The peril of autobiography is that we may read our own life stories as if they were historically true, conveying to ourselves an image of wholeness and completion that we never had, screening from view what we don't want to see. Conversely, the value of autobiography emerges when we read it instead as a kind of action, taking place at the moment of writing, responding to the complex play of our desires, always changing, always incomplete.

This essay was presented as part of the Rycenga Lecture Series at Sacred Heart University on March 19, 1991. The complete text of the lecture and the discussion that followed are printed herein, with questions italicized.



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