Like many writers, I have long struggled with how to write with honesty. I mean the kind of honesty that writers are supposed to have in memoir. Not just the soul-baring kind, but the sort which could leave you open to others judging or looking askance at you.
I recently read FREE FALL, by Rae Francoeur, and this book sets the bar high for honesty. It has been billed as a ”late-in-life-love-affair” and erotic memoir. The writing in FREE FALL is breathtaking, carrying you effortlessly from one page to the next and the next. It’s the kind of book I walked around the house with in one hand while cleaning with the other, because I simply didn’t want to stop reading it for a moment.
But what struck me most about this lovely book was the writer’s willingness to just put it out there.
I heard the author speak, and someone asked her, “Was it hard for you to bare so much for other people to read?” Her reply was, “I didn’t really think about it.”
That stopped me. I, and most of the other writers I know, have to make all sorts of end runs around the giant linebacking editor hulking around in our heads. And this, for the purpose of getting through a paragraph without stopping the flow in order to correct punctuation errors. But here was a woman who trusted herself enough to write about the most intimate of topics, sexuality, and about the struggle to carve out a life for herself vis-a-vis an old boyfriend who won’t let go.
Letting go is the larger theme of this book, and it is the entire point of the intimate scenes. That is, the sex is not for its own sake; it is a symbol of how the protagonist embraces a part of herself she had never allowed before.