Writing My Own Story: Memoir, Fictional Truth and Memory


Writing My Own Story: Memoir, Fictional Truth and Memory What does it mean to write your own story, from a literary and philosophical perspective? Writing a 100,000-word memoir covering ten years of my life (1995-2005) also forced me to consider the relationship between Truth (capital T), art as fictional truth (according to the history of literature, a “higher” truth than mere Truth) and memory as a combination of the two. Memoir as narrative truth contains both facts and fiction, the real and the made up, the was and the might have been, or perhaps even the never was but should have been. Writing your own story as memoir is a way of controlling truth as narrative truth, setting boundaries, settling scores, remembering and altering memory in order to solidify a truth about your own life; in other words, becoming both the creator and the theoretical critic of what truths your experiences represent to the world. The larger question to consider is that as both creator and critic are we even aware of what is fact and what is fiction, what is real and what is made up? And is there really such a thing as a higher fictional truth, as promoted by writers from Henry James to Ernest Hemingway, to Henry Miller, Joan Didion and Doris Lessing?

Author Information
Bruce Gatenby, American University of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

Paper Information
Conference: ACAH2017
Stream: Arts - Literary Arts Practices

This paper is part of the ACAH2017 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon