I’m reading Mary Karr’s The Art of Memoir right now (see review in this newsletter), and it’s a book that has come at the perfect time for me. It’s saying what I need to hear right now. I love when that happens.
Karr is an author committed to the genre of memoir who has written three to date, The Liar’s Club, Cherry, and Lit. That’s someone I want to learn from. Many authors write only one memoir and then go back to their first genre—novels, short stories, poetry, etc. I enjoy those stories, but I love the likes of Karr, Rick Bragg, Tobias Wolff, and others, who continue to delve into their lives for more material. But, I digress.
Mary Karr gives us our writing prompt for the month. In chapter three, she talks about reasons not to write a memoir and discusses being at the “nadir of my confidence as a writer” when she wrote Lit. A friend asked her, “What would you write if you weren’t afraid?”
She goes on to say, “I honestly didn’t know at first. But I knew finding the answer would unlock the writing for me.”
As someone who encourages people, including myself, to write in spite of fear, I ask you Karr’s question, what would you write if you weren’t afraid? What would you commit to paper if you knew no one would ever see it? What would you write if you weren’t worried about how you’d look or sound on the page? If you’re brave, tell us about it.