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I gulp as I say this, Puritan girl that I am: I wrote this memoir, in part, for my own pleasure—and in celebration.  Writing the life, after living it, as memoirist Patricia Hampl says, is to live it twice.  It is: to swim in the pleasure of a past world, to don again an old happy, and sometimes miserable, self.  It offers a tingling comfort similar to that of discovering the shabby, long-forgotten, favorite sweater you used to wear on walks with your father in the Black Forest, or coming across an old pair of story-and-mud-encrusted shoes you wore back in Japan days.  All this, while writing my memoir, felt guilty, almost too sweet, like a stolen pleasure, an illicit gift to myself.  But for me, it was a vital way to have something to hold onto, like a still life of arranged fruit, from out of my crazy, zig-zagging childhood.  My hope, of course, was that my pleasure–and I don’t mean only happiness—if conveyed with enough lusciousness, would become the reader’s.

This pleasure-taking was, too, a kind of celebration.  I wrote to celebrate the very boon of having been given life.

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