Monday, January 10, 2011


Scent and memory

I want to stress that I have not named - anywhere - the anonymous figures in my book. I know it's driving certain people mad that I won't name them, to the point of putting words in my mouth, but this is my stance. My psychiatrist and my three significant love interests are all anonymous for a reason. Below is part of an essay on the process of writing memoir, which appears in the current issue of Psychologies. They want me to direct you to the magazine for the story in it's entirety...

"There’s a store in Los Angeles called Luckyscent, at which I have spent many a paycheck on perfume. Coming home with the classic Fracas, the cult Loukhoum, the obscure Magical Moon, I’ve been chasing a dream that intimates and passersby alike would smell me and nod, “Oh, I get her! I understand what she’s about!” I would never have to try to explain myself – moreover, I would never fail to explain myself. I wanted perfume as a stand in for written memoir. I found a lot of beautiful scents. But I never found “me”.

That idea of scent has returned to me as reviews begin to come in. What’s sour to some can be sweet to others and what some find overpowering, others find subtle. I said to my sister “I honestly believe that if the contents of this book are the worst things that will happen to me, I have been incredibly lucky” and she replied “I don’t agree with you”. I was shocked. I don’t feel sorry for myself, at all. But I have to wrestle with the notion that others might.

Writing this memoir kept my head above water. It saved me. Which is great, but why publish it? There’s the idea it may help other people. But, truthfully, the more I’ve turned the question over in my head, the more I have just one answer: because I’m a writer."

Just found another review of your book in Marie Claire UK edition in case you hadn't seen it.
"...because I’m a writer."

Exactly! Hopefully there isn't a question as to why someone, let alone a writer, would publish a memoir or even its contents.

As cathartic as writing is for so many, you'd have to be off your rocker to even question it.
I just ordered your book, having read the excerpt/article in the Guardian.

I found it incredibly beautiful, but also incredibly funny. Your wit seemed to me to remind that we're all actually pretty resilient. Even when things are bloody awful, you don't ever silence that inner commentator; the sarcastic, the funny, the observing. For example, you're in agony, being examined by a doctor, but you still manage to notice he's wearing socks the colour of stale candyfloss.I think that's what pulls us through.
I found it very sad, but more I think because I respect you so much as a writer and adore your novels, so the idea that you could have had such a hard time of it is heartbreaking. But, I suppose, has been true of many an artist and perhaps in some sadistic way is necessary.
This very much makes sense to me...

"There’s the idea it may help other people. But, truthfully, the more I’ve turned the question over in my head, the more I have just one answer: because I’m a writer."

Something I am processing in my own way, with my own words and my own platform.
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?