Memoirs are going to be problematic sells for a while, though, because even if memoir means "based in memory," right now, in the collective mind, memoir means "recovery." When my agent and I started looking at small presses the possibility for my book, I realized most small presses were not publishing memoir, because they don't want to be associated with the genre that Mary Karr calls, half-facetiously, "literature's trashy cousin."

— Debra Monroe

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I guess the biggest difference between me and many of today's female graduate students is that a lot of them were raised by mothers with careers, and they got college degrees studying with female professors. Both of those factors make the enterprise of educating yourself for a serious profession seem feasible.

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Yet one new trend I do like coming from mainstream publishers right now is memoirs tied to research that explores the narrator's dilemma.

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I started writing nonfiction because nonfiction is well-suited to subjects that, if you wrote them as fiction, people would say, "I don't believe this. This is a little outlandish".

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Grading creative writing is always an ethical dilemma.

But what you brought up about grading personal stories versus the research paper is of course a truly volatile issue in teaching memoir or the personal essay, because there's no pretense that the narrator is a character.

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The advice I give is , "Don't think of your career as a plan or blueprint.

Think of it as growing toward the most light. Keep your eyes open about where the best experiences are happening." Everyone wants to see how someone else managed, defying odds.

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