A year ago this month, friend of Augury Suzanne Guillette (Much to Your Chagrin: A Memoir of Embarassment, Atria Books, 2009) published an essay on memoir in Tin House. Dealing with the roles of perspective and content, Guillette navigates personal experiences which help us to rethink whether or not plot needs to be “memoir-worthy.”
Though Rushdie and Auster may have gone on the record with other reasons for stepping out of the first-person memoir convention, other motivations were probably also at work: not only does crafted distance in memoir inure the writer against calls (internal and otherwise) of self-importance, but it also sets us further adrift in a dreamlike state, allowing the intersection of present consciousness with past events to be, indeed, a very trippy place. Quieting the memoir-worthy debate, writers can go granular, entering a uniquely conjured, not to mention lived, world.”
We think this essay is worth a revisit. Read the rest of it here.