“It doesn’t matter if it’s true — only if it works,” says Marion Winik, author of Telling, Then Comes Love and The Lunchbox Chronicles. From her 2000 seminar at the Writer’s League of Texas, Advice for Personal Essayists:
- You will write great beginnings and endings. You just won’t write them first and last.
- It doesn’t matter if it’s true — only if it works.
- The more idiosyncratic and specific, the better
- What an essay writer shares with fiction writers: storytelling
- What an essay writer shares with poets: intimacy
- What an essay writer shares with all writers: love of the language.
This week she’s been reading and signing Highs in the Low Fifties, How I Stumbled Through the Joys of Single Living — her ninth book — in Austin and San Antonio. Photo above from her inspiring, funny evening this week at BookPeople. She reads today at Bookwoman.
Winik’s writing is memoir. It’s told in the form of personal essays in her latest book. David Sedaris uses the same structure. While these writers are not considered in the same aspect as a Cheryl Strayed writing Wild, Winik and Sedaris are no less fearless, meaningful or intimate. They tie together memoir through stories which relate to an overall theme. Being single is a loving place to be in your life; that might be the way you’d see her latest book, written after a divorce and becoming mother to a third child in her forties. And then discovering Baltimore after the dazzle of years in Austin.
She’s definitely a memoir writer and essayist to study. We’ll be doing that this season as our Memoir Intensives start up in August.