The Passion of the Weiss

Sometimes I rhyme slow, sometimes I rhyme quick. But most of the time, I don't rhyme.

Monday, January 09, 2006

So You Wanna' Be a Memoirist?

Today, the literary world was rocked by the Smoking Gun’s revelation that James Frey, the author of the million-selling, Oprah’s book club selection, A Million Little Pieces, likely made up significant portions of his book, which was purported to be a memoir about his difficult battle with substance addiction. Repeatedly, this author went on national television to affirm the veracity of his story and help motivate people to get through their struggles with addiction. If you have some time to kill, I highly recommend check out the Smoking Gun’s in-depth revelations or at least the first page. Additionally, has a brief summary of Frey’s fabrications.

In particular, the two most shocking lies in his work deal with a three month jail sentence that he allegedly served for attempting to cite a riot, driving with crack in his car, and running over a police officer while high on some of Bobby Brown’s favorite medicine. In reality, dude spent like five hours in some hillbilly lockup before his mommy and daddy came and bailed him out. Awww…(you should also feel very bad for James Frey because it’s so so very hard to grow up in a rich family, ask anyone that grew up in the BH). Please at least read the first page of the Smoking Gun article though, it will blow your minds.

Additionally, a young writer named J.T. Leroy, who was alleged to have been a former truck stop junkie/gay male prostitute with AIDS and therefore drew sympathy and raves from the literary world and celebs like Wynona Ryder and Courtney Love has also been revealed to be a fraud (see this New York Times article). Consequently, the just barely fiction works that he also published…(which were supposedly based on very true tales of his life) not so true either. In fact, there isn't even a real J.T. Leroy, it was a hoax put on by a couple of middle-aged struggling authors.

Naturally, I’m pleased with both of these revelations, mainly because it unmasks the ongoing trend of bullshit memoirs that were being passed off as gritty non-fiction accounts. Every major book it seems over the last five or so years has been some self-indulgent jackasses memoir of his life. What is a memoir you ask? Embellished fiction by someone untalented enough to have written an actual novel, so he just cobbles together a mediocre hodge-podge of fact and lies and calls it “authenticity.” Fuck them all. With that in mind, I’m publishing a list of what it takes to be the next literary superstar. Follow these five rules and maybe you too can be then next jerkoff going on Oprah to cry about how his rich parents never loved him and how he had to turn to crystal meth and asking hookers to snort coke off of his dick (Frey claimed to have done this too).

5 Helpful Hints to Become a Successful Memoirist

5. The Lindsey Lohan Theorem

First off, ask yourself, how many celebrities do you personally know? This is probably the single most important thing you can do to become an outstanding writer. For instance, Lindsey Lohan is a huge fan of coke-addiction memoir, A Million Little Pieces (I wonder why) and has been known to frequent James Frey’s readings. The result: millions of book sales. Always get celebrities to read you. They are very important and intelligent people. Think about it, they’re famous, and to be famous you clearly have to be a genius (see Kim Stewart and/or Paris Hilton).

4. Fuck Tha' Police
Have you ever gotten a traffic ticket? If so, you too can be a successful memoirist. Because now you have experience with “the law,” or as James Frey might call them, “the fucking pigs.” Now, just imagine what you would have liked to have said to the police officer, instead of obsequiously following his commands like your mommy and daddy have always instructed you to do. Since you imagined that it could’ve happened, it did, in your mind. Now write down what you thought you could’ve said and tell everyone that it was the truth. For example, when you got a traffic ticket and told the cop that you were “so so very sorry and you’ll never run a yellow light again,” you can write down: “There I was doing 90, cocaine dripping out of my nose, when I mowed down six pedestrians. When the cop’s came to get me, I was like, “Motha fuckas, betta’ run or I’ll bust a cap in yo’ ass.” Then I began shooting wantonly. Three policemen died in my assault. I blame everything on myself and my addiction.”

3. Drugs + Sex=Good
Have you ever sucked dick for coke? Well, even if you haven’t it’s no impediment to becoming a cause celebre in Hollywood. Just say that you have. In fact, almost every actor and actress in Hollywood has sucked dick for coke and more than once. Once again, refer to my rule No. 5 for being a successful memoirist: make celebrities like you. If they can relate to you, they will like you, and if they like you, you’re obviously a very talented artist. Just always remember to discuss your willingness to exchange sexual favors for drugs. It shows exactly the great lengths of depravity you will stoop to recognize your artistic vision.

2. Curse Early and Curse Often
Do you like to curse? I should hope so, because if you curse a lot in your writing like James Frey, it will make people think that you are incredibly badass and therefore never question that you served various jail stints. The only reason why James Frey got caught for fabricating his tales was that he didn’t curse enough. Consequently, the Smoking Gun got suspicious and the next thing you know the million selling author was revealed to be a fraud. Here are some example sentences that will point the way to your future dreams of gold, starlets and buried treasure: Fuck, there I fucking was. Motherfucking, look at a bitch hooker slut whore, suck my motherfucking cock, bitch. Man, I love nothing more than fucking a whore. Fuck. Shit, I couldn’t even fuck. Too much coke. Fuck. Why the fuck was fucking father so godddamn mean to me when I fucking was a fucking kid. Assholes. I’m so fucking scared. Addiction. Fuck. (note: this is taken verbatim from James Frey’s memoir, okay, not really but it’s damned close).

1. Have as little actual talent as possible
Who needs talent when you have a ready-made back story that can attest to your authenticity? Talent is so 20th century. You don’t need the ability to pin a coherent narrative while interweaving beautifully written prose anymore. All you need is to be a bad-ass human being. They say that reality is the new fiction, anyway. So just make sure that your “reality” is filled with hard drugs, a complete lack of morals and countless stints in rehab and the literary world will be your oyster. You don’t even need to be literate anymore. So good luck, ladies and gentleman in your efforts to be the next James Frey or J.T. Leroy and remember…always keep it gritty.


At 4:51 PM, Anonymous An Unemployed Former SFVBJ Reporter said...

These are shocking relevations, although I can't say I am that surprised. There's been a drought at the bookstore for a minute ... over-commercialization of bullshit, if you ask me. But hey, what can do you do?!
Congrats on making good on your resolution to quit the BJ this year. Get that damn book published dawg and go after your dreams!!! We'll have to call you "Job Dropout" pretty soon ... hopefully with the same success level as the College one.

At 5:08 PM, Blogger Passion of the Weiss said...

I completely agree with you, my thoughts on this issue is that it's just so much easier to not have to make a "deep" comment about society when you can just create fiction and say "this is how it is," rather than have to be nuanced. The thing is, I tried to go the James Frey way, straight up memoir/narrative and it wasn't very good because their wasn't enough plot and narrative twists. So I tried to blend fiction with a memoir deal and it played still too memoir card. You have to pick one or the other and there's a reason why no one started going nuts for memoirs till about five years ago, because people used to be able to write well and there is a dearth of good books in the marketplace. Enter the memoir, much easier and much more marketable see reality TV.
BTW, thanks for the message, I really appreciate it.
-A Soon to Be Unemployed Reporter

At 8:11 PM, Anonymous Addiction Treatment Center said...

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At 7:45 PM, Anonymous Addiction Treatment Program said...

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