While writing your memoir, probe as deeply as you can to fill out a scene or an event. Use photographs, letters, diaries, interviews or background research to explain, reflect and fill out your narrative. In the details, you will begin to make sense of your life experiences. Some budding memoirists rush through a scene without stopping to smell the rain on the pavement. Granted, you don’t want to overwhelm your readers with details; you have to keep the story moving along. If the scene or event is crucial, slow down and describe it so that the reader can experience it with you.
There are some exceptions to British mean-mindedness. After one "lovely evening" at Chequers, where the singer Mick Hucknall's "hot girlfriend" is distractingly present, Anton confesses to a "soft spot" for Tony Blair. "You set out sincerely to change my life for the better," he writes, and though this "may not quite cancel out the invasion of Iraq", it does weigh in his "personal scales". Oddly, Anton seems to require no such moral balancing for the Sri Lankan strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa , who is commended for resisting Iranian pressure and green-lighting the filming of Midnight's Children ; the responsibility of this authoritarian president and his brother in the massacre of tens of thousands of Tamil Hindus is passed over in silence. Nor does Anton record the piquant fact that the Hindu nationalists who noisily protested against the Indian decision to ban The Satanic Verses and, once in power, allowed him to visit India are implicated in the killings of thousands of Muslims in the previous two decades.
Some of the most desperate tales in the Depression-era issues of Publishers Weekly are the ones only hinted at by ads and brief news items. The bookstore Brentano's and the publisher Horace Liveright filed for bankruptcy; the Everyman's Library reduced its prices from 90 cents to 70 cents a volume; and three workers at Schulte's (a rare-book store on New York's Fourth Avenue) went out on strike wearing sandwich boards accusing the store of "unfair practice" because the owner tried to cut wages. Publishers Weekly noted that this was the first pay cut in four years and that the strikers should have presented their boss "with a medal instead of a placard" advertising complaints.