Sunday, April 06, 2008

great interview with Ianthe Brautigan

on writing memoir.

Tom McGuane had this great thing he told me. We were talking on the phone, and we don't talk often but I was in the middle of the process, and he said, "What are you doing?" And I said, "Well I'm writing a memoir" -- I knew he would disapprove because those guys, they have their own code of things.

CV: He was a friend of your father's?

IB: Yes, he was a friend, along with Jim Harrison. And I knew he'd -- not disapprove of me writing a memoir in particular, but you know, they're fiction guys, they write fiction.

And he said, "Well, whatever you're writing has you by the back of the neck. And you just kinda have to go with it." It is what it is. You have to accept what it is. And that's the roughest part about memoir writing -- or any kind of writing, I think. I love Toni Morrison; I think she's incredible. I will never write like her in a million years. It's just not going to happen. I have a very distinct style. And it's not that. [laughter] So it's accepting your writing. If you're writing a memoir, accepting that this is what it is.
And then you have to find a structure for it.... I read a million memoirs. And I would find somebody and go, "Oh, OK, you can do this; this is a structure that will work."

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