Tuesday 19 October 2010

On Autobiogrpahy

We all know 250 people don’t we? We are not short of people to help paint our lives. Some of them can be very colourful. Other people define who we are. I often think my creative writing students would do well to take a course in human psychology. Everybody’s life is interesting, actually, if we frame it carefully.
Yet we must be careful. There is even more danger of losing friends if we make them feature in our autobiographies for here we imply that we tell the truth. We may see them one way but they may see themselves entirely differently.
Perhaps the best option is to just show the reader scenes from our lives and let them come to their own conclusions. However, we must be aware that we are being selective in what we chose to portray and how we choose to portray it. We are painting our pasts from our position here and now in the present. Nevertheless if our own stories are constructed through the type of scenes we use in fiction, filmic scenes grounded in time and space and relying on us writing with the senses, they make for more interesting reading anyway than if they are simply told.

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