When I was in high school, I remember sitting in my parents living room watching the USA hockey team play the Soviet Union in the medal round of the 1980 Olympics. My dad, like most everyone else, predicted a sound defeat for the USA, but I held out hope a miracle would happen. And it did. A few days later, again sitting in their living room, I watched the scrappy USA team win the gold medal.
There’s only one problem with my story. It couldn’t have happened.
When the game took place in 1980, I was neither in high school nor living with my parents. My memories are obviously faulty.
If you’re writing a memoir or autobiography and face this dilemma, what are your options?
1) Write it anyway – it’s your memoir so say what you remember
2) Write it and admit your recollections are not correct
3) Ask others to fill in the blanks or correct misconceptions
4) Omit the facts that don’t add up
5) Write it as you remember, but don’t present it as fact; perhaps it was a dream or make it an idealized version of what you wish had happened
6) Don’t write about it because it is in error
Which approach would you take?