After the words

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  • Published 20110906
  • ISBN: 9781921758225
  • Extent: 264 pp
  • Paperback (234 x 153mm), eBook

MY PAST HAS not quite perished, nor would I want it to. The events described in my second memoir, The Romantic (Text, 2010), took place years ago and in another country – but the wench is not dead, only changed. There is a woman in that book called Kate, who I once was. There is a woman writing this reflection on it, who I am now. This is the moment when they – we – converge.

But as I write a memoir, though I am pulling together past and present selves, I find that I am no more unified. There’s the person, me, who had the experiences being described. There’s the I who wrote it down at the time in a diary, or bears the story in my memory. Then there is the writer, the memoirist, who puts it on the page; her successor, the critical writer who looks at that page and shapes the text to be read by others. The book is published, then I become the author, who does interviews and talks. Later I will be the person who once had the experience, once wrote it down, once used to talk about it to audiences – and I have come full circle, back into the realm of experience. Throughout, I am still the person with the original memory, who originally ‘did’; but who, curiously, may come to remember the story not as it truly happened but as I wrote it. In the search for authenticity and resurrection, we deal in contrivance and entombment.

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