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The Truth about Myself

Rosanne Cash, author of the acclaimed memoir Composed, is almost as well known these days, it seems, for her TwitterFeed as for her songs. I would never trade the tweets for the songs, not in a million years, but I took notice today when Ms. Cash tweeted:

If you will please go to a bookstore, do some guerilla marketing for me & front load my memoir, I will send you each a pony. #Thanks

I don’t get out to bookstores as often as I’d like these days, but I admit I have been known to rearrange shelves to favor books and authors that I’m enthusiastic about. I don’t need a pony, but here’s a link to Composed, now out in paperback, and a little sample to get you started.


The word “contrition” comes from the Latin word for “bruise” or “grind,” a derivation that makes perfect sense to me as a former Catholic. Something in the drone and rhythm of the Act of Contrition—“Through my fault, through my most grievous fault . . . ,” which I said to a man behind a screen in a dark confessional booth for so many years—was uniquely compelling. It took me many years to realize it wasn’t my fault, or even my grievous fault, however much I was drawn in by the swing of the words and the safe intimacy of confession. What all those anxiously droned Acts of Contrition chiefly accomplished was to break me down, bruising my sense of self permanently. Or so I thought. In any case, they had the immediate effect of making me withdraw from the truth about myself for a very long time. The truth about me, as it turned out, was unacceptable not only to Catholicism but to adults in general. The truth about me was not meant to fit into the system of convent school, religion, contrition, or punition. None of that mattered. I was a writer. It would save me. (page 59, hardcover edition)

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