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.
MARY KARR’S NEW BOOK, The Art of Memoir, came in the mail from her publisher with a lovely letter asking me to read it. Oooh, I thought, now this is a job perk. A free book. Nice. And then I began reading, and that definition of a lifestyle perk swelled to a genuine appreciation that it’s not just the free books, of course, but the access to really good books that make this life the one I fought hard to get. [Read more…]
WHEN I HEARD that Mardi Jo Link had another memoir out I was overjoyed. After all, her most recent book, Bootstrapper, From Broke to Badass on a Northern Michigan Farm was as much fun to read as the title promised it would be. And now we’ve got The Drummond Girls: A Story of Fierce Friendship Beyond time and Chance, and at least from where I sit (and read) all seems right with the world. I invited Mardi to write a piece about how this book came about, and the choice of writing about friends. Here it is. [Read more…]
FEW, IF ANY, THINGS MAKE ME HAPPIER than a successful memoir written by someone I like and admire. Perhaps the only thing that comes to mind is if the book is gorgeous, as well. That being the conditions for my happiness, I can only say that I am currently ecstatic to introduce to you The Dutiful Daughter’s Guide to Caregiving: A Practical Memoir by Judith Henry. Oh yeah, and it’s funny as hell. Really. Funny. About caregiving. So I asked Judith to write a piece about finding the funny in memoir. Read on. I think you’ll be glad you did.