Just Beneath My Skin

Autobiography and Self-Discovery

By Patricia Foster
(University of Georgia Press, Paperback, 9780820326887, 177pp.)

Publication Date: October 2004

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Writing about oneself, says Patricia Foster, "engages in truth but depends on the imagination, on the life just beneath the skin, a life that's impressionistic and fragile." These eleven closely linked personal essays are at once an absorbing chronicle of a life fully undertaken and a model for anyone who has contemplated self-investigation through autobiographical writing.

The book's three sections each convey a stage of Foster's journey--still ongoing--toward new levels of insight and maturity. "Inside the Girls' Room" takes us back to Foster's life in the rural South from the 1950s through the early 1970s. Here she reveals the mixed messages and stereotypes of southern womanhood by which she was raised-and from which she fled. With adulthood, Foster moves to "Inside the Writing Room," a place dotted with discoveries about autobiography as a path to creative expression and inner coherence. Finally, at the place in her life Foster calls "Inside My Skin," autobiography helps her to explore and to claim her cultural identity. Returning to her native South, she holds a writing workshop for a group composed mostly of middle-aged black women, visits a beloved maid from her childhood, and returns to old haunts as a witness to her concerns about race and class.

This gathering of lyrical essays explores the intelligent, intuitive heart of a woman struggling to claim both her identity and her place in the world.

About the Author
Patricia Foster is a true believer in the tenets of minimalism. She was once living in a world where she had to have more than she needed to feel as if she was achieving some goal or was using her earnings to show how much she had. She had the gaudiest house and the fanciest car she could afford. One day she simply came to the realization that she really was stressing herself out more than anything else when she opted to put herself in debt to get all of these things. This is what led Patricia to change and this is what led her to share her journey with others and show them that nothing is wrong with minimalism.
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