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I look at every detail of rooms I imagine. If it is not there, I conjure it up. I inhabit the room and experience the noises, smells, and personal details. I work toward emotional verisimilitude in all the details of experience — the way it happened, even though this is something that in reality has never happened.

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If you look at the verb express–you know when you express a wound, you are actually squeezing the pus out; it’s kind of a gross image–but when you express, you take what’s in and you bring it out. And that can only be freeing, but you’ve got to get it all out. So you’ve got to be really true

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While writing about the hideous aspects of life, you should attempt to teach us something about the behavior of those involved, about your behavior, about all human behavior. Let us into your story by shedding light on our own dilemmas, fears, happiness, or wide-eyed wonder

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I have this theory that what distinguishes decent writing from good writing and good writing from great writing is just how rigorous the writer was in his or her curiosity, just how authentic and sincere they were. In the A-plus books, the writer went to the bottom of the experience and what did he or she find? More bottomlessness. There are no answers, there are only questions.

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The gold of memoir combines the gifts of the novelist– vivid characters and settings, lively and suspenseful narration — with a poet’s introspection and close attention to language

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The memoirist’s job is not to add explosive whammies on every page, but to help the average person come in. Otherwise, the reader will gawk at you like somebody on Springer, or she’ll pity you–in both cases, you lose authority.

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Debra Monroe

“The intersection of the self with natural, historical, and cultural forces is your subject.”

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