It’s the start of week 5, and I’m sitting here with chai tea and half an exegesis draft. Feeling the pressure. I’ve been trying to time my research with the working day — no late-night writing or editing, and no late nights in general. At night I’ve been reading anthology Just Between Us, which claims to ‘tell the truth’ about female friendships. I’d be lying if I told you I bought this simply for research purposes, but I have found it helpful to see how other female authors write about people close to them. Some of the stories are labelled nonfiction, in which friends are labelled by the first letters of their names, or else their names are changed. In the ‘fiction’ pieces there is so much detail and grit and feeling that I wonder how many of these are actually nonfiction too. I particularly love Melina Marchetta’s story (‘fiction’) where events are told through multiple perspectives — through an angry email chain between old friends. Fiction, yet exactly how such a story might be shared in real, web-connected life.
Elsewhere, Marieke Hardy also publishes email correspondence in her memoir, You’ll Be Sorry When I’m Dead. She writes a story about her memories of an ex-boyfriend who liked prostitutes and coerced her into having threesomes. She calls him ‘brutally and emotionally damaged’; a ‘dirty, over-experienced, stripper-fucking pro’. The story is detailed, both in the moment and in reflection. The last few pages are the email exchange she had with Matty about the story:
‘Potentially diverse rememberings of shared encounters’, Marieke calls her writing.
‘I just may not be the person you remember,’ he responds. ‘That’s a real shame to me. That you don’t know me at all.’
This makes me think about the pieces I’m publishing online. Will people think I don’t know them, because I have written them differently to how they see themselves?