Sunday, September 11, 2011

Memoir Treasure Trove

By Laura P. Valtorta


As I write my memoir, I find there is no lack of subject matter, especially when I want to make things comical. I study the people around me and ask, “Who’s funny?” The answer: everybody.

My husband, Marco – we call him “Ocram” when he’s flapping his arms in disgust over some picayune problem. My son’s band director, who thinks that Mount Everest is the tallest mountain in the United States. My friend, Cathy, who is in-your-face competitive and -- surprise –- an attorney. Not to mention the priest who calls Polish people “PO-loks” during a homily, the “Christians” who hate Obama because he’s African-American, and my son who brushes his teeth obsessively because of some apparent competition among 11th-graders over who has the whitest teeth.

Hilarious. All of them. And this isn’t even including my legal clients. They keep me rolling in the aisles. The hip-hop clothes. The “we hate all federal benefits” toothlessness. The colloquial expressions. The inability to pronounce my last name. When someone’s first name is “Kwajelyn,” she should be able to pronounce “Valtorta.” Is this some kind of an onomastic face-off? I am not “Ms. Victoria,” not “Mrs. Ventura.” I’ve never been the Queen of England nor married to a wrestling politiican. It’s Val-TOR-ta. All phonetic. It means “twisted valley,” just like the landscape of my life.

I don’t know where to begin with the “comedy jokes.” I do know that when I begin writing about my wonderful, beloved Writers’ Group – the funniest ones of all -- I’ll have to figure out whether to read the stuff aloud and how to change the names.

3 comments:

Shaun said...

I love and appreciate this memoir so far. It has in it the results of a special recipe for critical thinking. It's a type of cooking of which we all could stand to learn a little.

Amanda said...

Totally feel you on the last name thing. Suh-mizz? See-a-mass-ee? Sim-see-ay? Every letter is pronounced the way it’s spelled!

monjon said...

As your memoirs have indicated, in order to see the absurdity in others, one must first appreciate one's own shortcomings.
As to your future commentaries of those in the workshop; Clint said it best "What about it punk? Do you feel lucky?