Sunday, May 12, 2024

#133 / Mother's Day - 2024

Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, has written an autobiography. His autobiography is titled, Spare, and it was ghostwritten by J.R. Moehringer.

According to the BBC, Prince Harry's autobiography is "the weirdest book ever written by a royal." I have to confess: while Prince Harry's book has been available for sale (and in the library) for over a year, I still haven't read it. I am probably not going to read it, either. I am not much of a royalty fan. Didn't Americans get over that about 250 years ago? If not, in my opinion, we should have!

What I have read is an article that appeared in the May 15, 2023, edition of The New Yorker. This article, by J.R. Moehringer, is a "Personal History," outlining the personal history of Moehringer, and not so much the personal history of Prince Harry. Moehringer's article is titled, "The Ghostwriter." Moehringer has written a follow up article, too, titled, "Notes From Prince Henry's Ghostwriter." You can try reading that one, too, as well as the first, if you want to go all in on the Moehringer-Prince Henry relationship.

Today is Mother's Day, and I am remembering something from that original New Yorker article - something that both Moehringer and Prince Harry had in common. Reporting on his growing rapport with Harry, Moehringer tells us this: 

In the summer of 2020, I got a text. The familiar query. Would you be interested in speaking with someone about ghosting a memoir? I shook my head no. I covered my eyes. I picked up the phone and heard myself blurting, "Who?"
Prince Harry.
I agreed to a Zoom. I was curious, of course. Who wouldn’t be? I wondered what the real story was. I wondered if we’d have any chemistry. We did, and there was, I think, a surprising reason. Princess Diana had died twenty-three years before our first conversation, and my mother, Dorothy Moehringer, had just died, and our griefs felt equally fresh.
Still, I hesitated. Harry wasn’t sure how much he wanted to say in his memoir, and that concerned me. I’d heard similar reservations, early on, from authors who’d ultimately killed their memoirs. Also, I knew that whatever Harry said, whenever he said it, would set off a storm. I am not, by nature, a storm chaser. And there were logistical considerations. In the early stages of a global pandemic, it was impossible to predict when I’d be able to sit down with Harry in the same room. How do you write about someone you can’t meet?
Harry had no deadline, however, and that enticed me. Many authors are in a hot hurry, and some ghosts are happy to oblige. They churn and burn, producing three or four books a year. I go painfully slow; I don’t know any other way. Also, I just liked the dude. I called him dude right away; it made him chuckle. I found his story, as he outlined it in broad strokes, relatable and infuriating. The way he’d been treated, by both strangers and intimates, was grotesque. In retrospect, though, I think I selfishly welcomed the idea of being able to speak with someone, an expert, about that never-ending feeling of wishing you could call your mom (emphasis added).
Maybe I should read Prince Harry's book. Or, get in touch with him directly. He lives just a few hours away, in Montecito. It would only take me about four hours, or so, to drive down the coast, and I have that same never-ending feeling that Moehringer reports. 

I am wishing I could call my Mom!

Gary Patton, personal photo

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