instance, we are the family doctor, and even that role breaks down into the sub-specialties of ER doc, psychiatrist, blood-spatter analyst (aha! He cut his finger here, and left the bloody towel here, on the floor. I see), chemist (as in stain-removing specialist: See blood spatter), etc.
In opinion pieces, it’s sometimes best to establish your expertise quickly and efficiently, and then get on to your argument.
Here’s a fine example of such a light touch. In the spirit of full discloser, I will tell you that the piece was written by my husband, appearing on Christmas Day in our local newspaper, where he is the editor. His column runs weekly, and yesterday, when I looked up from my paper and mentioned that I’d use him on my blog, you’d think I had given him some cashmere socks. Yes, even a seasoned newspaper editors think of it as a gift when a reader considers him a narrator reliable enough to enjoy.
So enjoy. And note how little he tells us of himself, but just how important those credentials become in a Christmas Day piece about the gnarliest of all topics – religion, and its place in politics.