Skipped to the Next: Dear Memory, by Victoria Chang

Self adored the first three pieces in Strangers to Ourselves. She even adored the first half of the fourth piece, “Naomi.” But then Naomi started thinking she was God.

The next piece was about Laura, a debutante who was suicidal and diagnosed as bi-polar. Self skipped that as well. Rachel Aviv is a fantastic writer, but self has to care about the characters if she’s going to invest so much time reading their histories.

The last piece is Rachel Aviv interviewing the doctor who treated her for anorexia when she was six. What luck that she could do this, and parse that experience so expertly, as an adult. Self knows that only someone with much time, and perhaps a steady job, could do this. She skipped that. And then it was the end.

Self is now reading Dear Memory, by Victoria Chang. She listened to a panel on grief at the just-concluded AWP conference in Seattle. She loved the things Chang was saying about grief, and she was intrigued when Chang brought up her hybrid memoir, Dear Memory.

Self didn’t waste any time checking it out of her local library.

In a letter that begins “Dear D”:

We often speak of memory as something that lingers, that returns again and again. Maybe memory is more like a homicide, each time it returns, it’s a new memory, one that has murdered all the memories before.

Dear Memory: Letters on Writing, Silence, and Grief, by Victoria Chang

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