Reading Inventing the Truth landed me smack in the middle of the thoughts of revered authors who also happened to write memoir. Reading this anthology of essays is like sitting in a lecture hall with great authors sharing their ideas about memoir in a way a way that is both personal and instructional. I was already a fan of Annie Dillard, Toni Morrison, and Jill Conway as writers, but this book opened the memoir doors of their writing.
The big prize behind the door was Frank McCourt’s essay “Learning to Chill Out.” Writing can be stressful with a deadline, and fearful if you worry about what people will think. But it can also be fun, funny, delicious, and downright exhilarating when you accept that no one else can tell your story as truthfully and brilliantly as you can. This particular essay gave me permission as a teacher and writer, as was Mr. McCourt, to not always be in control. To have fun. To chill out.