Sarah Viren on Examining the Self in Both the Past and the Present

Sarah Viren on Examining the Self in Both the Past and the Present

This week on The Maris Review , Sarah Viren joins Maris Kreizman to discuss To Name the Bigger Lie , out now from Scribner. Subscribe and download the episode , wherever you get your podcasts. Episode 212: Sarah Viren Forward 15 seconds Back 15 seconds Share Subscribe Description * from the episode: Maris Kreizman: I love that you get to talk a bunch about craft in talking about how to approach your past. And you mentioned Virginia Woolf's notion that there's a you of the past and you of the present, and those are two different people. But the thing that she doesn't address, which is such a key component of your book, is that you in the present is still changing. Sarah Viren: Yes. And I mean, that's kind of key to the book too. I was writing this about high school and I did have what felt like a static, what Woolf calls the “I now”—I am the person I am in this moment writing about the past—and there's something so safe about that, right? I'm this static constant. But what happened in the second part of the book is that something happens to myself and my partner. We were sort of thrown into what ended up feeling like a similar situation of being trapped in lies and manipulations by a completely different person. At the time it was horrifying and overwhelming, but craft-wise in thinking about the book, it really was helpful because a is an examination of the self. Vivian Gornick has this distinction where she talks about memoir and , and she says that the essays uses the self as a lens to understand the world, and that the memoir uses the world as a lens to understand the self. I think I'm doing a little of both in the book, right? I'm interested in the self, but also in the way the self helps us understand the world outside. Complicating that sense of self felt particularly rich and important within a memoir, but I think within a book like this too, […]

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