Today over lunch FFJ and I discussed the difference between autobiography and memoir. Over delicious pad thai from Thanh Do, I told her about how I was reading Bob Mould’s See a Little Light: The Trail of Rage and Melody and listening to Rob Lowe’s Stories I Only Tell My Friends: An Autobiography.
First, who am I? I don’t even like non-fiction and always claim to dislike memoirs (or autobiographies, more about this in a minute) and here I am smack dab in the middle of two of them.
FFJ asked me what the difference was between autobiography and memoir.
“I’m not sure,” I said. “I just googled it a few days ago and there doesn’t seem to be a real consensus on it.”
“I think an autobiography is about your entire life from the time you’re born up to the writing,” she said. “Memoir would be about your life at a certain point in time or an event.”
“That’s exactly what one of the articles I read said.”
I think I went on to (incorrectly) wax on and on about how Rob’s (yes, first name basis) was a memoir and Bob’s was an autobiography. If you read the actual title of Rob’s book it tells you right there what it is, and it follows the definition that FFJ laid out (and that I am agreeing with). Rob is telling his entire life story. Bob’s is also an autobiography — again with the entire life story.
Why did I call Rob’s a memoir? Rob’s is funny and feels somehow lighter not as grave or serious as Bob’s. Rob talks about people I’ve heard of. Bob’s is exhausting and mentions people who sometimes sound vaguely familiar but who are, more often than not, people I’ve never heard of. And the real reason? I’m enjoying Rob’s book more. However, if you were to ask me I’d say I’m much more interested in Bob’s life than Rob’s. I mean come on, he’s Bob fucking Mould.
The books are both interesting and my brain keeps comparing and contrasting them as if I have an essay paper due in English class next week. It’s kind of weird how each of their career’s follow a similar timeline. However, their experiences of the 80s are vastly different.
So because my brain has decided that its writing this compare and contrast essay, it’s been looking for ways to link Rob and Bob. Tonight, it had its Eureka! moment.
While making coffee for tomorrow, it hit me.
Matt Dillon. Hell, yeah!
Rob Lowe was in “The Outsiders” with Matt Dillon who wore Husker Du t-shirt in “Beautiful Girls” and Bob Mould was in Husker Du. Somehow it made me feel really smart to figure out this connection and I had to share it with someone. You’re welcome.