Sue Monk Kidd on Memoir


Today at Ducktrap Writers’ Round Table we spoke about Author Sue Monk Kidd, who is featured in the book Why We Write About Ourselves, an anthology of 20 memoirists edited by Meredith Maran and published by Plume, a Penquin Random House imprint (2016).

Here are a couple of excerpts from her contribution to the book:

Oddly enough, I find that the deeper I go into myself, the more I’m freed from myself. When I write about myself, I find release and freedom in the end because I’ve managed to distill the experience into some sort of meaning that I can integrate into my life, and then move on without all the preoccupation and unconscious pull of it. It’s the unexamined experience that seems to wreak the most havoc in my day-to-day world.

Writing memoir not only has the ability to reveal me to myself, it also has the power to change me. I suspect writing memoir is partially about the need to bring about wholeness in myself. Maybe I’m trying to resolve something inside, heal a wound, redeem some part of myself that has been orphaned or lost, or give a voice to what has been silenced. The Dance of the Dissident Daughter was the story of how my religion and spirituality collided into my feminism, and writing it changed me. It allowed me to recover something vital and true in myself. It made me a much braver person. I don’t think I would’ve been able to write my first novel if I hadn’t written that memoir.

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