Sunday, January 6, 2013

Working on a memoir? Study Diane Keaton

Diane Keaton's memoir Then Again, published in May 2012, can serve as a writer's guide to the craft of memoir. Spend some time with it and you'll see an excellent example of a memoir with a twist. Not wanting to write a movie-star biography, Diane Keaton used her mother's journal writing as a way of revisiting and having a conversation with her. Along the way, Keaton takes use through the years as she became an actress, and enjoyed major success with movies, and also with several famous fellas in the industry.

Keaton speaks of "opening and closing doors all my life. But the door marked LETTING GO has remained shut." As her Mom struggled through Alzheimer's disease, Keaton recognizes there is no turning back her mother's illness, nor that of others: . "...even genius didn't stop Ralph Waldo Emerson, Iris Murdoch, E.B. White, or Somerset Maugham from the "insidious onset."

You'll be intrigued by Keaton's ability to weave the stories of her life together, and will agree with the New York Times claim that Then Again is "A far-reaching, lucid book about mothers, daughters, childhood, aging, mortality, joyfulness, love, work and the search for self-knowledge."

Read it for pleasure, and by all means, study it if you're working on a memoir.

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