“People help each other in catastrophes. But they don’t feel good because they help each other. They help each other because they feel good. I knew a married couple once who were bored with life, disliked each other, hated their own lives, and were generally miserable—except during hurricanes. Then they sat in their house at Pass Christian, put a bottle of whiskey between them, felt a surge of happiness, were able to speak frankly and cheerfully to each other, laugh and joke, drink, even make love. After the hurricane they took a good hard look at each other on a sunny Monday morning and got a divorce.”
Walker Percy in his 1977 novel, Lancelot.
“Memoir is not an easy form. It’s not for beginners, which is unfortunate, as it is where many people do begin. It’s hard for beginners to accept that un-mediated truth often sounds unlikely and unconvincing. If other people are to care about your life, art must intervene. The writer has to negotiate with her memories, and with her reader, and find a way, without interrupting the flow, to caution that this cannot be a true record; this is a version, seen from a single viewpoint.”
New York Times Book Review
May 19, 2013