FINDING OUR TRUE SELVES may be one of life’s great journeys, but writing from that place is among the hardest assignments I know. How to write from your true self, and not the one you wished you were, or one who is smarter, wittier or anything else-er? I asked an expert. Let me introduce you to Michele Cushatt, whose new book is just out. [Read more…]
HOW TO BEGIN A MEMOIR rattles most writers, though perhaps none more than those who had eccentric childhoods. When growing up amid the crazy or quirky stuff of life, competing, vivid images provide a virtual funhouse of choices and can leave the writer more than a little stuck for what to write first. It’s at times like these that we should defer to an expert, and in terms of both having an eccentric childhood and being a fine writer, few people can compete with Tanya Ward Goodman. I caught up with her a few years ago, after her remarkable book, Leaving Tinkertown, was named to several best-of lists for 2013. I thought maybe it was time to revisit this interview, this being the start of a new writing year. In a word, the book is perfect. So meet — or re-meet — Tanya. She’ll get you going. [Read more…]
WRITING ADVICE IS SERIOUS BUSINESS. I know, I am a memoir coach, and I treat each of the problems of my clients as if they are my own. The truth is that we all need someone to whom to pitch our stuff, listen to our drafts and be invested in our success. That is the first thing I tell every young writer. I met Sarah Corday through my coaching business and, it turns out, I was not the only writer she listened to. She also follows the advice of the inimitable Nora Ephron, one of the truly greats, whose writing lives on despite her tragic death. My writing advice? Listen to Nora whenever you can. But right now, listen to Sarah, whose new book I just got in mail. [Read more…]
I ALWAYS THINK I’ve heard it all when it comes to writing productivity and tricking yourself, bargaining oneself, bribing oneself into it. And then I met Marita Golden, author of more than a dozen books, and I heard something entirely new: That terror could be tamed with a timer. She told be about what writing for ten minutes did for her. Okay, I said. Write it up. And she did. Let me introduce you. Marita’s newest book will be out soon, and we’ll hear from her again when its published, but right now, as spring is trying to spring and distract you in its beneficence, how about we all get a little work done?
WRITING ABOUT THE DEAD presents memoirists with a special set of problems, as well as remarkable freedom, and each writer will wrestle and debate with the ups and downs of the assignment in his or her own way and time. The one thing that is guaranteed to each of us as we write about the dead, though, is insight. It’s an undeniable, unavoidable gift that comes with time, distance, and the particular brand of reflection only writing allows.
But what to do with that insight? For instance, can you replace the judgments you once had and recast a relationship in a more healing light? Let’s ask Virginia Simpson, author of the highly-acclaimed, just-published, The Space Between, A Memoir of Mother-Daughter Love at the End of Life.
WE’VE ALL FACED THIS DILEMMA: Who to trust with our writing future? Should we go into an MFA program – residential or distance-based? – trust that we already know all we can to write good memoir, hire a coach, or simply watch TV, eat peanut butter straight out of the jar, and think about it for a few years?
I know what the writer Martha Brettschneider did, and the I know the superlative results. Let’s read along with her and celebrate her new book, Blooming Into Mindfulness.