At one of the Jericho events I heard Anna say that In The Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado is one of her favourite books. I managed to get it as an ebook from the library and have just finished it. As a memoir, it's very unusual, being mostly allusive and not very linear either. It wasn't an easy book - it's about an abusive relationship - but I have always resisted the 'tricksy ' approach to life writing so this was a useful read.
The following passage, quite near to the start of Carmen's book, speaks to what we are all trying to achieve and I thought others in the group might like to see it:
'The memoir is, at its core, an act of resurrection. Memoirists recreate the past, reconstruct dialogue. They summon meaning from events that have long been dormant. They braid the clays of memory and essay and fact and perception together, smash them into a ball, roll them flat. They manipulate time; resuscitate the dead. They put themselves, and others, into necessary context.'
My own memoir is the usual beginning, middle and end (of a period lasting only 4 years) and I have worked quite hard to stop the thing turning into a glorified shopping list of 'first I did this and then this happened, followed by that...' ad nauseum. It seems to have paid off, according to feedback from professional readers but we shall see if it gets me anywhere. I don't think I have the mental agility to try Carmen's approach next time, (I have a follow-up in mind), but who knows?