In Conversation with Elizabeth Kadetsky

Re’Lynn Hansen in Punctuate:

The Memory Eaters is told in the context of 1970s and 1980s New York City. The memoir moves from her parents’ divorce to her mother’s career as a Seventh Avenue fashion model and from her sister’s addiction and homelessness to her own experiences with therapy for post- traumatic stress disorder. The Memory Eaters is about  consciousness fractured by addiction and dementia, and a compulsion for the past salved by nostalgia. More can be found at

Punctuate: In your opening chapters of your memoir you celebrate your mother as a great watcher: “We watched people. My mother was fascinated by the common place. That what you saw in Vogue happened first on the streets of New York.”  You connect watching with a learning style, stating how you and your mother deconstructed the “why” of the look. You write so well of these moments of watching. Can you speak to the connection of watching to memoir writing?

Elizabeth Kadetsky: Coming of age in the 1970s, I was exposed, through my mother, to a lot of what you might call groovy spirituality that enshrined this idea that you would find truth if you just relaxed your brain enough to let it come to you. This was the thinking behind the versions of so many of the trendy ideologies that we adopted: I Ching, astrology, Ouija Board, palm reading. I don’t think that we believed in the magic of any of these systems in the least. The idea was that these were all tools that helped you get more in tune with your subconscious. So, my mother’s ideas about “watching” definitely came out of that, that there was a sort of divine intelligence that you could tap into through paying close attention in both dream and waking life. It’s funny because when I think about it now I see the pitfalls of this mindset, especially for the writer.

More here.