Monday, February 22, 2010

Explain Your Answer

Question for my reading faithful -- favorite memoirs? If you guys could list some of your favorites, it would be a huge help to me. And about the memoirs -- why? What element makes your choice stand out?

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"Every story is really two stories." Grace Paley

Cocktail Hour
Thanks for all the Tiger feedback on the last post! Check out Jim's latest on the Motor City Burning Press website. Working on meeting stuff -- soon. Also, feel free to send submissions -- check out the website for details.

Benedictions and Maledictions
Rest in peace to my dear Angela's faithful companion, Bogey. I remember when she found Bogey as a stray ever so many years ago. He was a miracle dog, the kind that kept going and going. May he rest in Heaven with all his little friends that went before him. And welcome back home, Charles and Lana!


Me_Again said...

Well, I just read Mackenzie Phillip's memoir--High On Arrival. I really liked it, I was swept into her pain and release.
I think a good memoir contains points where you say to yourself--I catch your drift, I can relate to this. Did that really happen?!?
Poetic innuendos, which you write brilliantly.
But I am bias to my own =0)

Anonymous said...

It's always difficult to try to see one's life whole. Yet in the admonition of the Mississippi blues song, "No pain, no gain." All of what I have described in this memoir was a small eternity ago, and I see now that, as with much of life, this has really been a little long-ago tale, not about politics, or history, or publishing, or a place, but about time passing, and about the allies and adversaries who were with me on that passage. So many of my friends of those days are dead now, and others have gone their own way. In the course of an existence, people move in and out of one's life. Often we do not know the whereabouts of those once dear to us, much less what they are feeling or remembering. Close relationships oscillate between tranquility and destruction, between fire and ice. Old fidelities wither and love dies as the lovers go on living. There are a few small islands of warmth and belonging if we are lucky. This is how I wish to remember the best of those times. In a speech to old Northern veterans in 1884, Oliver Wendell Holmes said, " I think that, as life is action and passion, it is required of a man that he should share the passion and action of his time, at peril of being judged not to have lived."
And always, throughout life, there remains for me the city itself, in memory and mirage, for the city is still part of my dreams. "There is never any ending to Paris," Hemingway wrote of his youth there, "and the memory of each person who has lived in it differs from that of any other." So, too, I with New York. As I stood that day at Henjie's grave, I was reminded of something indefinable and faraway, some wisp of mysterious belonging, some lambent whisper somewhere in the long ago breast of the city calling to me, and I knew now I could return.--Willie Morris, "New York Days"

the walking man said...

The thing I generally like about memoirs is the first person personal narrative voice. When I read a well written one I am able to step into the writers shoes and live the memory with them in a very intimate way.

Favorite memories. I was talking to Small Tall the other day and it went back to her wanting to know my military history. For such a short period in my 55 years I think that there were more than a few days that despite everything that went on, were very memorable.

Being at sea in the North Atlantic in winter and hurricane season. Hitting the pier with the ship in Brooklyn, breaking my elbow at sea and winding up in Philadelphia for months, playing hide and seek with the shore patrol. Being discharged in a drug dependent state. Then finally tripping my balls back to reality by swinging my thumb out for a few years. Youth is a memoir waiting to be writ.

Charles Gramlich said...

My favorite memoirs over the years have been those by writers. I just really like looking at their lives in comparison to mine, and seeing the kinds of things they wrote or write.

Anonymous said...

Paternity by Philip Roth. I like stuff that helps me navigate what lies ahead. Right time, right place in my life to read it. From Roth's consistent and yet (necessarily) limited point of view I always find gems of truth. The decline of the generation before us and our subsequent taking their places in the steady march of time is a transition we all face if we live long enough. Roth makes it individual,personal, heartbreaking and life affirming.

Anonymous said...

Hot Chicks Who Have Hit the Skids:

High On Arrival, MacKenzie Phillips

Losing It, Valerie Bertinelli

Here's the Story, Maureen McCormick

And, well, your blog ;-)

Anonymous said...

It is sometimes hard now to look back, to take stock, and to realize, to truly believe, that I have been to college--that was not a common thing in my youth, as I've said, and movies about college life were very popular, and were always comedy romances; to know further that I have even taught at colleges--daydreaming of that would have been a lunatic fantasy at the beginning; and that, further yet, I studied on a scholarship at Oxford University in England for one year, at St. Catherine's College, and that after a term there in 1991 as a Christiensen Fellow, I was appointed an Honorary Visiting Fellow. Just think: I am an Honorary Visiting Fellow of St. Catherine's College of Oxford University! I have much to be pleased with, including myself, and I am. I have wanted to succeed, and I have. I look younger than my years, much younger to people who are young, and I am in reasonably good health. My appetite continues hearty, and is complemented by a sterling digestive system that almost never lets me down. I still have most of a good head of hair and probably I have sufficient income and money to go on living as well as I want to, with enough left over, I feel, to please my few heirs (Valerie, sister Sylvia, children Erica and Ted). I am in love with my wife, still find other women appealing, enjoy a good many close friendships, and I have just finished writing this book. It will take about a year to be published, and I expect much of what I've just said to still be true when it is.--Joseph Heller, "Now and Then"

J.S. said...

Hey there, sweet woman!

Favorite memoirs:

An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination - Elizabeth McCracken

Lucky - Alice Sebold

A Grief Observed - CS Lewis

Cherry - Mary Karr

Those are some of my favorites. I love the first three because the authors handle difficult material with integrity in a non-sensational manner. I love the fourth because what's not to love about Mary Karr? :-)

Hope you're well! Miss you!

xo, Jill

Heff said...

Lovely as always.

More beer, Butlik, and booze begins 02/24/2010 at Heff's Bar And Grill.

Anonymous said...

I can't read.

Lana Gramlich said...

Thanks for the welcome back. :) As for memoirs, I have to say that the subject isn't terribly interesting to me. I did read a book about Nikola Tesla that was pretty interesting, though. I also recently got caught up in "Empire," a biography about Howard Hughes that I was surprised to find so riveting. I'm not much for memoirs, it seems, unless we're talking about whackos. *L*