Author Lee Kofman says: ‘Memoirists write directly about what matters to them, whereas fiction writers may sublimate their experiences and passions.’ The first half of her dictum is certainly true: memoirists are concerned with what matters to them. Whole books are devoted to the second part of Lee's hypothesis. But let’s look at memoir for … Continue reading The Intimacy of Memoir
Do people ask you how your writing is going? I’m sure we all get asked that. Who knows what the right answer is. One acquaintance of mine enquired further: ‘But are you penning or writing?’ he said. I didn't know the difference. ‘Well,’ he replied, ‘ C. (his partner) tells me she's been writing during … Continue reading Writing or Penning?
Flannery O’Connor writes, ‘ … anybody who has survived his childhood has enough information about life to last him the rest of his days.’ If you, like me, write about your family – unavoidable in memoir - how do you do that without hurt? One of my brothers, upon hearing that I was writing about … Continue reading Putting the Family in Memoir
Among other skills, US teacher Kaylie Jones runs memoir-writing workshops. At the first one I attended, she explained that the good memoirist uses the omniscient Eye to watch over the more personal ‘I’ of the narrator. In seconds flat, she was at the whiteboard drawing an eye in the sky that observed and informed the stick … Continue reading The Eye watching the ‘I’