Memory and Imagination within Human Experience
Tony Earley delves into his own memories in his book, Somehow Form a Family. In the introduction, he instructs the reader on the purpose of narrative form, defines a personal essay, and reveals the true nature of creative nonfiction. In the ten essays that follow, he provides sketches of the events and people who shaped his life. Earley focuses on a different bit of common ground in each story, giving his readers everything they need to know within a relatively short span of pages.
The uses of discernable facts, such as actual places, names, past events and past conversations, add elements of authenticity to Earley’s writings. From the Blue Ridge Mountains to the name Bill Ledbetter, to the numerous shows he watched throughout his adolescence, Earley presents these facts to the reader in order to tether the woven script to a tangible source. He repeats these facts over and over within each story, reflecting ag...