Posts Tagged: memoir
[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....more
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....more
For Threadless.com’s new monthly Women & Comics interview series, Gina H. Prescott speaks to cartoonist/writer/historian Julia Wertz. Wertz discusses her autobiographical comics; her historical and cityscape comics for the New Yorker and Harper’s; and offers advice to young artists and writers on incorporating personal material into their work....more
Memoirs get a bad rap, for reasons both legitimate and superficial. With a work of unintentional autobiography under his belt, Lucas Mann grapples with the stigma of the reflexive:
To put it bluntly, memoir is the only literary form still defined by its shittiest iterations.
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.
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.
Word by word, and brick by brick, I began understanding the foundation of myself—of where I had been, and where I would go—from previously unseen angles.
Over at Brevity’s nonfiction blog, Lauretta Zucchetti shares her experience of finding herself and overcoming emotional pain through the writing process....more
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.
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....more
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.
Memoir, the offspring of the slave narrative, is not simply a form within the Black literary tradition; it has thoroughly shaped that tradition.
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....more
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.