Honesty in Memoir, Ver. 3.0

April 13, 2010 § Leave a comment

Our friend Richard Gilbert has advanced the Shields/Reality Hunger argument on his blog, with some deeper thought and analysis.  Gilbert, initially resistant, has come to agree with many of Shields’  ideas.

Well worth the read:

As the Oklahoma side of my family would say, Shields is peeing up a rope regarding narrative: he might as well inveigh against human sexuality: narrative is intrinsic to Homo sapiens. Non-narrative presentation is not only an advanced technique, it’s for a discerning audience. I learned this when I tried to teach some mulish college juniors—alas, not even English majors—to read and write lyric and collage essays. They were hardened criminals, that group. But still. They would have responded to narrative, and did when I finally recast the class in midstream.

But as concerns Shields’ thoughts on shaping memory, Gilber writes:

Shields’s lapse in this case aside, in the year since first hearing him argue that memoir isn’t journalism but literature—hence subject to latitude regarding literal truth in order to achieve Truth—I’ve come to agree with him…  hard at work on my own memoir in the intervening year, I’ve noticed how my memory actually works, how it melds events like dreams do. I’ve wondered how best to convey lived experience in order to honor the remembered, emotional truth of that experience. And I’ve read more acclaimed memoirs and, in re-reading the ones that really grabbed me, I’ve noticed how the writers have recreated experience. In the midst of this struggle I’ve also read more of what other writers have had to say.

Visit Gilbert’s Blog here.

Reality Hunger: The Diet Plan

March 27, 2010 § 4 Comments

If this is reality, we aren’t hungry:

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) – Sarah Palin is close to a deal for her travelogue reality show.  Sources say Discovery Communications has edged out rival A&E Networks in the bidding for the project, “Sarah Palin’s Alaska.” An agreement could be announced in the next few days.

WASHINGTON (MSNBC) – White House party crashers Tareq and Michaele Salahi could be about to crash a living room near you. According to The Daily Beast, the couple — who infamously crashed the White House state dinner in November — will be featured in Bravo’s upcoming “The Real Housewives of D.C.”

David Shields: A Radical Nonfiction Ars Poetica

January 12, 2010 § Leave a comment

It seems that everyone is talking about Reality Hunger, David Shields’ “call to arms” for new literary art forms to match the complexity of the 21st Century.  Here at Brevity, we can’t agree with everything he suggests, but like so many others in the nonfiction conversation, we are fascinated and provoked.

And though we tried to embed a video snippet of Shields right here, we apparently have not the skills.

So go here:


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