I have just filed my State of the Art column. This one is about memoirs and journals. I maintain that even people who don’t read much like them. Self-published ones are often more interesting than commercially published ones. I think this is the reason that reading blogs is so appealing. I find Zhoen’s accounts of her operating room experiences fascinating; they have the ring of truth, they are dramatic, they include the jargon of the specialist. And of course, every one of us expects sometime in our life to be the patient on the operating table, and we would like to understand what is happening. A nosy but practical interest. I ended my column with this paragraph.
“One of the most moving journals I have ever read is That Time of Year: A Chronicle of Life in a Nursing Home by one of my favorite professors. In his introduction Robert Tucker writes, 'I have asked myself, as one also interested in composition, how Joyce Horner manages so effectively to sustain a public interest (a stranger’s--my own, for example, as reader—for I never met her) in these originally private jottings.' I don’t remember anything about Miss Horner’s two novels, but I remember vividly this journal of her three years in a nursing home.”
How was it possible to make the account of such a restricted life so entertaining?