A Memoirist’s Pact with the Reader

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At Salon, Dani Shapiro writes an open response to a reader who felt that Shapiro’s memoir Slow Motion wasn’t fully honest because it didn’t include all the details of her life.

In it, she explains what memoir is and isn’t, and what honesty means for the form:

When I write fiction, I make things up. I enter the world of my imagination, where pretty much anything can happen. But when I am working on memoir, I burrow deep into a small, dark place inside me, no larger than the head of a pin.


Lauren O'Neal is an MFA student at San Francisco State University. Her writing has appeared in publications like Slate, The New Inquiry, and The Hairpin. You can follow her on Twitter at @laureneoneal. More from this author →