Memoir is a selfish act

Michelle Tea muses about the trainwrecks memoir causes.

Examining the need to record her experiences in the title essay, she writes: “Personal narrative is a mental illness, but you don’t want to be well.” She tells me how the compulsion to write is similar to the craving to drink: “In the way that people in the throes of alcoholism tend to be selfish and in pursuit of one thing, memoir writing is a very selfish act. When you get sober, you have to step back and look at the effects that your drinking may have on the people around you. So I did that for a moment [with writing] and there’s wreckage behind me. It’s complicated and it’s always my hope that if I’m writing about somebody they can at least see that what I’m saying is true, but the reality is that truth is subjective.”

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