The Hard Crowd | The New Yorker  

written by Rachel Kushner. added about 1 month ago by @icyflame ARCHIVES

personal-history writing autobiographical-writing    

I never wrote about most of the people from the Blue Lamp. The bar is gone. The main characters have died. Perhaps I feared that if I transformed them into fiction I’d lose my grasp on the real place, the evidence of which has evaporated. Or perhaps a person can write about things only when she is no longer the person who experienced them, and that transition is not yet complete. In this sense, a conversion narrative is built into every autobiography: the writer purports to be the one who remembers, who saw, who did, who felt, but the writer is no longer that person. In writing things down, she is reborn. And yet still defined by the actions she took, even if she now distances herself from them. In all a writer’s supposed self-exposure, her claim to authentic experience, the thing she leaves out is the galling idea that her life might become a subject put to paper. Might fill the pages of a book.

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