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Writing Her Own Life: Imogene Welch, Western Rural Schoolteacher
Mary Clearman Blew’s aunt Imogene Welch embodied the hard-working values of depression-era western America. In Writing Her Own Life, Blew builds a narrative around excerpts from the diaries Imogene kept during World War II while she taught in rural Montana schools and later in Washington State. Through her diary entries we learn of the war’s effects on Imogene as she moved ...more
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published June 7th 2004 by University of Oklahoma Press
(first published April 2004)
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"Nothing is produced. Nothing is made to rest in the public. Nothing is erected. Nothing gets created. The note left on the counter is thrown away, the answering machine messages are erased, gas is used to drive to the grocery store, and dinner is eaten in the space of fifteen minutes. Unlike extraordinary works - say, for example, art or philosophy - which testify to being in the world, which transcend the ordinary and the mundane, the ordinary is marked by consumption. We eat, we wear, we toss ...more
This book was a thought provoking read for me. It was not the kind of book that I simply read and enjoyed, I was learning about the tug-of-war between non-fiction and fiction. Especially in the context of writing a memoir. It was also interesting to ponder with the writer the act and purpose of diary keeping. I've been doing this since elementary school....neat to think about the purpose.
Blew's memoir about her aunt Imogene, while not an exciting read like a good shoot-em-up fiction, is a stunning use of the page nonetheless. I learned more about the memoir as a whole reading Blew, than I had in my previous reading of twenty other genre bending memoirs. For that reason alone, 5 stars.
Mary Clearman Blew is the author of the acclaimed essay collection All but the Waltz and the memoir Balsamroot. She is the editor of When Montana and I Were Young: A Memoir of a Frontier Childhood, available in a Bison Books edition. Her most recent novel, Jackalope Dreams, is also available in a Bison Books edition. She is a professor of English at the University of Idaho and has twice won the Pa ...moreMore about Mary Clearman Blew...