artsy-type memoirs

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gettingby

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I find myself drawn to these more artsy-type memoirs lately. What's interesting is I don't really write like that, but I sure do love reading it. To give you an idea, I just read one by Fanny Howe. It's brilliant. Does anyone have any reading recommendations for these types of memoirs? And does anyone here write like that? I would be interested in hearing if it was always something in you and were able to pull off or if it developed over time. It's interesting to see these more experimental memoirs. Are you guys drawn to that sort of thing?
 

mayaone

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I don't know exactly what you mean by artsy memoirs. I wrote a threaded memoir that has a mystery, poetry and photos. I don't know if it is artsy but it is the way I write because I also write poetry. My memoir is below but I am also writing a new memoir which will have a travelogue in it. I like to torture myself I guess. Aloha
 

Jamesaritchie

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I don't know whether it qualifies as "artsy", but I've always loved reading memoirs and autobiographies of creative people, particularly writers. For me, what's valuable is not the way the writer writes, but the road the writer traveled to get where they are today. I believe this road is far more important than any how-to book the writer writes. Or, put another way, the best how-to book any writer will ever write is the one that writer calls a memoir, or an autobiography. You just have to remember the how isn't what's important. What's important is the road the writer traveled, and why the writer traveled it.

Because of this, I read every memoir and autobiography of writers I can find, whoever those writers are.
 

mayaone

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I don't know whether it qualifies as "artsy", but I've always loved reading memoirs and autobiographies of creative people, particularly writers. For me, what's valuable is not the way the writer writes, but the road the writer traveled to get where they are today. I believe this road is far more important than any how-to book the writer writes. Or, put another way, the best how-to book any writer will ever write is the one that writer calls a memoir, or an autobiography. You just have to remember the how isn't what's important. What's important is the road the writer traveled, and why the writer traveled it.

Because of this, I read every memoir and autobiography of writers I can find, whoever those writers are.
I can say that before I wrote a memoir, I hadn't read many. I was into all kinds of mystery and true crime books. Then when I was writing, I didn't want to be influenced by other writers style. I was told this was a bad idea. However, my memoir was received positively even by a well known writer, James N Frey who writes books on how to write books.
After I was published by a small UK publisher(who got a bad rating on Writers beware. My contract was really bad) I started reading memoirs. I started with "Running with Scissors" and have to admit I hated it. I've read many memoirs and realized although everyone has a story, telling it is was as unique as the writers were. I think my memoir was a bit artsy in that I used my mother's memoir as not only a subplot but as a mystery that I found by reading her diary. I will look up the author you mentioned to see what you mean by artsy.
I do want to thank you for boosting memoirs because many people don't. I am writing my second and hope it will surpass my first and get a real agent and a real publisher. Much Aloha and Happy New Year
 

gettingby

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I don't know whether it qualifies as "artsy", but I've always loved reading memoirs and autobiographies of creative people, particularly writers. For me, what's valuable is not the way the writer writes, but the road the writer traveled to get where they are today. I believe this road is far more important than any how-to book the writer writes. Or, put another way, the best how-to book any writer will ever write is the one that writer calls a memoir, or an autobiography. You just have to remember the how isn't what's important. What's important is the road the writer traveled, and why the writer traveled it.

Because of this, I read every memoir and autobiography of writers I can find, whoever those writers are.

Can you recommend any? I too love to read memoirs from writers. As I mentioned above, I really liked the Fanny Howe memoir and Joan Wickersham wrote an amazing one called The Suicide Index that I thought was great. They both were already writers before they wrote their memoirs. I know you are a really big reader, and I would be interested in checking out any of your suggestions. In the past year, I have probably read at least a dozen memoirs. I like seeing the many ways memoir can be approached and handled. I was really hoping people would chime in with a few good suggestions so please let me know what you see as some must reads in this category. I will definitely check them out. Thanks.
 
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gettingby

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I can say that before I wrote a memoir, I hadn't read many. I was into all kinds of mystery and true crime books. Then when I was writing, I didn't want to be influenced by other writers style. I was told this was a bad idea. However, my memoir was received positively even by a well known writer, James N Frey who writes books on how to write books.
After I was published by a small UK publisher(who got a bad rating on Writers beware. My contract was really bad) I started reading memoirs. I started with "Running with Scissors" and have to admit I hated it. I've read many memoirs and realized although everyone has a story, telling it is was as unique as the writers were. I think my memoir was a bit artsy in that I used my mother's memoir as not only a subplot but as a mystery that I found by reading her diary. I will look up the author you mentioned to see what you mean by artsy.
I do want to thank you for boosting memoirs because many people don't. I am writing my second and hope it will surpass my first and get a real agent and a real publisher. Much Aloha and Happy New Year

Reading never hurts any writer. That's what I believe to be true. I actually think reading helps a writer find their voice. Definitely check out Fanny Howe. I think she has more than one memoir. The one I read is called The Winter Sun. Wickersham's memoir seems like it is going to be more straight forward when you start it, but she take a very interesting approach. You might really like the Wickersham book because there is quite a bit of mystery there. She kind of loops back around looking for more clues and uncovering more details. It is my one of the best I have read.

