Why do people write memoirs?
Because they want to understand the life they lead by looking back at the life they led.
Why do people read memoirs?
More or less the same reason, but just reversed. Isn’t it rather fashionable to read about someone else’s life, learn what you can and quote it next time in casual conversation in order to pass oneself as learned?
Sure we can.
At times we do and even get a kick out of it equally, especially when someone takes notice of it and marvels at your apt usage of it and at the significance of such a tidbit. Admittedly, what drew me in to buy & read the book is the author himself; a prominent anchorman and news personality on CNN and hosts his own show, AC360.
And even if he went by another name, who wouldn’t take notice of him; of his piercing stare, his clear and crisp commentaries and equally creative repartee with his guests. Not to mention his distinguished looks; all grey-haired and smart looking. Yes, Anderson Cooper is well liked.
When I found this hardbound 1st edition at a Book Sale branch in Makati, I liked it all the more because I didn’t have to order it from Amazon as Powerbooks don’t have it and it only cost me only P70, which is roughly $1.56 just to get to know him.
Born into a family of wealth and opportunity, Anderson is the son of famous fashion designer, Gloria Vanderbilt. But he traded all that to live his life, to pursue and discover his calling, wherever it may take him. The book touches on his reminiscing about his father, of his own identity crisis after he died and the chasm that threatened to pull his family apart that claimed his brother’s life as well, for he took his own life by jumping off their condo balcony, just minutes after speaking to his mother.
There are no words for situations like these but somehow Anderson has managed to weave all of this family history and drama into the dream that ever more gets strengthened and tested whenever he travels to other countries like Sarajevo, Nigeria, Iraq, Indonesia and more recently in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina struck the city in 2005.
Finishing the book tonight and reading his entries about missing his father, I can’t help but think of my own; how my Dad’s own passing changed me and continues to do so and affect me in profound ways that I could not have predicted.
They always say that life is for the living and that the good of men (as well as the bad) are often interred with their bones. And knowing that it is said often; might we not rock the foundation just a little bit and remember properly those who died? That what they left behind propels us to look inward and decide for ourselves what and how much can we leave behind, when it is time to do so?
I may not be a parent yet. But when the time comes, I would want to do the same for my child, be they be a son or a daughter.
That as a child, you live your life in accordance with what you parents have taught you, what your values dictate. And in so doing, you honor their life and memory by giving and living your life; giving it the best show that you can give. So far the best shots that I have given have resulted and manifested in creative endeavours like the release of my first album, dedicated to Dad and also embarked on the writing of my first book which I am dedicating to Mom who has strongly carried on for us and whom we equally feed and give our own strength back to whenever needed.
Although 3 years after Dad’s passing, I may not be a crack shot just yet, I can at least say that I’ve managed to aim dead center and increase my chances of getting a bullseye.
Ready. Aim. Fire.
……Next Round please.