Posts Tagged: memoir

The Zen of Twins

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Clay Byars—author of Will & I, his recently released memoir about being an identical twin—tackles big life questions and the writing process with Drew Broussard for FSG Originals. Edited by Byars’s friend John Jeremiah Sullivan, Will & I explores “the sense that I was more than myself,” as a twin, as Byars puts it, and the meta-conscious act of storytelling.

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Writing to Legitimize the Self

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To research her book Without You, There Is No Us, Suki Kim worked undercover as an ESL teacher in North Korea. Kim was reluctant to call the work a memoir, believing that to do so “trivialized” her investigative reporting. The result was a backlash from critics, who called her undercover methods “dishonest.” At The New Republic, Kim responds to her critics:

Here I am telling my story to you, the reader, essentially to beg for acknowledgment: I am an investigative journalist, please take me seriously. 

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The Rumpus Interview with Jamie Brickhouse

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Jamie Brickhouse discusses Dangerous When Wet: A Memoir of Booze, Sex, and My Mother, a memoir that chronicles his intimate, near-fatal journey through alcoholism, and living HIV positive. ...more

Defiantly Diski

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Over at the New York Times, author Heidi Julavits reviews the late Jenny Diski’s memoir, In Gratitude:

While I couldn’t read “In Gratitude” without a persistent lump in my throat, and without the persistent awareness that its author was … experiencing the very last days or hours or minutes of her life, Diski’s final book proves transcendently disobedient, the most existence-affirming and iconoclastic defense a writer could mount against her own extinction.

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The Rumpus Interview with Garrard Conley

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Garrard Conley, author of the new memoir Boy Erased, discusses growing up in the deep South, mothers, writing for change, and political delusions. ...more

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Fresh Comics #9: Bird in a Cage

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Countering our culture’s disregard for all things elderly, comics have become a medium of choice for celebrating the lives of our oldest and wisest generation. Bird in a Cage (Conundrum Press, 2016) joins a growing roster of graphic novels about the elderly that explore how much they are loved, how rich and complicated their lives are, and how difficult it can be to say goodbye to them.

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The Rumpus Interview with Bernadette Murphy

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Bernadette Murphy on her forthcoming book, Harley and Me: Embracing Risk on the Road to a More Authentic Life, the challenges of selling a memoir, and life beyond "the suburban-wife-mother picture." ...more

Kim Brooks feature

The Rumpus Interview with Kim Brooks

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Kim Brooks discusses her debut novel, The Houseguest, her approach to character and historical narrative, and the value of engaging readers with larger social issues through literature. ...more

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The Read Along #2: Omar Musa

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In the second installment of The Read Along, Omar Musa shares how airplane delays can lead to productive reading sessions and how easy it is to get sucked into Internet wormholes about geodesic domes. ...more

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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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

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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

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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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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