Thursday, December 30, 2010
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Monday, December 27, 2010
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Monday, December 13, 2010
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Monday, December 6, 2010
Sunday, December 5, 2010
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Vanishing Point: Not a Memoir by Ander Monson.
Monday, November 29, 2010
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Monday, November 22, 2010
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
I copied this off Facebook:
The BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of the 100* books listed here.
• Bold those books you've read in their entirety.
• Italicize the ones you started but didn't finish or read only an excerpt.
*I don't know what happened to #23 and #26. On that note: the list is wonky. There is a listing for both the Chronicles of Narnia AND Lion, Witch & the Wardrobe; likewise the Complete Works of Shakespeare is listed, in addition to Hamlet. But whatever.
1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible I tried to read the whole thing multiple times, always starting over at the beginning. Accordingly, Genesis is my favorite book.
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma -Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - A.A. Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac There were some good parts, but there were too many not-good parts, so I got bored and never finished.
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Inferno - Dante
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray Read half, decided the rest wasn't worth it.
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - E.B. White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle I dunno--I've read some Sherlock Holmes.
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo I was just telling Katie the other day how it's a mystery to me why I didn't finish this. I got close, and I quite enjoyed it.
I've read 42, and read parts of 11. Leave a comment with how many you've read.
Saturday, November 13, 2010
Imagine if the Quibbler had been a blog. Imagine if Voldemort's Wikipedia page were getting vandalized by people typing, "Dumbledore's Army now recruiting!" or "Support Harry Potter!" Imagine if Death Eaters tracked who was looking at Harry's Wikipedia page. Imagine if information on horcruxes could be scoured for through Google.
Edit: I think the seventh book is supposed to take place around 1998, so I guess internet culture wasn't quite as large a force then. But still, I feel this is an oversight on Rowling's part.
My ex-boyfriend's unencouraging manner aside, within memoir culture (and I find increasingly it is a sort of sub-culture, not just a group of people) it's not what you say but how you say it. Style over content. It's not the story, but your abilities as a story-teller. James Frey's crime is not that he lied about his book being a memoir, his crime is being a bad writer. Some among the nonfiction community can even be derisive if the memoirist has a compelling story. "You were sexually abused? You were anorexic? You've overcome the odds? Come on!"
Here's Ander Monson's somewhat-cynical take on the memoir:
Asserting the primacy of I suggests that we should care about it because it is an I, because it has incurred slights at the hands of others, of the world. And we should care. Sure, I agree with that: everyone is special, deserving of attention and examination. And inhabiting their experience allows us to share it, know it. (This is called collective knowing.) But I still don't want to read what most people have to say about themselves if it's just to tell their story. I want it to be art, meaning that I want it transformed, juxtaposed, collaged--worked on like metal sculpture, each sentence hammered, gleaming, honed. For me, the sentence is where it's at--the way the story's told--not simply the story behind the language. The action of telling is fine: kudos for you and your confession, your therapy, your bravery in releasing your story to the public. But telling is performing, even if it seems effortless. And writing that story and selling it to a publisher make it product, packaged and edited and marketed. With years of reflection on that story and how it can be shaped as prose (and how its shape changes from our shaping it, reflecting on it), given audience and agents and editors, rhetoric and workshop and rewriting for maximum emotional punch--given the endless possibilities of the sentence on the page, I expect to see a little fucking craft.
If poets can turn the ordinary and mundane into art, why can't memoirists?
Thursday, November 11, 2010
I liked Vanishing Point. I'd been wary of it ("Not a Memoir" sounds rather pretentious and unnecessarily rebellious, doesn't it?), but it won me over. Monson's voice is amiable and endearing, funny and casual, insightful. At least that's what I think; a peer spoke of the book's "pomposity and douchebaggery."
This is a book of essays, with different subject matters, different styles, and even different formats and fonts. However, books of essays don't sell so Monson had to make the essays talk to each other, allude to each other, build off each other to some degree, like they're chapters. So you can read the individual essays, but reading straight through ain't a bad idea.
