Oddly to me, once most people reach a certain level of renown, they seem to turn into Oreo cookies. That is, famous people come to consider themselves a sort of brand name, and they feel the need to protect that brand. In the case of my former lover, he was at first enthusiastic when he heard I was writing a memoir. However, he later called me up and said that he and his wife didn't want the world to think that he had been "weird." I pointed out, with some justification, that he had, indeed, been weird. "Well, yes, but not that weird."
The problem seemed to be that he did not want me to reveal that he had once gallivanted around the sunny meadows of any family’s Vermont community, or as some think of it, a "hippie commune." Though he had created a book that laid bare many aspects of his own life and that of his family, he didn't want people to know that not only in the Sixties, but also for years after, he’d often visited the oldest community in Vermont.
However, as he did finally reveal in his own work that he had visited a commune in Vermont (though he claimed he had only visited in the Sixties, when in fact we were well into the 1990s before he stopped coming up), I wonder whether the problem is not that he's ashamed of his hip past, but that he actually does not want people to know that he had an important, deep, and loving relationship with one of the women in that past.
The question then is, do I have the right to tell the story of my own life? At a writer's conference not too long ago, the memoirist Mary Kerr told me, "Take no guff." If she had bent to the will of her mother that she not publish her most famous book, The Liars' Club, it would have been lost to the many who read and enjoyed it.