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Meredith Maran Why We Write About Ourselves

January 30, 201617 min
In response to editor Maran’s probing questions, what emerges is a chorus of diverse voices and varied motivations, perspectives, and experiences—an invaluable resource for readers and writers alike. Maran pens a brief introduction to each memoirist, highlighting their literary achievements and personal backgrounds; contributors highlight key tips for aspiring memoirists. Among the hot-button topics explored in WHY WE WRITE ABOUT OURSELVES: Truth and Memory SUE MONK KIDD: I don’t see [memoir] as a confessional booth where anything goes. It’s not a pot of soup where you just throw anything in because you think it will spice it up. A memoir deserves discretion. (p. 124) DANI SHAPIRO: The idea of truth in memoir is absurd. Memory is utterly mutable, changeable, and constantly in motion. You can’t fact-check memory. (p. 171) ISHMAEL BEAH: When certain people in the media accused me of making up parts of my story and exaggerating the length of my time as a solider, it was frustrating and

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