There's an essay on artificial food flavoring that was fascinating and oddly appealing. There's an essay on YouTube (and I'm assuming that since you're reading my blog you're a fan of YouTube culture, probably a nerdfighter). There's an essay on the Biggest Ball of Paint in the world. There's an essay on Dungeons & Dragons (I think you'd appreciate it, Katie) (bonus points because Monson alluded to musician Final Fantasy). Scattered throughout there are essays of what Monson calls assembloirs, assembled memoirs, chapters filled with nothing but quotes from assorted memoirs gathered together to make a whole. I thought assembloirs were a good idea, but these chapters were actually my least favorite in the book.
And through all these chapters Monson is examining the genre of memoir, it's points of failure and its appeal. He's examining solipsism, the obsession with I, both in American culture and in memoirs.
I didn't like all the essays; some I skimmed through. But some I very much liked. If you read only one essay from this book, read "Transsubstantiation." I very much recommend it. Especially if you have an interest in food.
If you want a taste of Monson (and I think you do!) but don't have the book at hand, read one of the first incarnations of his essay "Solipsism." The essay evolves and expands each time it is reproduced, from internet to print, from website to magazine to book. I read its fourth incarnation, and it was one of my favorite essays of Vanishing Point.
One last fun fact: Monson uses the word queue an awful lot for being an American.
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
The Adderall Diaries: A Memoir of Moods, Masochism, and Murder by Stephen Elliott.
Orlando: A Biography by Virginia Woolf. Fantastic book.
The Suicide Index: Putting My Father's Death in Order by Joan Wickersham.
The Turn of the Screw by Henry James. Simply put: a disappointment.
Bodies that Matter: On the Discursive Limits of "Sex" by Judith Butler.
Rent Girl by Michelle Tea, illustrated by Laurenn McCubbin.
Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things by Jane Bennet.
Frankenstein Doesn't Plant Petunias by Debbie Dadey and Marcia Thornton Jones, illustrated by John Steven Gurney.
Saturday, October 30, 2010
Friday, October 29, 2010
My roommate said she didn't like the chapter in Michelle Tea's Rent Girl called "How I Hated Men." I too did not appreciate the perpetuation of this stereotype that feminists and lesbians are man-haters (I was also flustered by the perpetuation of the stereotype that vegans waste away from lack of nourishment). At the same time, I appreciated Tea's sentiments and could relate to them.
I read Rent Girl for my Contemporary Memoir class (those of you who don't know me, I'm an MFA at University of Idaho). An upcoming book for the class is We Did Porn by Zak Smith. Today I first associated the name (Zak Smith) with the title and had the gut reaction, "I don't want to read a book about porn written by a man. A man's perspective isn't interesting/worth hearing." Of course, I knew I should give him a chance and that men can have perspectives worth hearing. But I feel like more and more I lose interest in male authors. The male perspective feels like "been there, done that." It's what we've all grown up reading/hearing/seeing. I can't tell you what the qualitative difference between male authors and female authors is, but I feel one. Maybe it's something subtle that only other women are attuned to, some recognition of a certain shared experience.
But think about it. If you're in school, count how many books by female authors your teachers are assigning you in comparison to how many books by male authors. Teachers are getting better and better at assigning women as well as men, but this difference is still large. English, philosophy, biology, anthropology, etc. Any department you are in you will be reading male authors. I can guarantee it. But will you read women? Maybe. If you want to be guaranteed to hear female voices, you have to take women's studies. Ditto with queer voices and queer studies. Women are something to be studied, not valid contributors themselves. You have to go out searching for women, but the male perspective is all up in your face whether or not you want it.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Professor: Blah blah blah, Michelle Tea, blah blah blah.
Student Jory: Well, when I interviewed Michelle Tea this summer...blah blah...
Class: Blah blah blah Michelle Tea blah blah Rent Girl blah.
Professor: Hey, Jory, could you email Michelle Tea and ask her this question for us? And also this question?
Man, why don't I get to be cool like Jory? Jory and I both have Tulip Festival pics for our Facebook profiles; that means we are similarly cool and I could interview authors for my blog, too, right? How do I get ahold of them? I'll just look them up in the phone book, yeah.
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
The drawback of the book was the typos. So many typos! On every page. They really got in the way, they weren't always ones you could just gloss over. Had to stop and think about what the book was trying to say. Get your shit together, Last Gasp publishing.
