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Watch me talk about my debut as an author, Sex & Cupcakes: A Juicy Collection of Essays, in this Q&A with my publisher Thought Catalog Books

Sunday, December 19, 2010

"When I’m editing a piece, I think how can this be more true?"

I just finished reading Teresa Strasser's excellent memoir Exploiting My Baby: A Memoir of Pregnancy & Childbirth and will be posting a proper review soon, but I thought it was far and away one of the best parenting memoirs. I was going to say "right up there with Anne Lamott's Operating Instructions" and then almost didn't, because no, it's not like Operating Instructions in tone, but in gut honesty, in saying things that most other mommy memoirs aren't, Teresa is doing it. Like this part that I tabbed:

Breast-feeding easily is the equivalent of having a big dick--no one will admit how good it feels, because it's really arbitrary and in now way means one is more of a man--but when that baby just takes to the boob, no pain, no trouble, I feel like I have a huge, swinging dick. I may have ben so-so on nursing, and put off by all the wacky zealots who promote it, but I must admit, it fives me confidence.

I loved that analogy, and it also reminded me that I can't remember the last time I read a man writing honestly about penis size.

I loved what she told LAist:

I think writing is the only one of those three where I have a knack. I’m not the fanciest writer, but I think I’m able to be honest. When I’m editing a piece, I think how can this be more true? There’s something to be said for that even though my prose is pretty mediocre.

I'm very stuck with my writing lately - fiction, nonfiction. I have all these ideas but none of them seem to come to fruition and then I think, "That idea sucks." And I know part of it is just fear, cold, heart-clenching fear. There are so many things you're not supposed to say, and all those could've-should've essays I didn't write for the VIP anthologies, and now there's...today. Just hours for me and my computer and if I can motivate, the gym, because I'm also trying to lose 30 pounds, but that is another story. For now, I too want to know how to be more honest, in my fiction and my nonfiction. I'm so tired of my constantly questioning myself brain, my ways of talking myself out of everything until I'm left with nothing, no words, just blankness.

I'm also reading Dinty W. Moore's Crafting The Personal Essay: A Guide for Writing and Publishing Creative Non-Fiction and I like his approach, like that he takes even a phrase like "write what you know" and turns it on its head.

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