Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Midweek reminder: Honesty is inherently generous

Honesty is not the same as confession. “Be honest” (often “brutally honest”) is a fundamental tenet of memoir writing. But that does not mean you include every detail, play out every emotional drama, chronicle everything you did during the span of time over which the book or essay takes place. Honesty means not skirting uncomfortable truths and not pulling punches when it comes to recounting situations and feelings. Confession means blurting out a bunch of stuff and just leaving it there for shock value rather than doing the hard work of organizing it and pruning it and deciphering its relevance to the larger picture. Confessing means asking the reader for something—for forgiveness, for punishment, for some kind of response that makes you feel less alone. Honesty means offering something to the reader—a piece of yourself or a set of suggestions. Honesty means making the reader feel less alone. Honesty is inherently generous. Confession is inherently needy and intrusive. -Meghan Daum

From Salon, a recent piece on memoir writing.


  1. I love this, Sher. Thank you for sharing.

  2. I almost typed just what Kim said. So...what Kim said.

    1. I knew my writer friend types would appreciate the sentiments. xo


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