Sunday, October 24, 2010
The Horned God of of Wicca-- representing fertility, wildness, the masculine--was seen in a Jungian analysis of women's literature by Richard Sugg to represent a lover who subjugates the social conformist nature of the female shadow. Think Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights. Women who have this Horned God character as a lover are often socially ostracized or even get in an inverted version of the male hero-story.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
For Halloween I'm doing a costume exchange so I don't get to choose my own costume. But I was thinking I would love to be Radclyffe Hall (author of Well of Loneliness, 1928) for Halloween. Slick hair, smoking jacket, cigarette. Suave, classy. Oh yes. I've been invited to a costume party Saturday: dress as your favorite dead person. Oh yes?
Una Troubridge, Hall's partner, would also be a good costume. Monocle, daschund, bob.
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
I want to like you, I really do. I want to have a deep appreciation of your work. This would be much easier if you would stop writing stupid stories.
I speak too strongly. I admit, I liked "The Private Life." It was pleasant and clever. And since you have five volumes of short stories and novellas plus your novels (I hadn't realized you were so prolific!), I am sure to fine more that agrees with me.
My main qualm is one of your more famous works: The Turn of the Screw.
I don't understand why the characters do or say the things they do. The protagonist seems to always be coming to understandings which I, frankly, do not understand. She is always jumping to conclusions (interrupting other characters to do so) and I cannot follow her logic. And at the end, when the governess "triumphs" over the ghosts, I can't figure out why her actions were significant enough to cause a triumph.
I get lost in your pronouns. Remember what Miss Marple said: "pronouns...were always puzzling and [some] were particularly prone to strew them about haphazard." I think you should read more Agatha Christie, Henry darling.
In my last letter I accused you of being vague. I stand by that. The little boy, Miles, was expelled from school for "wickedness." Wickedness? Was he stealing and doing nasty things to fellow children and their pets using his budding magical prowess? By the end of the novella we discover he told things to people he liked. He was expelled for saying "things"? WTF, Hank?
Perhaps I am simply obtuse, Mr. James. But I am not yet convinced you aren't too abstruse. For now, we shall remain respectful acquaintances. I hope our friendship can blossom upon further association.
Monday, October 18, 2010
Indonesia? Indonesia?! She eats in Italy, prays in India, and finds love in Indonesia? She finds love in the country where Chris spent the summer and will be spending the not-too-distant future. Gah, irony! I have half a mind to return the book to the library unread.
Your ghost story, The Turn of the Screw, has left me, how shall I say, underwhelmed. The protagonist, the governess, keeps crying how the ghosts are evil! dreadful! depraved! but you give very little explanation of what makes them so evil. Is it because they're ghosts? Yes, when the dead stick around it is unsettling. Is it because these ghosts were sexually promiscuous while they were alive? Certainly not something to laud, I agree. Is it because they were acting above their station, these low-class ghosts, in making friends with the upper-class children? Uppity ghosts should not be tolerated. But evil?
Well, they look evil! your governess cries. I could see the depravity in their eyes!
The male ghost had red hair, whiskers, and wore no hat. Oh the depravity, he wore no hat!
The female ghost wore mourning clothes and was quite pretty. Sinister, very sinister!
I'm sorry, Hank (may I call you Hank?), but you're going to have to do better than that if you want me shivering in my boots. Your evil is all together too vague.
P.S. You use too many commas.
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Friday, October 15, 2010
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
There are also two versions of the novella; some prefer the first (reported to have more color and immediacy) and some prefer the second (reported to have a deeper tone). I wonder which one I read? Color and immediacy sound pleasant, don't they?
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Sunday, October 10, 2010
Ryan (lit MA, graduated) has his stepfather visiting. The stepfather says he's in business, but he loves to read, and he'd be interested to hear who are the favorite authors in this group. "Wallace Stevens," says the poet. "All mine are men," says my roommate (first year, nonfic) with chagrin. Dave Eggers is top of her list. I'm proud that most of mine are women, and I list some off the top of my head: "Angela Carter, Kathryn Davis, Susanna Clarke, Marilyn Robinson." "Robinson's Home is really good," says the poet.
There aren't many books that I'd willingly spend time to reread. A few I have known before I finished them I want to reread them: Orlando by Virginia Woolf, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke, The Girl Who Trod on a Loaf by Kathryn Davis, Housekeeping by Marilyn Robinson.
