What Family Trouble Taught Me

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

Castro small headshotA guest post from Joy Castro, editor of the new nonfiction anthology Family Trouble: Memoirists on the Hazards and Rewards of Revealing Family:

All of us have family we deeply love—or if not deeply love, then at least are fond of.  Or, at the very least, have no wish to hurt.  Yet family stories are so compelling, so blistering, that many of us long to write them, despite the exposure they risk.  Whether we’re memoirists drawing directly from life, fiction writers rolling and patting our autobiographical material into new shapes, or poets pulling images and people from our own lived pasts, when it comes to family, we all wrestle with responsibility.  How much to reveal?  How much to protect?

After my memoir The Truth Book was published in 2005, audiences everywhere most wanted to know how my mother responded, what my brother said.  They asked with an urgency and…

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