From The Washington Post:
You shouldn’t have affairs. But definitely don’t have one with a memoirist.
That’s one of the few real conclusions I can draw from “Why We Write About Ourselves,” a collection of reflections and justifications from 20 practitioners of the memoir art. You know they’re going to tell everyone about it. It’s what they do. It’s all they do.
“The thing that was hardest to figure out was how to handle the affairs I had with men who were married,” says Pearl Cleage, a contributor to this volume. But she soon found a way. “Talking about those relationships didn’t make me look so good, but I wanted to talk about my own growth and development as a free woman who consciously committed to telling the truth about all things. No exceptions!” Memoirist Sandra Tsing Loh found another path to the same destination. “The most painful thing for me to write about was when I had an affair and blew up my marriage,” she says. “I tried to write about my affair in a way that made it clear that I was the worst-behaved character, to cast blame on no one other than me.”
. . . .
“Why We Write About Ourselves” offers a jumble of answers. They engage in memoir-writing as therapy, these authors say, except they absolutely don’t. They mix elements of fiction writing into their work, except they would never do that. And they go out of their way to avoid hurting other people in their memoirs, except when their memoirs couldn’t exist without other people’s hurt.
Link to the rest at The Washington Post