What if I fed myself a diet consisting only of my favorite books? What if I read nothing but Mervyn Peake, Angela Carter, Kathryn Davis, Ray Bradybury, Marilyn Robinson, Helene Cixous, Alan Hollinghurst, Virginia Woolf? How would my writing be with such words roiling around in my body like reactive agents in a test tube? Like a flamingo who eats shrimp and turns pink, what color would my stories be?
Friday, October 8, 2010
The new king...directed that the river, which was frozen to a depth of twenty feet and more for six or seven miles on either side, should be swept, decorated and given all the semblance of a park of pleasure ground...Coloured balloons hovered motionless in the air. Here and there burnt vast bonfires of cedar and oak wood, lavishly salted, so that the flames were of green, orange, and purple fire. But however fiercely they burnt, the heat was not enough to melt the ice which, though of singular transparency, was yet of the hardness of steel. So clear indeed was it that there could be seen, congealed at a depth of several feet, here a porpoise, there a flounder... Near London Bridge, where the river had frozen to a depth of some twenty fathoms, a wrecked wherry boat was plainly visible, lying on the bed of the river where it had sunk last autumn, overladen with apples. The old bumboat woman, who was carrying her fruit to market on the Surrey side, sat there in her plaids and farthingales with her lap full of apples, for all the world as if she were about to serve a customer, though a certain blueness about the lips hinted the truth.
What a glorious, splendid book! What wit, what cleverness, what sass! I shan't tell you what it's about; you must read it for yourself and discover for yourself all the beauty, the audacity, the most pleasant of surprises!
You should read Orlando while leaning against an oak tree. You should read it by the ocean. You should read it with flowers nearby. You should read it by candlelight. You should take a glass of wine with this book; in some parts a cup of coffee would not go amiss. But don't drink tea with this book; Orlando detests tea.
Sunday, October 3, 2010
The Adventures of the Bailey School Kids. Maybe Frankenstein Doesn't Plant Petunias or Witches Don't Do Back Flips.
The Turn of the Screw by Henry James.
Wicked Appetite by Janet Evanovich.
Death is a Lonely Business by Ray Bradbury.
Those Who Hunt the Night by Barbara Hambly.
Fantastic Tales edited by Italo Calvino.
Anyone have any other suggestions? Anyone know of any good werewolf books? Or movies? Or YouTube?
Friday, October 1, 2010
The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi. The first half (or first book) is great, the second is just OK.
Bodily Arts: Rhetoric and Athletics in Ancient Greece by Debra Hawhee.
Running in the Family by Michael Ondaatje. A great book.
Leave it to Psmith by P.G. Wodehouse. Apparently this is the fourth novel about Psmith and the second set at Blandings Castle. I'd been told by two different people that I would like Wodehouse, and I've finally read him and indeed I quite like him. A perfectly charming novel full of eccentric characters getting into trouble while running about picturesque garden-filled Blandings Castle in early 20th century England. I feel like I overuse the word witty, but witty is really the best way of describing Wodehouse.
Pigs Have Wings by P.G. Wodehouse. This is the seventh novel set at Blandings Castle. I wasn't aware of such facts when I read them; I've got a collection of three Wodehouse novels in one book, you see, and it didn't pick its novels according to sequence. I went to the County Fair shortly after finishing this book, and it was fun to go in the swine barn because Pigs Have Wings is all about the hijinks involved in fattening pigs for a contest at a fair.
Fluke: Or, I Know Why the Winged Whale Sings by Christopher Moore. Moore is hilarious. This may be my second favorite Moore book, the first being Lamb. Apparently Moore writes comic fantasy.
My Life by Lyn Hejinian.
The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove by Christopher Moore.
Payment in Blood by Elizabeth George. The second Inspector Lynley novel. If you can ignore the occasional cliche, melodramatic statement, or other instances of poor writing, George writes engaging whodunits.
