Guest Post by Ryan Pemberton
“It’s a funny feeling,” I confessed to an editor-friend as we worked on my first memoir, a book on calling. “In a few months perfect strangers will be able to read some of the most intimate stories from my childhood that even my closest friends don’t know.”
She nodded thoughtfully, her brow furrowed.
“And the conclusion I’ve come to is that strangers can know these stories about me and still not know me. They’ll still be strangers.”
I’d been talking about how, in memoir, we attempt to write ourselves into knowable form.
Along the way, I’d pondered the relationship between being “known” and being “possessed”—as one might say she “possesses” a thorough knowledge of the English language—and how this relates to story-telling.
A quote from Richard Chess’s recent Image blog post complicated matters.
“We are our stories,” Chess suggests, reflecting on the Israel-Palestine conflict. “The stories into which we are born, the stories in which we’ll one day die.” [Read more…]