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8 Nov 6:02am

Michelle Tea: ‘Memoir writing is a very selfish act. There’s wreckage behind me’

The Guardian
She survived childhood trauma and alcoholism to flourish as a queer, feminist and punk writer. Now blissfully married to her ‘husband-wife’, she reflects on telling all When the author Michelle Tea began writing in her early 20s, it was, she says, entirely compulsive. She had come through a series of traumatic experiences including the discovery that her stepfather had drilled a hole in the wall of her bedroom in Chelsea, Massachusetts, in order to spy on her, and what she calls her “lesbian feminist nervous breakdown”, a sexual and ideological awakening that she laughs about now but at the time she found “overwhelming”. Ten years later, Tea read an essay in the New Yorker about the Harvard neuroscientist Alice Flaherty’s experiences of hypergraphia following a miscarriage, meaning she was possessed with the need to write her story. “Reading this experience of what it felt in her body to have this deep desire to write, and have it be so personal, I was, like: ‘Yes! That’s what it feels like for me’,” she recalls over coffee and cake in a London cafe. Tea is smartly dressed in orange trousers and a black turtleneck; her countercultural roots are just about detectable in the tattoos that curl around her wrists and hands. She is on the last leg of her UK tour during which she has been reading from
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