Posts Tagged: memoir

The Self as a Cultural Artifact

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[Memoir] comes alive at the fissures of its coherency: when a narrator is struggling to hold the self together in a text—for the reader’s sake if not also her own.

Scott F. Parker met up with Maggie Nelson at AWP to talk about her writing, her sudden popularity, memoir (or life writing), autotheory, and Buddhism for The Believer’s interview series, Stories of Self—complete with illustrations by Nelson’s partner, Harry Dodge.

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Credit - David Plakke Media NYC, 2015 - MarkLeyner_GONEWITHTHEMIND

The Rumpus Interview with Mark Leyner

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Mark Leyner discusses his new novel, Gone with the Mind, about a failed novelist, Mark Leyner, who gives a reading to his mom in an almost-deserted food court. ...more

Zoe Zolbrod

The Rumpus Book Club Chat with Zoe Zolbrod

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The Rumpus Book Club chats with Zoe Zolbrod about her new book The Telling, pushing against victim narratives, how the conversation surrounding sexual abuse has evolved, and the melding of research with memoir. ...more

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The Rumpus Interview with Debbie Moderow

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Debbie Moderow talks about her new memoir, Fast Into the Night: A Woman, her Dogs, and their Journey North on the Iditarod Trail, the realities of dog sled racing, and climate change. ...more

No New Friends

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A connection so fundamentally optional doesn’t provide the same ambivalence and tension you get with alcoholic parents, narcissistic spouses, or resentful bosses. If your friend abuses you or your trust, you can just walk away.

Slate’s Laura Miller explains why nobody writes memoirs about their friends, and then looks at two recent books that take up the challenge of doing so.

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Memoir from Against Me!’s Laura Jane Grace

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The Against Me! frontwoman Laura Jane Grace has announced that Hatchette Books will be publishing her memoir Tranny: Confessions of Punk Rock’s Most Infamous Anarchist Sellout. The book was written with Noisey’s Dan Ozzi, who has said of the project:

The book mixes narrative about Laura’s life—growing up with dysphoria and playing in our generation’s most influential punk band—with amazing journal entries she’s been keeping since she was a kid.

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Rich Enough That I Don’t Have to Tell ‘Em That I’m Rich

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Since its publication twenty years ago, Frances Mayes’s memoir Under the Tuscan Sun has transformed its namesake Italian setting into a sort of synonym for a wealthy lifestyle. Travel writer Jason Wilson revisited the work only to discover exactly the charms it so frustratingly popularized:

However I feel about Mayes and her privilege, and the marketing phenomenon that has flourished in her wake, there’s no denying that her prose brings Bramasole to life.

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The Sunday Rumpus Interview: A Roundtable on Writing, Editing, and Race

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With Lisa Factora-Borchers, Patrice Gopo, Jennifer Niesslein, Tamiko Nimura, and Deesha Philyaw. ...more

Rob Roberge AP - Credit Dirk Vandenberg

The Rumpus Interview with Rob Roberge

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Rob Roberge talks about his new memoir, Liar, the differences between writing fiction and writing memoir, and why every narrator is an unreliable narrator. ...more

Necessity of Truth

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Over at Book Riot, Hannah Engler discusses memoir, when the absolute truth is necessary, and why it is okay—even unavoidable—to fabricate facts:

Fabrication is inherent in memoir writing. Number one, it’s impossible to have an unbiased view of your own life, period; number two, it’s impossible to write about something in the past tense and not see it through the lens of the present.

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Sound & Vision #19: June Millington

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Allyson McCabe talks to June Millington of Fanny, the first all-female rock band to release an album on a major label. ...more

Reading Mixtape feature

Anna March’s Reading Mixtape #19: Truth

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Truth—a higher, bigger truth—is what I want when I read. I want to nod my head in radical understanding. I want to grasp our complex, fragile humanity better. I want the ancient truths on every page, shown in unique ways. These books deliver.

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Saeed-Jones

Guildtalk #4: The Rumpus Interview with Saeed Jones

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Saeed Jones talks about his forthcoming memoir How Men Fight For Their Lives, his new fellowship program at BuzzFeed, and making peace with the phantom. ...more

The Bible and Birdie Jean

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At twelve, my grandfather climbed into his Prayer Tower and said he’d die if he didn’t get $8 million; I was a gay kid living on a Pentecostal compound with an autographed photo of Ronald Reagan on my desk. At eighteen I left most of that behind, rarely looking back.

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Black Memoir

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Memoir, the offspring of the slave narrative, is not simply a form within the Black literary tradition; it has thoroughly shaped that tradition.

With the release of smash hit Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates, as well as acclaimed releases Negroland, Twin of Blackness, and Remnants, the black memoir is in a veritable golden age. 

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Conversations with Writers Braver than Me #18: Anne Roiphe

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Anne Roiphe on respecting writers’ freedom to express the truth of their experiences, while also respecting their subjects’ prerogative to shun them for it. ...more

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The Rumpus Interview with Karen Salyer McElmurray

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Karen Salyer McElmurray talks about academia, the relationship between flaws and perfection, writing memoir, and the "tapestry" of writers who inspire her. ...more

The Way We Were

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Things in my own life that make me want to write about them are often things that are unresolved. And I use writing to figure them out.

Memoirists Meredith Maran, Dani Shapiro, Ayelet Waldman, Kate Christensen, and Nick Flynn speak in a YouTube video about why they write about their own lives, and the best/worst things that happened to them as a result of writing a memoir.

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The Writing is the Ball

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In an excerpt from Why We Write About Ourselves, National Book Award-winner James McBride writes about that question, among other things—the ethics of memoir writing, diversity in publishing, the necessity of struggle, writing in the age of Twitter—and shares some advice for aspiring memoirists:

Be wildly ambitious about your writing, and forget the stuff connected to writing.To use a sports meta­phor: keep your eye on the ball.

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In Defense of Memoir

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If you don’t like memoir, don’t read it. And certainly don’t write about it. So you might be a critically acclaimed novelist, but if you don’t understand the genre, your critique is like Vin Scully smacking down golf, or Bob Dylan slamming rap.

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Paul Lisicky

The Rumpus Book Club Chat with Paul Lisicky

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The Rumpus Book Club talks with Paul Lisicky about his new book The Narrow Door>/em>, how much of your story you own, and the importance of reading your own work aloud. ...more

Mira Ptacin author photo

The Rumpus Interview with Mira Ptacin

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Author Mira Ptacin discusses her memoir Poor Your Soul, what inspires her to write, motherhood, and why she considers her beat “the uterus and the American Dream.” ...more