Tag Archives: truth

Memoir: From Reality to Reality

Laughing Penguins

A memoir is often seen as a single-dimensional ‘truth’ about a writer, the writer’s self-expression or confession. A memoir, in in fact, is the writer’s perception of truth, and her need to express that perception in her chosen format.

And so, a memoir is the writer’s journey from reality of lived experience to the reality of ‘worded’ impressions.

There are things in a writer’s life that present themselves unasked, uninvited, right there at her desk; then there are moments that demand the writer’s focused attention to reveal themselves; finally there are faraway wraiths of memories that desperately seek writerly resolve, and vital emotional effort to divulge their core and deepest essence. This is the truth; so is that; and so is that.

On the other side, a reader of a memoir fixes her gaze on a single familiar face: this is what she thought, this is where she ate and…

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Abuse victims. Writing their truth.

Julie Mariner

img_3446Back in 2015 Brandon O’Neill wrote a blog for The Spectator chronicling the case of pianist James Rhodes and his victory in court overturning a legal injunction which was preventing him from publishing his child abuse memoir. It is a particularly harrowing account of sexual abuse which leaves little to the imagination.

Not only does O’Neill negate Rhodes’ ‘pornographic detail of abuse’ as he so eloquently puts it but he further goes on to question why we need ‘misery memoirs’ in the first place. The purpose of his article is to beg the question ‘Why can’t the past stay private?’ Writing for the Telegraph back in 2008, Sam Leith again highlighted why we have a need for this kind of memoir with the attention grabbing headline ‘Misery memoirs make pornography of personal pain.

In 2006, 11 of the top 100 best selling English paperbacks were ‘mis lit’ as its so…

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Levels of Crazy

Exclusive Inflictions

It never ceases to amaze me
How many levels there are to crazy
When you stand back and look
You realize it’s not a fictional book

Memoirs at fingertips, waiting
All the while I’m here anticipating
The backlash that has me debating
If the truth is even worth saying

The Who, when, where and why
Changed to protect innocent lives
From the incriminating evidence
To keep from being that elephant

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Do I Own My Story? But What If It’s Also Your Story, and You Don’t Want Me To Tell It?

“I will tell the truth, be bold, and whenever possible, be kind.”

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

zz hertzel Laurie Hertzel

By Laurie Hertzel

Like any good student, I sat in the front row, took diligent notes, and believed, for a while, everything my teachers said. As a young newspaper reporter, I had ambitions beyond daily journalism, so for years I attended as many workshops and seminars as possible, studying narrative writing, fiction, and, eventually, memoir.

“I own my story,” I obediently jotted during a memoir lecture—or words to that effect. “No one has the right to tell me what I can or can’t write.”

But when I began working on my first memoir, I realized that it’s not that simple. Yes, I own my story—that is, I have the right to tell the stories of my life.  But I don’t live in a vacuum, and in order to tell my stories I cannot help but tell the stories of others. Do I have that right? Do I have the…

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