Posts Tagged: memoir
The Guardian profiles Alex Malarkey, co-author of the bestseller The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven. After admitting that, among other things, he’s never actually been there, his publisher looks to backtrack, evangelists work at damage-control, and the Malarkeys try to find their way back to an even keel....more
What to do with the interesting or vexing stories from our lives, the people who fascinate us, the situations that obsesses us? Do we spin them into fictions or try to capture them in nonfiction, in memoirs, essays, or—in what seems to be a trend—some hybrid form?...more
…while autobiography and memoir have gained ground as legitimate and canonical literary modes, the diary retains an association with inappropriate, overly personal, or pejoratively “private” discourse.
At Huffington Post, Kylie Cardell examines the diary’s transition into public art form, from tabloid scoops and confessional blogs to contemporary figures who publish their own diaries, and our cultural obsession with the intimate form....more
The problem with unreliable narrators — and the thing that makes them so delightful to read in fiction — is that by design, you never quite know when they are telling the truth. Which makes it a stunningly poor choice of conventions to employ when writing about sexual assault, a crime that victims are often accused of fabricating, either wholesale or in parts.
Fittingly ending the memoir with a scene at the La Brea Tar Pits, which trapped and fossilized the unfortunate prehistoric creatures who wandered into them, Ortiz speaks of her personal excavation as a perpetual journey, a necessary exploration of a hidden story.
Rumpus columnist Thomas Page McBee has just released a new memoir, Man Alive. The new book is, in his words, “basically a prequel” to the Self-Made Man column, and attempts to answer the question “what does it really mean to be a man?” Check out the book that Roxane Gay says “shows us what it takes to become a man who is gloriously, gloriously alive.” McBee will also be at The Strand bookstore in New York City in October....more
“We’re doing this because we’re buds and we’re starting new books. We’ve always talked our ideas through with each other; it’s always helped. Through these conversations, we’ve grown as writers together.”
Josh Weil and Mike Harvkey have been longtime friends. Now, both with new novels on the way, they have embarked on a five day trip through America to talk about their writing....more
In an era when people live tweet every aspect of their lives, the memoir might seem an antiquated notion. Dani Shapiro disagrees. Status updates are immediate, instant acts of narcissism. Writing a memoir requires introspection and distance. Shapiro explains over at The New Yorker:
It is only with distance that we are able to turn our powers of observation on ourselves, thus fashioning stories in which we are characters.
In 2011, Phyllis Rose read every book on the LEQ-LES shelf in the New York Public Library and wrote about the experience in an essay collection called The Shelf. In doing so, Rose joined the long tradition of “bibliomemoirs”—a blend of autobiography and literary criticism....more
But in the grand scheme of things, immersion journalism and other forms of narrative nonfiction, such as memoir, have done more for me as a reader than as a writer, allowing me to vicariously experience things I’d be too much of a wuss to ever even try, and to consider versions of life that generally feel out of reach.
Personal narratives offer writers an important source of inspiration for their writing. Writers edit out the dull portions of their lives to create a version that is both interesting and representative of a kind of universal experience. Kim Triedman writes at Beyond the Margins:
It is a symbiotic relationship to the core.
Worried you are too young to be working on a memoir? Worried you are revealing too many deep dark secrets and your relatives will disown you forever? Author Gary Shteyngart, 41—which he says is 74 in Russian years—shares some words of wisdom:
Which leads to the first question a memoirist must ask: What should I hold back?