Febos and Marcus on Memiorville


In this conversation, Melissa Febos makes a good point: What’s great about writers talking with writers is that they talk about writing.

Febos, the author of the memoir Whip Smart, could just recount her days as a dominatrix and drug addict, but opts for the writerly conversation here with Sara Marcus, the author of the nonfiction account of punk-rock feminism, Girls to the Front: The True Story of the Riot Grrrl Revolution. Rather than swap tales, these talented authors exchange notes on what it is like to write about such sensitive experiences. From telling the truth to perception to writing all the way to the end, Febos and Marcus cover their bases.

“I’ve learned that it’s much harder to lie to myself or other people in my writing than it is in the privacy of my mind,” says Febos. “When I write about something, I get a lot more honest about it. I get to a better understanding of it. Most of the ultimate revelations I came to in that book I came to by writing them….My memories of the experiences that I wrote about in the book are forever transformed by the process of writing the book.”

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John Knight is a freelance writer and the managing editor of Once Magazine in San Francisco. He lives on a sailboat. More from this author →