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Applying the Tools of Memoir to Fiction - Mary Karr and Jeff Zentner's The Serpent King

In The Art of Memoir, Mary Karr writes of the need to burrow deeply into the writer’s psyche, to dig beneath the surface of how we want to appear to write with an authentic voice. “The author of a lasting memoir manages to power past the initial defenses, digging past the false self to where the truer one waits to tell the more complicated story” (102). Karr also stresses the carnal connection in writing: the sensory moment that joins the writer and reader at a psychic or neurological level. “Getting sophisticated about carnal writing means selecting sensual data—items, odors, sounds—to recount details based on their psychological effects on a reader” (72). Even when we’re not writing a per

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