Adding to my to-read list: Tracy K. Smith’s memoir “Ordinary Light.”
I read her post on Literary Hub “What Memoir Can Do That Poetry Can’t” and adored some of her phrases.
It is true that death resists the present tense.
But memory does death one better. Ignores the future.
No matter how clear and present these scenes from my life might have felt, I wasn’t looking at film takes or photographs of another time, but rather glimpsing that time through the lens of memory. A lens that is warped, riddled with dark spots, supremely susceptible to error. A lens shaped by habit, guided even only imperceptibly by the desire to see or not to see, a lens that is an extension of, in this case, me. A lens, I decided to admit, that it is as much a character in the story as any of the real people talking and eating and moving their way through scenes—which is why memoir, for all its sincere interest in the truth, is something we read as literature and not history. . . . Memory, making sense of the past by fashioning the past into something that finally makes sense.