this is how it feels, actually

I just read a beautiful, perceptive, honest article about how it feels to write about your own life (New York Times, Dani Shapiro). Like Shapiro I’ve written 3 or 4 memoirs (in a way) I recognise the weird experience of readers thinking they know you… the emails asking personal questions… the loneliness… and the discombobulation of not knowing whether you’ve written/spoken about something before… a snippet from Shapiro:
“Those of us who have written multiple memoirs feel surprisingly alone… Shortly after the publication of my second memoir, I was startled to realize that I had become lonely. I had been speaking a great deal: in bookstores, behind podiums, on stages. I could weave articulate, compelling answers in discussion about my books. But when it came to my life — to that soft, pulsing, internal backbeat — people had stopped asking me questions, because they thought they already had the answers…
But there is a profound difference between what a writer does alone in her room — the honing, crafting, shaping, transcending of her own personal history in order to carve out a story that is ultimately a public performance — and the human need to quietly share in the most intimate possible way, to confess, to stutter out thoughts and feelings, to be heard and understood…”