An Intricate Dance. "Whatever the Gods Do: A Memoir" by Patti Miller. [review]

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Tuffield, Aviva
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Australian Book Review
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The intricate patterns woven into these descriptions of human interactions do serve to highlight the banality of some of Miller's reflections, dreams and her singing lessons, which she has chosen to bear the symbolic weight of this book. Tuffield suspects that Miller has learnt some of her "Writing Your Life" lessons too well. In this manual, she emphasises the importance of symbolic imagery as a key to memory, recommending free association across random memories. Moreover, while her writing handbook recognises the importance of structure, she advises: 'Structure created before the fact of writing is artificial and limiting … I like to leave a discussion of structure until plenty of writing has been done.' These comments provide insight into the failings of "Whatever": Miller has followed her tips for sparking the fuse of memory and stimulating the flow of writing, but life-writing still requires crafting, sifting and artful re-membering before publication.
Book review, Memoirs
Tuffield, Aviva 2003. An Intricate Dance. Review of "Whatever the Gods Do: A Memoir" by Patti Miller. 'Australian Book Review', No 251, May, 42.