Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Legal Stuff

I was browsing articles on the Writer's Digest website when I was struck with a disturbing thought. Since this is a memoir, do I have to worry about legal stuff? Do I need to worry over writing about real people -- doctors, nurses, friends and even my family? Am I setting myself up for a lawsuit?

There are some tests for this that I can apply as a writer. First, am I writing about real people? Yes, I am writing about real people. In many cases, I don't even know their names. They are just people I sat next to in a waiting room. Or that faceless nurse in post op surgery. Or the priest hearing confession in NYC? I don't even remember the name of the parish. But essentially yes, they are real people.

Are they recognizable to readers? Probably not. In fact, I don't know if I would even recognize them again. Except for the surgeons. If you really were a creeper, you could find the surgeons online as they are very specialized. I can change the name but not always the description. I will need to step carefully there.

Am I spouting indisputable facts? Nah. Only opinions. Opinions influenced by drugs, pain and a warped sense of humor. I am sure that anyone could dispute that.

Are you disclosing private, possibly embarrassing information? Yup, absolutely. Very embarrassing. I believe I mention the anus a few times. Breasts. Moods. Tubes coming out of everywhere. Yup, very embarrassing. Who cares? It's only me being embarrassed. And anyone who has had any kind of surgery knows the embarrassment I'm talking about.

Disclosing a problem in the community or disclosing a crime? Unless you count the quality of thin hospital robes, nope.

So I guess I am 50/50 on the legal. I better do some more research.

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