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Author Archive: "Sarah Manguso"

The Word Memoir

What do you write?

I used to say book-length essays, but the inevitable follow-up question — essays about what? — would take me to another dodge, first-person narrative nonfiction... and seconds later I'd admit, I write about myself.

Now I just say the word: memoir.

I'm 38 years old and I'm working on my third memoir.

As I wrote in the first one, I have never shot heroin in an alley with a needle I knew was dirty, killed anyone by mistake or on purpose, spent even one night in jail, lost a limb, watched anyone burn to death, had to choose the child that would live, seen active duty, lost everything in a flood...

Which is to say: I have almost no story to tell, but I've spent a lot of time thinking about that almost no story. A lot of thinking about almost nothing.

In that first memoir, during the seventh year of a remission, I tried to remember the experience of being chronically ill.

In my second memoir, during the third year after his death, I tried to remember my friend.

In the third one I seem to be trying to find ...


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