Writing memoir is a way to figure out who you used to be and how you got to be who you are. Still, as Raymond Carver once said, “What good is insight? It only makes things worse.” Why dredge up a lot of dusty memories? Why remind yourself that the old days will never come back? Why remind yourself of your own mortality? (The word memory comes from the same root as the word mourn, and that should tell you something.) You will find there are many reasons to go look in the icebox, or turn on the television, or reread Middlemarch. But pay attention to the little voice that whispers, “This part was interesting.” Pay attention to everything.
–Abigail Thomas, Thinking About Memoir