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Saturday, September 18, 2021

The Limits of Autobiography

I  have tried autobiography and found that I am not to be trusted with it. I hate the restrictiveness of facts; I just can't control my impulse to rearrange, suppress, add, heighten, invent, and improve. Accuracy means less to me that suggestiveness; my memory is as much an inventor as a recorder, and when it has operated it has operated almost as freely as if no personal history were involved.

Wallace Stegner, On Teaching and Writing Fiction, 2002 

1 comment:

  1. Correct. I recently re-read my embarrassingly jejeune diaries from my youth. It was disturbing to read my accounts of events and what I thought, and yet to remember clearly that I felt very differently from my written words. To write about oneself for others to reads almost always leads to untruths.