Thursday, October 23, 2008

Why Write Memoir?

"Every life has its defining moments."
"Writing memoir is, in some ways, a work of wholeness."
"I still have a need to create a narrative of my life. To keep writing until I see how it turns out."
Sue Monk Kidd, interview with the author, in The Secret Life of Bees.

"A memoir is an act not just of preservation, but of invention. The memoir is a narrative construct: literary shape that you give to the past. Much is left out, much is subsumed, much is demanded."
"It aspires to be the truth. It claims to be the truth. But it's the truth seen through a particular prism. Time is the prism that all things must pass through. And in so doing, they change. The past is never the same. It always changes according to the present."
"...alteration is inevitable. As a result, truth belongs to the teller."
"The experience described in the memoir is not fresh. Not raw. The grit of daily life has been expunged, polished, washed away. The memoir has always the advantage of hindsight. It recognizes the significance of people and events. It pulls the past into a pattern. It gives the past shape and meaning that it did not have when it was the present."
"In a memoir, the author and the narrator have an uneasy relationship. What does the reader know of the author? That the author lived to tell the tale. What does the reader know of the narrator? That the tale needed to be told."
"The memoir presupposes a first-person narrator, and a structure. It cannot be formless or amorphous. Only you can put the structure on your experience. Your experience becomes your material. Your narrative voice must be compatible with your structure."
"The author's need to write the memoir is implied in the form itself."
Penny Taylor, in Laura Kalpakian's The Memoir Club

No comments: