When I began Realitynibs.com, I could still remember Oprah Winfrey‘s interview of James Frey about five years ago. For those of you who don’t know, he wrote a memoir that was chosen for Oprah’s book club. As a result, A Million Little Pieces became an even bigger bestseller. Then it turned out that some accounts in the memoir had been fabricated by James. Oprah had him on again for an interview that Mr. Frey described as a public stoning.
This memory encouraged me to make a conscious decision about my writing. Was I sharing autobiographical stories? Or, as James should probably have declared, was I writing fiction based on my life?
Realitynibs.com shares stories (or nibs) from my life, that are related to my ongoing recovery from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I find myself constantly striving for a balance between honesty, privacy, and readability, without gratuitously outing others. There are of course a few people who are unhappy about what I’ve shared here. But the truth is that what I’ve written is a lot less sensational than what actually happened. For better or worse, my problem is not whether to make my story more dramatic.
Today, I finished watching the two-part interview of James Frey by Oprah Winfrey. Oprah devoted two of her final eight shows to this because apparently, the interview where she confronted Frey about the truth of his memoir remains the most controversial of her twenty five years. It was wonderful to see how far they have both come since. Mr. Frey went to France for a number of months after his last appearance on the Oprah show to escape the media whirlwind that followed. Ms. Winfrey came to the realization that she had been too harsh. She apologized to her guest, not for the questions she had asked, but for the way she had asked them.
Mr. Frey apologized too. The personal car crash, as he put it, was all his own making. It all left me thinking that if he could get through that, I can get through this…