Sunday, September 26, 2010
Monday, September 20, 2010
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Snohomish, WA (the town I grew up in): 9,220
Bellingham, WA (where I spent the last four years): 80,055
Moscow, ID (where I now live and will be the next three years): 23,131
Missoula, MT (where Rhiannon is from and where I visited last weekend): 68,202
Coeur d'Alene, ID (one of the closest cities to Moscow): 43,683
Spokane, WA (where my friend Kathelyn lives and one of the closest cities to Moscow): 203,276
Seattle, WA (just for reference): 617,334
Western Washington University (where I just graduated from): 14,575
University of Idaho (where I now attend): 11,957
Sunday, September 5, 2010
Titus Alone by Mervyn Peake, the third of the Gormenghast novels. Not as good as the first two in the series.
Is that all I finished reading in July? Really? I read a short story by Angela Carter, I started Persuasion, I started The Wizard, I read from my meditation books. OK, I guess Titus Alone was all I finished.
Books I finished reading in August
The Wizard by Gene Wolfe, the second of The Wizard Knight. These two books were not all they were crapped up to be. Oh no, they weren't.
Persuasion by A.S. Byatt. Wonderful.
The Discovery by K.A. Applegate. The 20th book in the Animorphs series. I actually read most of this a year ago, and then while moving out of my apartment I picked it up and read the last chapter before bed because I didn't want to start anything.
The Threat by K.A. Applegate. The 21st book in the Animorphs series. Finishing The Discovery got me back in the Animorphs mode. I think they're my version of comfort food.
The Solution by K.A. Applegate. The 22nd book in the Animorphs series.
Reality Hunger: A Manifesto by David Shields. Review to come.
The Pretender by K.A. Applegate. The 23rd book in the Animorphs series.
At this point I regretted having left my Animorphs collection at my parents' house when I moved to Idaho. All outta Animorphs, and the library won't let me check out books.
Question: What's your literary version of comfort food?
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Monday, August 30, 2010
Two different libraries refused to let me check out books. I am stuck in Moscow Idaho without library access. What happened to the friendly no-questions-asked outlook of the Chelan Library I saw this summer?
The public library wouldn't give me a library card! They don't believe I'm a resident! They think I'm a book thief who goes from county to county getting library cards to check out books and then never returning the books. They think I'm going to smear mayo under the dust jackets and put condiments in their book drop. Well I don't need a library card to put condiments in your book drop, Latah County!
Sunday, August 29, 2010
I, too, dislike it: there are things that are important beyond
all this fiddle.
Reading it, however, with a perfect contempt for it, one
it after all, a place for the genuine.
Hands that can grasp, eyes
that can dilate, hair that can rise
if it must, these things are important not because a
high-sounding interpretation can be put upon them but because
useful. When they become so derivative as to become
the same thing may be said for all of us, that we
do not admire what
we cannot understand: the bat
holding on upside down or in quest of something to
eat, elephants pushing, a wild horse taking a roll, a tireless
a tree, the immovable critic twitching his skin like a horse
that feels a flea, the base-
ball fan, the statistician--
nor is it valid
to discriminate against "business documents and
school-books"; all these phenomena are important. One must make
however: when dragged into prominence by half poets, the
result is not poetry,
nor till the poets among us can be
insolence and triviality and can present
for inspection, "imaginary gardens with real toads in them,"
shall we have
it. In the meantime, if you demand on the one hand,
the raw material of poetry in
all its rawness and
that which is on the other hand
genuine, you are interested in poetry.
Friday, August 27, 2010
In Reality Hunger: A Manifesto, David Shields argues that every time we put pen to paper, every time we open our mouths, every we time we recall a memory, we are creating fiction. By deciding which memory to include in our memoir and which to leave out we are shaping our reality fictitiously. By using words to describe what was a physical incident we depart from the facts. By using metaphor we are giving coherence and form to meaningless circumstances. By remembering at all we are changing, shaping, creating. What is more faulty than a memory?
David Shields: "Just as out-and-out fiction no longer compels my attention, neither does straight-ahead memoir. I want the contingency of life, the unpredictability, the unknowability, the mysteriousness, and these are best captured when the work can bend at will to what it needs: fiction, fantasy, memoir, meditation, confession, reportage."
So where do you draw the line? Do you invent a scene because it illustrates your emotional truth? Do you blend fact and fiction to keep your readers on their toes, or in order to make a better story, or just for the fun of it, because writing is an inherently creative act? Because the world is uncertain and our writing should be too?