I'm currently writing a memoir which has posed an awkward situation for me. At one point in my life shortly after my divorce, a friend of mine gave me a sort of "mercy fuck" to see if she could snap me out of my depression. It turned out to be a big mistake, which we both regretted (although she regretted it a lot sooner than I did). The result of the incident was that I was tipped from depression into a full-blown nervous breakdown, which took me months to recover from. It's a key part of the story, particularly since much of the next few years was devoted to re-connecting with her in search of an explanation of what happened and why it happened, and whether we could have any sort of relationship afterwards. As for the incident, she never spoke of it again, even when I pressed her; she obviously wanted to obliterate it from her life. The problem is that this woman is now a rather prominent theologian, and telling the story might harm her standing in her community as well as cause her some emotional pain. The chances are pretty good that she'll see the book, since I know she has followed my literary career. I see three ways I could go: 1. I could tell the story just as it happened, using her true name, on the grounds of artistic integrity. This seems to be the course recommended by former editor Betsy Lerner in her book The Forest for the Trees. In her view, the paramount thing is to tell the story accurately and let the chips fall where they may. 2. I could reference her obliquely by giving her a pseudonym. There are only a few people in the world anymore who would be able to identify her, and none of these people impinge at all on her current calling and social scene. This, in turn, would bring up the question of whether, in the name of journalistic integrity, I should state up front that the name is a pseudonym. That solution, of course, won't insulate her from any emotional pain she may take from reading the book, but it would protect her standing with her community. 3. I could just delete all references to her, and skip that part of my life. It could be done, but at the expense of weakening the narrative. What do you all think about this?