I Indulge Lately in Memoir

Because I’m writing my own I use that as an excuse. Memoirs are amazing and can be frightfully interesting. And helpful.

“By what authority do I get to decide?” [What goes into his memoir, asks Mark Slouka in, Nobody’s Son: A Memoir?]

“The answer is brutal, unarguable—something like an essential human right: By the authority of survival, which bestows on us all the right to shape until we are shaped in turn. It’s a dangerous authority, an imprimatur [license] that can tempt to arrogance—after all, those who would catch or correct me are gone—but I’ll take it. It’s my turn now. It’s my story. I’ll write what I believe, cut what I want.

I sound defensive. I know why.”

Or you can learn real interesting facts (that may make you want to shoot yourself):

“More woman will file for bankruptcy this year than will graduate from college, suffer a heart attack, or be diagnosed with cancer. More than half of all retired women live in poverty …. the single biggest predictor that a woman will end up in financial collapse is the birth of a child.” This is Liz Perle, in her Money, A Memoir: Women, Emotions, and Cash

Or how about this one:

“If you don’t receive love from the ones who are meant to love you, you will never stop looking for it – like an amputee who never stops missing his leg like the ex-smoker who wants a cigarette after lunch fifteen years later. It sounds trite. It’s true.” This is from Robert Goolrick, The End of the World as we Know it: Scenes From A Life. This is the most horrifying memoir I have ever read – beyond my ideas of horrible. If it was not for my first reading Robert Goolrick’s, Heading Out to Wonderful I would not have read this courageous memoir.

For a fast look at the genre I’d recommend Mary Karr’s The Art of Memoir. She quotes lots of memoir writers to chose from.

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