Personal Space: Maggie Smith on Her Shift in Artistic Practice
The Author of Keep Moving Talks to Sari Botton
On this episode of Personal Space: The Memoir Show, Sari Botton interviews Maggie Smith, whose inspirational memoir, Keep Moving: Notes on Loss, Creativity, and Change, is published by Atria/One Signal Publishers. In the book, Smith intersperses bits of memoir — about moving forward after divorce, and other very personal shifts — among motivational bits from her popular Twitter feed. Please consider purchasing the book from your local bookstore, or through Bookshop.
From the episode:
Sari Botton: Your willingness to share your own story, and your vulnerability, makes all your suggestions to readers seem more relatable — and very doable, because you are doing them. Has it been at all difficult to reveal some of what you do in the book?
Maggie Smith: To be honest, the shift from writing poems to writing essays from a craft perspective has been really lovely. Because I have more space in prose. I can kind of stretch my legs and explain and give backstory, and do things that would frankly would kind of ruin a small, lyric poem.
But the shift from having that sort of aesthetic distance, or the illusion of that kind of aesthetic distance between the speaker of the poem and me the person — I didn’t realize how much I loved that shelter until I didn’t have it anymore. Writing, even tweeting because you’re tweeting as yourself — writing anything where the I is just me, the person you see walking her dog, or going to the grocery store — that has been a real shift. And it does feel different to share an essay in which I talk about myself, and my actual life, and my actual kids, and my actual partner. There are no layers of metaphor or imagery that would cover me in those instances, and it’s been a learning experience for sure.