Linda Joy Myers, Ph.D. is the founder and president of the National Association of Memoir Writers and the author of The Power of Memoir–How to Write Your Healing Story and Journey of Memoir. Her memoir Don’t Call Me Mother–A Daughter’s Journey from Abandonment to Forgiveness is a ForeWord Book of the Year finalist, and won honorable mention in the New York Book Awards and Indie-Excellence contest.
Her new memoir Song of the Plains–A Memoir of Family, Secrets, and Silence will be released by She Writes Press in June.
Linda has been a therapist in Berkeley for thirty-eight years, and combines her background in art, clinical work, and writing in her work. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Mills College, and offers memoir workshops and trainings in the Bay Area and nationally. She is former president of the California Writers Club, Marin branch, and a member of Women’s National Book Association. Myers is an award-winning fiction, poetry, and non-fiction writer. Her first book Becoming Whole: Writing Your Healing Story was a ForeWord Book of the Year finalist.
Linda teaches the course Write Your Memoir in Six Months with Brooke Warner, and is the co-author with Brooke on the book Breaking Ground, Craft and Motivation for Memoir Writers and The Magic of Memoir.
Linda’s autobiographical work began with paintings and collages of family photos to uncover the history of her family, the separation from her parents early in life and the sense of loss. Her autobiographical poems captured moments of meaning in childhood with her great-grandmother Blanche on a farm in Iowa, her mother coming and going on the train, and how music created connection and healing. Through working with those media, she realized she needed to write what went beyond images and paintings.
A prose work demanded that she confront the full story of her mother’s abandonment and her mother’s own history of being abandoned. Linda’s memoir took nearly a decade to write–she was researching family history and living through the legacies of her past, and coming to terms with giving herself permission to write her truth.
Because of her journey through memoir writing and her experience teaching for over fifteen years, Linda understands the challenges writers face.
Linda’s Philosophy About Memoir Writing
On my book tours and in workshops, I enjoy meeting people who are passionate about capturing the stories of their lives. Writing a memoir is an act of faith and learning. Writers who tell a personal story feel exposed and vulnerable, but in that rich mud of family history, there are many opportunities for creativity, healing, and connecting with the world of art, literature, and the life stories that link us all.
Most people who write memoir are searching for memories that validate their experience, but they worry about writing the truth. A memoir is not a factual recitation of history, it’s a recollection, a musing and merging of images, dreams, reflections about your life journey.
An important ingredient in writing a memoir is motivation–a passionate reason to get your story on the page, that “fire in the belly” feeling–what you have to say is important and significant. You may want to create a family legacy or heal the past.Your story might inspire others to live life differently.
Dr. James Pennebaker, a famous researcher on the topic of writing as healing, says that stories are a “way of knowledge,” a new kind of knowledge that you uncover as you write your story.
Writing a memoir means exploring meaning and the universal themes that connect your story with the challenges we all face. To do this, you need to combine craft with an ever deepening emotional process. Find workshops, mentors, and writing buddies to help support you in this meaningful and thrilling journey of writing a memoir! Please let me know if I can help you.