Thoughts on Writing the Personal, the Confessional & Memoir

In an essay on Emily Dickinson, the poet Adrienne Rich once wrote,

“It is always what is under pressure in us, especially under pressure

of concealment—that explodes in poetry.”

The pressure valve—the one that every writer is intimate with—

rarely has a chance to fill and fill to the point of explosion.

Literary memoir is born of this explosion. It is born of the powerful

need to craft a story out of the chaos of one’s own history.

One of literary memoir’s greatest satisfactions—both for writer

and reader—is the slow, deliberate making of a story, of making

sense, out of randomness and pain.

In the inimitable words of Annie Dillard, “You may not let it rip.”

— Dani Shapiro notes, “Memoir Is Not a Status Update”

The New Yorker, August 2014

My thoughts:

Given the new millennium–now 14 years [in] sic. engulfed

as surfing a wave or the manifold global drowning into the

digital online; writers are a burgeoning entanglement of

wired interactivity–blogging, facebook, twitter, tumblr, instagram,

downloading applications, privy to the latest self-expressive

tactic. I’m inclined to suggest the above can be put to scrutiny

and debate. All these online techniques re-define a new epoch

of using different tools to keep Life Writing moving. As such,

“Memoir” NOT as Status update is questionable in the

digitized epoch that is now with us. Our updates do define us

and not! as though they [perhaps] are fleeting, it is a

momentary unmentionable memory with the unmistakable

possibility of memoir, albeit in live wire.

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