The only answer that feels true (I said feels, not is) is that yes, the character Minnie is me, but she is not me. She is a projection of some tumult which originates within me, but she is not me. I use elements of myself, including my likeness, for the character, perhaps as Cindy Sherman uses herself in her work, but like Sherman’s photographs, the work itself is not any more about the creator than it is about everyone. I won’t deny that Minnie does things I have done, and that things happen to her that have happened to me, but she, unlike me, having been created, is who she is and will remain so, unchanged now. I make no attempt to create “documentary.” There is a process of dissociation that takes place when I make a story, I make creative decisions in a fugue state that I could hardly describe to you, but the end result is, I hope, a story with some meaning or resonance, something created, with a beginning, a middle and an end, an encapsulation of feeling and impression, but in no way a documentary of anything other than an “emotional truth.”
If I told most interviewers that my work is “true” and that it is based on real events that occurred in my life, they would more readily accept this than they do the explanation I try to give. Sadly, what they would believe feels to me like a lie and a simplification of a process that is for me as complex and vague as life itself …"
— Someone I follow somewhere (sorry) linked to this interview with Phoebe Gloeckner last week. The way Gloeckner defends her right not to be straightforwardly autobiographical or straightforwardly fictional — and how strenuously she is forced to do so by this interviewer — is fascinating, a little excruciating to read. I was reminded that Diary of a Teenage Girl is a masterpiece of whatever we are calling the genre that I’m always talking about.