Flecks of Gold Panned Out of a Great, Muddy River

This is Ann Patchett in the afterward to Lucy Grealy’s Autobiography of a Face.

In the right hands, a memoir is the flecks of gold panned out of a great, muddy river. A memoir is those flecks melted down into a shapable liquid that can then be molded and hammered into a single bright band to be worn on a finger, something you could point to and say, “This? Oh, this is my life.” Everyone has a muddy river, but very few have the vision, patience, and talent to turn it into something so beautiful. This is why the writer matters, so that we can not only learn from her experience but find a way to shape our own. I’m not talking about shaping every life into a work of art. I’m talking about making our life into something we can understand, a portable object that has the weight and power of an entire terrain.

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4 Responses to Flecks of Gold Panned Out of a Great, Muddy River

  1. Alison Jarvis says:

    Thank you so very much for bringing Ann Patchett’s words on memoir back to me. On reading this, the words “retrieval” and “claim” are
    foremost among those I’m flooded with.

  2. nancyrawlinson says:

    Alison, you epitomize vision, patience and talent to me.

  3. hyclepype says:

    ну и смайлов рядочек ещё надо добавить

  4. Hmm. I wouldn’t normally allow a comment in a language I can’t understand, in case it says “Check out my big jugs” or something and links to a porn site.

    But according to iGoogle, the above comment says: “And smiles ryadochek still need to add.” Which makes no sense to me, but also doesn’t reference jugs in any way.

    And I must admit, I’m kind of in love with the look of the Cyrillic alphabet.

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