Successful life writing animates the lives of its subjects so that readers can enter into others’ experiences and live parallel lives to their own vicariously. These stories, like their siblings, invented fictional stories, predate writing and go back to the dawn of language itself. There is always a balance between established and new ways to present life writing. Familiar modes of narrative take the burden off audiences, who can rely on trusted conventions and an existing shared understanding with writers, but there is also a role for innovation. New approaches catch our attention. New ways of understanding experience and new kinds of experience require new modes of expression.
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Dr. Jo Parnell
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