Being a writer but also having been raised the way I was, I tend to turn to books for answers. But there were none. – Alexandra Fuller
We tend to put each other in a straitjacket so that we don’t have to grow. The most basic human impulse is toward entropy and laziness. The less we have to do to grow spiritually, the more likely we are to do it. We’ll undergo agonizingly boring, unstimulating relationships in order not to grow. And we’ll expect that of our neighbors and friends. Doing the stimulating, hard, courageous work of love requires a lot of a marriage.
I kept thinking: I can write my way out of this. Surely if I put this all on paper, I can somehow make it better. I can put words on the page, and the words will make sense of everything, and it’ll be OK. I think a lot of writers will recognize that impulse. So I wrote and had toddlers and worked part-time and woke up at 4 a.m. to write.
As a woman writer of memoir, your fear tends to be private. I’m not saying this is true of all women or of all men. But men tend to be in the public eye, and women tend to be in the private eye. And one of the most taboo things you can do is write about the private. Because that is mostly the domain of women, there’s this awful silence at worst, or euphemism at best, around what happens in marriage.
The place I finally came to—and this is very new for me—is that it’s not my job to care what people think of what I’ve written. I’m a memoirist. That’s just a part of who I am. Nobody asked Ernest Hemingway what his wives thought about his books, even though he often used them as fodder. Same with David Sedaris. People don’t challenge him on how his family feels about the work he does. People think: Oh, he’s a man, he has a voice.