Power of Memoir

  We all have stories, as humans we are made of stories. I was eight years old the first time I realized this was true for all of us. I was lying on a feather bed beside my great-grandmother Blanche for the first time. She bewitched me with the stories from her life, the 19th century when she was a midwife, made bread, kept a garden, milked the cows, and fired up her wood cook stove every day, winter and summer. She raised seven children, including the grandmother who was raising me. She was a great ship of a woman lying in that bed, lispingRead More →

Writing a memoir is a powerful act. That is why my book is called The Power of Memoir. The act of remembering, writing, and exploring the deepest reaches of the heart takes courage, and it will change you. Writing a memoir is a way to value yourself and your story, to honor those you have loved and who have loved you. It’s a way to heal, to come to terms with your life, and to leave a tale that others can appreciate. Most memoir writers struggle with reasons for writing their memoir. Their inner critic pops up with, “What a waste of time, who wouldRead More →

    When you are writing a memoir, your childhood comes to life, along with the stories of your family. As the narrator, you shape the story through your own experience, and tell the truth about your life as you experienced it. Most people grow up thinking that our family and childhood was “just the way it was.” Until we share our stories, and learn about the lives of others, we don’t know about the different ways that families live and the challenges that everyone faces. We begin our writing from an internal and subjective place, but when we share our stories in writing groupsRead More →

When you write a memoir, you take on the task of exploring your life and being willing to write with truth and honesty. Writing a memoir is a journey that leads us away from known territory into the unknown and unexplored parts of our lives. We need a map to guide us as we write so we can find our themes and the moments that have meaning, moments that shaped us into who we are. Courage First Being a memoirist is to encounter your brave self. I liken the courage to write a memoir as similar to the pioneers my great-grandmother Blanche would tell meRead More →

It’s always exciting to talk with an author you’ve admired for many years.  Louise DeSalvo is the author of five memoirs, a scholarly book about Virginia Woolf, Writing as Way of Healing and several other books that explore the lives and works of literary giants like Henry Miller and D. H. Lawrence. This year The Art of Slow Writing was published, and now a new memoir was just released last month Chasing Ghosts—Memoir of a Father Gone to War. Throughout our lives, there are writers who make us reach—to think and reflect in new ways, who teach us something brand new or offer a perspectiveRead More →

Do you love movies? To me, there’s nothing so satisfying as sitting down to immerse myself in a new story. The first few moments need to capture my attention so I can’t look away. I make sure my tea is nearby, and that my kitties are ready to settle down on my lap. Once the kitties are there, I won’t be getting up for at least an hour or more as the story weaves its magic around me. It grabs me with a scene, in a moment where I’m drawn into a world not my own. I’m inside the scene, inside the beginning moments ofRead More →

I’ve been teary today as I watched the crowd gather at the Supreme Court, as I watched people celebrate all over the United States, as I listened to President Obama speak about this momentous day where the law finally affirms full respect of LGBT people. I find myself thinking of Don and Bruce, and the other boys I knew in the years I was in the arts—music, musicals, the theater. I write this post in honor of the sensitive and lovely boys I knew as a young girl in Oklahoma—the boys who played music, loved ballet, and beamed sweet smiles. They were boys who wereRead More →

  This is “Mental Health Week.” It amazes and pleases me to see that there is a week set aside in our culture where we’re invited to celebrate health of the mind. In contrast to the fifties when I grew up, nowadays we’re informed about things that previously could not be named: depression, bi-polar illness, anxiety, and PTSD among others. PTSD is a condition that only recently has been given a name and treatment plan in the diagnostic manual used by therapists and doctors. Having grown up in an atmosphere of extreme shame and silence, with only the term “eccentric” to apply to the extremeRead More →