Mary Carr and Memoir

How have I gone through life and missed writer Mary Carr, I wonder? I think I wasn’t supposed to find her until now. But boy, I am grateful that I did. I’m reading her third memoir, Lit, about her path to sobriety. Full of pain and gut-wrenching truth, but beautiful just the same.

I found an amazing interview with her here, in the Paris Review. As a teaser I’ll share this from the interview:

INTERVIEWER: What was your own conflict?

KARR: My own bitterness and cynicism had to be pried away for the light to get in. The fury that I thought protected me from harm actually sealed me off from joy. Also, I sensed I’d betrayed my father and our redneck background by living at Harvard with my ex-husband and his polo-playing family. That my mother had given me a great love of art, truth, books, conversation, and beauty, and I was too angry at her to feel gratitude. I had to start living with some modicum of wonder, a state of praise rather than blame. It’s a journey from complaint to praise.

It’s a long interview, but oh so worth the read.

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2 Responses to Mary Carr and Memoir

  1. Leah says:

    I loved The Liar’s Club, have seen Lit in stores but haven’t had a chance to pick it up yet. Now I definitely will, sounds like there’s some lessons in there I need to learn myself about writing and life. Memoir is my aspiration, and Mary Karr is one of the best in the genre.

  2. Hi Liz, glad to here you discovered Mary Karr. If you liked Lit, you must read her first memoir The Liars’ Club. I use it to teach memoir, especially writing about smells. She’s a master in describing smell! I was lucky enough to see her at a reading last month, check out my blog post about that: http://www.annettegendler.com/2011/04/mary-karr-on-writing-memoir.html

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