Charmaine Chan

The Moment Edited

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 22 January, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 22 January, 2012, 12:00am

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The Moment Edited
by Larry Smith
Harper Perennial
(e-book)

'Sure hope you become a writer.' Those words, by a teacher appraising an essay Dave Eggers wrote in high school, convinced Eggers he should follow a literary career. 'Mr Criche' is, naturally, named after the teacher who, in remarking on his student's talent, changed his life. Many other poignant memories fill The Moment, which took shape with a magazine whose premise was: 'Everyone has a story, and everyone should have a place to tell it.' Not every tale appears as life-changing as they were for their authors, but enough show the project was worth the effort by the 125 writers and artists who contributed. Experiencing a 'flashover' during a fire, when the air exploded into flame, was then-firefighter Caroline Paul's defining moment; for Diane Ackerman it was seeing her husband, also a word maven, lose his tremendous faculty for English after a stroke. One of the strongest pieces is by Adam Theron-Lee Rensch, who tells how his father fell and hit his head on a coffee table the author had moved to a corner. Readers will chill at the confession: 'I accidentally killed my father.'