Thursday, April 26, 2007

Rebecca McClanahan

There's a fine interview with Rebecca online at The Kenyon Review. Rebecca teaches in the Queens MFA program in North Carolina, and I learned so much from her. Here's a chunk of the interview:

RM: Memoir (be it essay-length or book-length) is the most difficult genre I’ve ever worked in—

NZ: How so? Sorry to interrupt; I’m just surprised by your answer.

RM: Probably because it requires the most destruction, particularly in the early stages of the draft. One has to destroy—or at least deconstruct—what happened before one can make a text out of that happening. Steven Harvey says it better in his essay “The Art of Self”: “Only the text, shed of ourselves and hammered into shape, can redeem us. The enemy of the text, then, is what happened....What happened may matter to us, but it is lost on us if we do not transform it into art.”

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