What did you hate so much about Running with Scissors? Hate is a strong word that I'm not sure I have ever used to describe a book. I really like reading a lot. I read it a long time ago, but I remember liking it. But I wouldn't call that one artsy. I think I'm with James on liking memoirs by writers. Though I'm not sure I could pull it off the way a lot of these writers do when they decide to play with form and structure, they are really great to read.
 

nadja1972

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Has anyone here read the actress Mary-Louise Parker's recent memoir Dear Mr. You? I would call it an "artsy" memoir because it is structured as a collection of letters written to various men in her life. It's better than it sounds. Beautiful raw writing.
 

mayaone

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Reading never hurts any writer. That's what I believe to be true. I actually think reading helps a writer find their voice. Definitely check out Fanny Howe. I think she has more than one memoir. The one I read is called The Winter Sun. Wickersham's memoir seems like it is going to be more straight forward when you start it, but she take a very interesting approach. You might really like the Wickersham book because there is quite a bit of mystery there. She kind of loops back around looking for more clues and uncovering more details. It is my one of the best I have read.

What did you hate so much about Running with Scissors? Hate is a strong word that I'm not sure I have ever used to describe a book. I really like reading a lot. I read it a long time ago, but I remember liking it. But I wouldn't call that one artsy. I think I'm with James on liking memoirs by writers. Though I'm not sure I could pull it off the way a lot of these writers do when they decide to play with form and structure, they are really great to read.
Getting by, Yes, hate is a strong word. I am a passionate person. I love books. I spend my time reading and don't like to be fooled. I dislike many books, hate only a few. I dislike books that promise a good read, then let you down at the end like some mysteries which are my favorite genre. I just read a memoir "A movable Feast," by Hemmingway that had gorgeous writing but was mean spirited using innuendoes to tear people down but never spelled anything out, not one thing. I hate some books that disparage other cultures and religions and memoirs that prove to be fake like "3 cups of tea" "100 million pieces" or "fragments." I am not alone in this hate. Why did I hate scissors. It was nasty and crude and proved to be fake in certain aspects. How can I hate a book. Let's just say, "Mein Kamph" which was hate filled from beginning to end. However the list of books I love is as large as the world and the books I hate very small.
 

gettingby

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Getting by, Yes, hate is a strong word. I am a passionate person. I love books. I spend my time reading and don't like to be fooled. I dislike many books, hate only a few. I dislike books that promise a good read, then let you down at the end like some mysteries which are my favorite genre. I just read a memoir "A movable Feast," by Hemmingway that had gorgeous writing but was mean spirited using innuendoes to tear people down but never spelled anything out, not one thing. I hate some books that disparage other cultures and religions and memoirs that prove to be fake like "3 cups of tea" "100 million pieces" or "fragments." I am not alone in this hate. Why did I hate scissors. It was nasty and crude and proved to be fake in certain aspects. How can I hate a book. Let's just say, "Mein Kamph" which was hate filled from beginning to end. However the list of books I love is as large as the world and the books I hate very small.

It seems I might have upset you. That was not my intention. I started this thread looking for reading recommendations or to discuss the more artsy-type works. I don't really want to get off track from that. I'm still hoping for some more recommendations to come in for these unconventional, artsy-type memoirs. And I think James was onto something about writers' memoirs. There are a few new memoirs out that I want to read, but I believe they are probably more straight forward. I still want to read them, but I have a literary crush on the memoirs that break convention and come off as true art. I want to be blown away as a reader, and this kind of stuff does that for me.
 

mayaone

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It seems I might have upset you. That was not my intention. I started this thread looking for reading recommendations or to discuss the more artsy-type works. I don't really want to get off track from that. I'm still hoping for some more recommendations to come in for these unconventional, artsy-type memoirs. And I think James was onto something about writers' memoirs. There are a few new memoirs out that I want to read, but I believe they are probably more straight forward. I still want to read them, but I have a literary crush on the memoirs that break convention and come off as true art. I want to be blown away as a reader, and this kind of stuff does that for me.

I am not angry, I am just passionate about books. I am editing my second memoir which uses a multicultural trip to the Philippines threaded into a mental illness theme.
 

Jamesaritchie

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Getting by, Yes, hate is a strong word. I am a passionate person. I love books. I spend my time reading and don't like to be fooled. I dislike many books, hate only a few. I dislike books that promise a good read, then let you down at the end like some mysteries which are my favorite genre. I just read a memoir "A movable Feast," by Hemmingway that had gorgeous writing but was mean spirited using innuendoes to tear people down but never spelled anything out, not one thing. I hate some books that disparage other cultures and religions and memoirs that prove to be fake like "3 cups of tea" "100 million pieces" or "fragments." I am not alone in this hate. Why did I hate scissors. It was nasty and crude and proved to be fake in certain aspects. How can I hate a book. Let's just say, "Mein Kamph" which was hate filled from beginning to end. However the list of books I love is as large as the world and the books I hate very small.

I don't even hate Mein Kamph. It's an extremely valuable books, it's filled with incredible insight, and it tells a story we should all want to hear. As for Movable Feats, seriously. You're right is saying it spells nothing out, but I found nothing in it at all that was the least bit mean-spirited. Hemingway simply tells the truth.

You should, however, know that it is not a memoir, it's a novel disguised as a memoir.

This aside, if you are not heavily influence by the writing style of other writers, you will never, ever become a good writer yourself.

And I would never consider a complement from James N. Frey to be a good thing.

No one will ever convince you to read more books, and to appreciate them for what they are, but I think it was Mark Twain who said, "The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read.”

In modern parlance, this translates to, "The man who does not read is just as ignorant as the man who cannot read."

Even Mein Kamph is a book everyone should read at least twice. It's fine to hate Hitler, though it doesn't help anything, but the only reason to actively hate a book is because it's horribly written.
 

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