Category Archives: Memoir Monday

Words Matter and Tone Counts

Word choice is everything.

Heuristics, Humor & a Heretic

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My uncle was a well-respected Principal of a College who had some serious differences on matters of Principle with the Correspondent of the College.  As a result he had been removed from his post illegally by the afore mentioned gentleman (to use a polite term, my family had more choice names for him).  We were at lunch as a family and like good tam-brams sitting on the floor and eating our sambar, vegetable and rice while my uncle was venting like billy yo. The incident was a new piece of perfidy perpetrated by this gentleman and my uncle was holding forth on the specific and special qualities of his favorite nemesis. To some diatribe of my uncle’s against the venerable party of the other part, I unthinkingly responded “I suppose you are right”. This was my fancy way of saying I agreed with him. But I was taken aback when…

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This Is Just My Face: Try Not to Stare

thenovelgirlreads

This is just my face coverAuthor: Gabourey Sidibe

Genre: Memoir

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Pages: 256

 

Gabourey Sidibe got her big break starring in the title role as Precious in the film Precious, based on the novel Push by Sapphire. Since then, she has gone on to several other roles on television shows such as American Horror Story, and most recently, Empire. She certainly didn’t start out as a star, though. Gabby, as she is known to her fans, came from humble beginnings in Brooklyn. The daughter of a polygamous, African immigrant father and a mother who began as a teacher (and then went on to support her children by becoming a subway singer), Gabby sis not exactly have it easy growing up. Once on her own, it was not exactly any easier. Case in point: When she was discovered, Gabby was working at a phone sex talking company.

This memoir…

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Writing a memoir: what are the benefits?

Lyn Alderson

woman-41201_1280Should you write a memoir, and what are the benefits of such a project?

I’ve been thinking this through while ghost writing two very different memoirs for ladies who both have fascinating stories.

These women are inspirational characters who have given a lot to other people, and they both have great insights: the world needs to hear what they have to say.

So think about whether you have a great story that will benefit others when they read it. You don’t need to be famous or wealthy, although you might be. But you do need an eventful life story, one that involves overcoming challenges, or triumphing over adversity.

The best and the worst memoirs

In the best memoirs I’ve read, people have reflected on- and owned up to- their mistakes as human beings and found a positive way forward despite what life has thrown at them. The worst memoirs are the…

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Puzzles, Writing and the Human Mind

Pearl S. Buck Writing Center

By Anne K. Kaler

Puzzle DoneIt is finished. The puzzle, that is. The writing is never finished.

The writing is truly never finished, never polished enough, never edited sufficiently because the story never fully ends in my mind. The characters and events continue to exist in my internal universe. I am never satisfied because I feel as if I have abandoned my created children on an alien planet without a working spaceship.

That’s why I do puzzles when I write. I need the constant encouragement that there is an end in sight — that there actually is a last puzzle piece to plunk into place, the only place in the material universe that it will fit.

So why do I persist in both endeavors?

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How to establish plot points in your memoir

Monica Lee

blogging-bonanza-bugAs we work our way through the month-long blogging bonanza celebrating the launch on March 28 of Truth, Dare, Double Dare, Promise or Repeat: On Finding the Meaning of “Like” in 1982, we’ll begin each week with Structure Sunday where I’ll share some important elements to consider when writing a memoir. Today, I’m examining how to structure your story.

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Absence doesn’t make the story grow fonder when it comes to writing.

In the middle of writing Truth, Dare, Double Dare, Promise or Repeat: On Finding the Meaning of “Like” in 1982 (literally, the middle — I had 34,000 words on paper), I got stuck. I didn’t know where I was going, and I was losing track of where I had been.

How does a writer get back into a half-finished work and make sense of it?

For me, it was an outline. Some writers like to free-write without…

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Digging Deep for Meaning in Memoirs

The Accidental Writer

If my memoirs were only a capture of the facts and events as they’ve happened, I’d be able to publish one on my books this year and likely the other one next year.

But writing memoir is not about just chronicling facts and events. Writing memoir is about recalling and interpreting facts and events into something meaningful.

Yes, the events of our lives happened. BUT WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

“What it means” is the whole point of writing memoir. For many of us who write or read memoirs, it is what drives us to write our own and to voraciously read someone else’s. We don’t want to regurgitate the facts or read someone else’s regurgitated facts. We want to piece together the clues of our own lives and determine what it all means. We want to read someone else’s clues and see what they believe it all means compared…

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Remembrance in Memoir: What Does It Take?

Diane Taylor

Dear Steve,

I’m really glad you asked this question in my memoir writing workshop last week:

         “What three qualities do people who complete their memoir have?”

Since then, I’ve consulted two authors of published memoirs who sent me their three qualities. Then, I came up with four. All in all, we now have ten personal qualities that help lead to a completed memoir.

Ronald Mackay, author of A Scotsman Abroad http://editura.mttlc.ro/ronald-mackay-scotsman-abroad.html (about a two-year period of his life in Romania, and published on line by the University of Bucharest in 2016) sent me these:

“Be daring”: I found I needed to ‘screw my courage to the sticking place’ just to overcome self-doubt and the fear of appearing self-indulgent by writing about my own life.

“Avoid temptation”: When I worked in Bucharest, I was a ‘babe-in-the-woods’. Nevertheless, I decided to write from that ingenuous perspective and not as…

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Levels of Crazy

Exclusive Inflictions

It never ceases to amaze me
How many levels there are to crazy
When you stand back and look
You realize it’s not a fictional book

Memoirs at fingertips, waiting
All the while I’m here anticipating
The backlash that has me debating
If the truth is even worth saying

The Who, when, where and why
Changed to protect innocent lives
From the incriminating evidence
To keep from being that elephant

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