Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Just for Emphasis

I've been thinking a lot lately about what makes memoiristic nonfiction (whether in poetry or prose) relevant to anyone beyond the writer. (Let's just say that last week I was reading a very me, me, me essay--a published one--and subsequently was consumed with the wish to figure out how to avoid afflicting readers with similar unpleasantness in my own work.)

Then I recalled Lisa Romeo's sage advice: "I constantly try to remind myself that people don't read creative nonfiction because they care about what happened to me, but because they care about whether what happened to me might have some meaning for them." I was marveling over that wisdom once again when I discovered Philip Graham's new post offering some equally memorable commentary.

Take a moment to reread Lisa's post, and to read Philip's. Judging by the material I was reading last week, these craft points simply cannot be overemphasized.

3 comments:

deonne kahler said...

Absolutely. The main reason I'm writing my memoir is because when I've shared my story with other women, I've heard over and over that they've had a similar experience, but thought they were the only ones.

Laying oneself bare to the world, bad behavior and insecurities and all, is no picnic. But the connection I feel with readers who relate to my story, or are even helped by hearing it, keeps me going. We write (and read) to feel less alone.

Theresa Milstein said...

I agree. Members of the blogosphere, who post about their daily lives (like I do) should heed this advice as well.

Celeste said...

Erika, I've been thinking about these very issues myself as I try my hand at nonfiction. Thanks so much for these resources.