Friday, November 6, 2015

Lost and Found, part 3

This week I’ve been writing about flash, particularly memoir. Saturday, Nov. 14, 1 – 3 pm I will be giving a workshop at Chicago Publisher Resource Center, 858 N. Ashland Avenue,

Memoir today is being written as fiction and much of fiction is comprised of memoir. Flash is about writing small and using bits of your life story. This workshop will teach you how to take bite-size memories and weave them into narrative. Participants will be given examples of flash, writing prompts, and also a list of places to submit their own flash.

When I wrote the above blurb I was thinking primarily of a new book out by Lily Tuck which I haven’t read, but have been intrigued by since I read a review about it in The Washington Post.

The Double Life of Liliane is essentially an autobiographical novel. Okay, there’s a muddle. Which is it? Fiction or non-fiction.

Life is all about compartmentalizing. Except not everything fits. There are times when fact and fiction are indistinguishable from each other. This is a writer who is very familiar with historical fiction; she is the National Book Award winner of The News From Paraguay.

From the review:
Tuck includes often segue into relevant historical information — about street names, for example, ocean liners, news stories of the day — lending an aura of even greater veracity. All of this is further backed up and given added authority by the inclusion of old photographs.

At times there is a point by point match between her life events and the narrative, then come deviations. But, then, isn’t this history. We’re always rewriting the past. Seeing things through new eyes, another angle. Or to our benefit.

I know many of the things I write about in the first-person could be my story, but I’ve actually borrowed from someone else’s life. Or I might re-cast my own history adopting a persona. We do this all the time. We’re writers.

Right now—write a flash memoir in less than a 1,000 words where you blend fact and fiction. Tell us what you think happened.

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