Wednesday, April 18, 2012
But I am perplexed, for there are so many beginnings. I shall begin at the end, then, and share what is, for me, such day-breaking, joy-making news:
April 17, 2012HANDLING THE TRUTH emerges from my years of writing, critiquing, and teaching memoir. It erupts from a place both scorched and urgent. It means so much to me because my students mean so much to me, and because memoir—the form, the possibilities—must, I think, be both reconsidered and defended.
Memoirist, fiction writer and National Book Award finalist for A SLANT OF SUN, Beth Kephart's HANDLING THE TRUTH, a book devoted to the reading, teaching, and making of memoir; about consequences and libraries, privileges and pleasures, and finally knowing ourselves -- providing a proven framework for teachers, students, and readers, to Lauren Marino at Gotham, by Amy Rennert at the Amy Rennert Agency (world).
But no book emerges on its own. This one will exist because my agent, Amy Rennert, received the first 70 pages of this book on a Saturday morning, read it on a Sunday morning, and called me that Sunday afternoon. She already had a plan. She was certain. She took the book out into the world, and before I even had a chance to dream, she had found this book its right home. Shore lady, she wrote to me last week, as I was contemplating dolphins and sea, we have a deal. Lauren Marino is the executive editor of Gotham Books, a Penguin Group imprint (who doesn't love Penguin?). She has worked with Diablo Coady, Isaac Mizrahi, Thomas Moore, Jeffrey Zaslow, Ann Crittenden, Ruth Reichl, Jane Green, Cindy Crawford, Willie Nelson, and others. I am honored by the chance to write for her.
I am delighted, too, to share this one other small thing at this early hour: HANDLING THE TRUTH is a book that once sported another title. And then one morning, while grousing on Facebook about a nonfiction writer who takes (in my opinion) far too many liberties, Melissa Sarno posted a video clip meant to make me laugh and (perhaps, who knows?) to silence my rant. All day long I kept thinking about that clip and about how much I love Melissa. I knew by dusk what I had to do. Sarno, you are loveliness supreme.
I have many people, then, to thank today. Gregory Djanikian, for inviting me to teach at Penn in the first place. Al Filreis of Penn's Kelly Writers House, for supporting my work in the classroom. My students, whose work and faces and stories thrill, inspire, uplift me. Amy Rennert, for believing so much in this book, for making sure it had the right home, for being a friend through all these years. Lauren Marino, for your (joy-making) faith. And, of course, Melissa and Jack.