Your Life as Story: Discovering the “New Autobiography” and Writing Memoir as Literature

Fairy tales, fables, Bible stories, picture books, filmed animated fantasies, children’s plays, made up tales… I loved all forms of story I encountered as a child. Stories, real or fiction in any form, hinted in whispered tones that my life could be story, too. Tristine Rainer was the first to bring those whispers to actual considerations for me through her book.

Rainer was a television producer of other people’s stories when she realized she could not see the story in her own life. Her life felt fragmented, lacking what she felt was “coherent flow.” Examining her life caused Rainer to identify her passion for life story and led her to make herself her lab for discovering the autobiographical methodology she felt was missing at the time.

What was new about Rainer’s “new autobiography” thought when she published? Rainer’s view of autobiography was self-discovery rather than self-promotion and opened autobiography to the non-celibrity.

More than fifteen years later, Tristine Rainer’s thought still holds. If you want to achieve what James Atlas calls “unmatched depth and resonance,” let Your Life as Story be your guide.

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