WINDING UP A RELAXING WEEKEND: This has been one of the most relaxing weekends I've had in awhile...mainly because it was all "me time." We're heading into a busy production schedule at work for the April edition, plus I have a couple of poetry events to attend. I'll be judging students for the Poetry Out Loud recitation project on Tuesday morning up in Roswell to see who goes on to state and on Wednesday night, Poets & Writers and Five Points lit mag are hosting a reading by Delisa Mulkey and Lauren Watel, the winners of last year's Writer's Exchange contest. I've never met or heard Delisa (who won for poetry) read, so I'm looking forward to this. I'm also sitting on a writing critique panel at Portfolio Center on Tuesday night. Mid-week is going to kick my ass.

Anyway, a relaxing weekend. I am slightly envious of all those poets who went to the AWP conference in Austin this weekend. A good number of the poetry bloggers were in attendance and looks like a fab time was had by all. Sadly, I couldn't make this trip and go back to Texas again next month for the book release in San Antonio and the Austin Poetry Festival. Speaking of AIPF, I received a phone call Saturday morning from the editor of the di-verse-city 2006 anthology that my poem What I'm Wearing was selected for this year's edition. That was a great way to kick off the weekend!

On Saturday evening, I met my friends Malory and Maria for dinner at Fellini's Pizza. It was in the high 70s this weekend, so everyone was out on the patio enjoying their pies and beer. We chatted about politics and who the Republicans might be putting up for their 08 presidential candidate. We're guessing McCain will win the nom, and Hillary will get the Dem nom. I'm already practicing saying "President McCain." At least he's a moderate. Sigh...

We went over to Border's after dinner and I spent way too much money. I picked up the two-disk edition of All The President's Men (one of my all-time favorite films), a copy of Time Out magazine from London (gotta keep current!), and Augusten Burrough's memoir, Running With Scissors. Malory has been on my ass for a year trying to get me to read this, and I finally broke down. I'm at the halfway point and it is brilliant. However, like James Frey, me thinks Augusten embellishes just a tad. The mother...who fancies herself as an Anne Sexton type poet...is finely drawn. Whether she's as fabulously crazy as Burrough's makes her out to be is up for debate. While it's a memoir, it reads like fiction, and I don't really care. The writing is good, the story is entertaining. Hell, I'm happy just to be reading a book that's not poetry at the moment. I have a stack of novels to read, and I've made a late New Year's promise to spend more time reading fiction this year.

Sunday night was the Java Monkey Speaks Slam. The weather, again, was beautiful and the patio area was packed. Jon Goode and Icon sailed through to the finals, which are next month. Tonight I was just a spectator and I relished it. I got to speak to a bunch of my poetry pals and just relax.

Comments

Memoirs should read like fiction! Striving for accuracy is for historians, journalists, and scientists. As writers we should strive for truth, not accuracy, no matter if the piece ends up being a poem, a memoir, a novel, et cetera. How could we even pretend to remember that much detail? Memoirs are as fictional as novels.
Collin said…
I agree that a good memoir should read like a novel...it must be entertaining to hold your attention. However, there is a difference between embellishing and just making shit up that you know never happened...like James Frey and "A Million Little Pieces." I find that to be intellectually dishonest. If you just want to make up things, write a novel, but don't slap "memoir" on it and pass it off as your real life. And if you do write a fictional memoir, at least be smart enough to cover your tracks. lol
I agree with you about the basic storyline. To me that is the only difference between novels and memoirs, that the storyline and events are based on the history of the author. However, most of the little details are made up - how could an author remember exactly what was said, exactly how much time was spent in the hospital? Of course, these details are sometimes remembered, but often enough to write a complete, accurate, memoir? Even if the author keeps a damn fine journal, looking back, certain details previously ignored and forgotten are going to be seen as more important then they seemed at first. No one can remember their lives accurately enough to write a complete memoir.

I agree that authors in general need to cover their tracks better, "The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources." - A.E.

Congrats on the relaxing weekend too! We all need one now and then. Mine was nice, but I was also filled with jelousy for all those attending AWP and buying all the wonderful books on sale there. Spring break for me actually. Shaping up to be a nice week! Loved Acid Flashback by the way.
bookfraud said…
all i have to say is: i wish i'd gone to austin.

also, i am jealous of the weekend you had. wife was busy with a writing deadline all weekend, and i was all cooped up with her. damn writers.
Tania Rochelle said…
I loved Scissors because it made me feel better about my own freaky childhood. Factual or not, it was a good story. Frey's book was tedious and didn't ring true in the least. I couldn't get past the first 40 pages.
Collin said…
I finished Running With Sicissor and thought it was fantastic. I may have to pick up the sequel, Dry. But first I have to read The Plot Against America. I've had the book for a year now and it's time.
jenni said…
I heard that AWP is going to be in Atlanta next year! I was supposed to go but Jack had a trial this week and he spent all weekend preparing for it--no one to watch the little one. But I got a lot of reading done and wrote something new so I'm not too heartbroken. Hope your busy week is going well.

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