The decision to write a memoir is not to be taken lightly. Having done it, a retired USAID FSO shares his experience. BY FRANK J. YOUNG A ghat on the Ganges River in Varanasi, December 1969. The holy city along the sacred river has nearly 100 such flights of riverfront steps, where religious rituals are regularly performed. An elderly Rajasthani man in Hyderabad, February 1970. Heading into retirement, it's natural to look back and reflect on one's career and life over a job span that, in the Foreign Service, may be 25 years or longer. There is great temptation to want to commit memories and events to paper to show family and friends what you experienced in your many assignments and at many posts. Perhaps you want to write about a seminal experience that influenced you in ways that explain the life path you chose, or simply catalog a life well lived in service of your country. There are many reasons why any of us may be tempted to write our story. They are not likely to include matching literary wits with a William Faulkner or Toni Morrison, or making The New York Times Bestseller List. Yet writing about one's life can be such a heady experience that it's easy to forget the point of it. Eric Idle once mused in his own memoir, Always Look on the Bright Side of Life , that writing a memoir is at once thrilling and a bit shameful. But that doesn't mean […]
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