I'm a big fan of memoir. Not celebrity tell-alls, biographies of famous people or recountings of great adventures or tragedies--though these have their place. My heart belongs to those who take their experiences--often common and ordinary--and weave them into something extraordinary, who take moments from their lives--and make them into art. Here are three examples who currently smite me:
1) On Stage: Alice Johnson, Bitch Trouble. A
one woman show in which Alice details the rise and fall of three
friendships during childhood, adolescence and adulthood. She plays a
dozen characters, and she's hilarious and lyrical and profane. If you
live in Los Angeles, you're lucky--you can still go see it, and you
2) In pictures on a blog: Hyperbole and a Half.
Allie Brosh illustrates her life-based anecdotes with inimitable
cartoons. She's recently had a depression-related hiatus from her blog,
but I came home tonight (after Alice's show) to find a post, and was
grateful to see it.
3) In poems: Sharon Olds.
Have I mentioned the poetry class I took this past semester? At first
when I saw the assignment to write a paper on a poet, I thought I would
have to pick one at random, that no one poet would capture my heart,
but several weeks in, I stumbled on Sharon Olds. Apparently I'm not the
only one whose heart has been captured, because a month after my
discovery of her (but about thirty years after her first of many
publications) her most recent book, Stags Leap, won a Pulitzer Prize.