Can writers of autobiography avoid writing fiction about themselves?
"No, I don’t think they can, because as soon as you change something from life to language, you’re changing it. You’re changing it in this ineluctable way. It isn’t the same. It’s something different. And when you put it into language. Even if memory didn’t distort, which memory does, you’re still changing it. You can’t help it. I mean with all the commitment to documentary realism and truth in the world, you still can’t help it because you’re creating your own voice on a page. I mean, it’s not fiction, but it’s still a creation. The voice. You write a memoir, and I write a memoir. Your voice is a creation on the page. My voice is a creation on the page. And it’s as true as I can make it, and it represents me as if I’m going to be honest, as truly as I can represent myself. But it’s still a structure, something I’ve invented to be me. I’ve written this style, I’ve written this sensibility, this way of thinking and I’m saying, okay, for all purposes here in the memoir, this is me. This voice you’re hearing is me. There’s always artifice there."
– American novelist Robert Stone
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What’s wrong with autobiography, for you?
"I really stay away from autobiography, partly because I’ve always thought that one of the uses of fiction — outside of its more important functions — is the possibility of escape. Escaping from yourself is one of the purposes of fiction for me. So I really haven’t been directly or even too indirectly autobiographical."
From a 1997 Salon interview>>