Writing Coach, Teacher, Memoir Guru: Meet Linda Joy Myers »

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Video: Indie Authors Interview of Linda Joy Myers: A Mother-Daughter Saga

Interviewed by Jason Matthews and Marla Miller ***********************************************************************************************

Linda Joy Myers is a blogger on the Huffington Post 50. Her first post “How My Life Came Full Circle” has been published with a slide show of family pictures. The article tells the backstory of the journey of three generations of mothers presented in her memoir Don’t Call me Mother. Click this link to read the post.

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PRESS RELEASE

Don't Call Me MOther--new

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN TWO GENERATIONS OF MOTHERS ABANDON THEIR DAUGHTERS?

In DON’T CALL ME MOTHER, a riveting multi-generational memoir, Linda Joy Myers maps the psychological and spiritual terrain of abandonment, grief, anger, and, finally, forgiveness. When Linda Joy Myers was four years old she and her grandmother stood at a Wichita train station and watched as a Chicago-bound train sped off with her mother. From then on “Mommy” would be an intermittent visitor in Linda Joy’s life, swooping in unexpectedly only to leave her brokenhearted and bereft when more adventurous possibilities once again beckoned. Linda Joy lives with her “Gram,” and, as she discovers family in Iowa, she begins to piece together a history of abandonment that began with her beloved grandmother, who left behind a life in a small Iowa town—and her daughter—to chase sophistication and culture in Chicago and Europe. In DON’T CALL ME MOTHER: A DAUGHTER’S JOURNEY FROM ABANDONMENT TO FORGIVENESS (She Writes Press, February 2013, $16.95, paperback, 978-1938314025) Linda Joy Myers recreates her tumultuous personal and family history in evocative prose that brings to life all the complexities, the love and hate, anger and affection that carry through from one generation to the next. Originally published in 2005, the first edition of DON’T CALL ME MOTHER won several prizes, including the nonfiction prize in the Jack London Writing Contest and the Bay Area Independent Publishing Gold Medal Award. In this new edition, Myers, a therapist and teacher of memoir writing, includes an Afterword that shares how she confronted the ghosts of the past, and broke the cycle of mother-daughter strife with her daughter, Amanda, and her granddaughter Zoe Joy. Myers is available for interview. She can also write a short article or share excerpts for your publication or site. Here is just some of what she can discuss:

  • How she broke the cycle of abandonment with her own daughter;
  • The role of undiagnosed bipolar disorder in her mother, grandmother, and larger family;
  • Why she says that if women had greater opportunities and more freedom, her grandmother and mother might not have walked away from their daughters;
  • Why she believes that her mother and grandmother should be honored, despite their failings as mothers;
  • Why she idealized her family, even after so much trauma at their hands;
  • The healing power of memoir writing.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Linda Joy Myers, Ph. D., President of the National Association of Memoir Writers, & Co-President of the Women’s National Book Association, San Francisco, is the author of Don’t Call Me Mother: A Daughter’s Journey from Abandonment to Forgiveness; The Power of Memoir: How to Write Your Healing Story, and a new workbook The Journey of Memoir: The Three Stages of Memoir Writing. She co-teaches the program Write your Memoir in Six Months with Brooke Warner. She also coaches writers, and offers teleseminars and workshops nationally. Linda has won prizes for fiction, memoir and poetry, including the First Prize, Jessamyn West Fiction Contest; Finalist, San Francisco Writing Contest for Secret Music, a novel about the Kindertransport; First Prize, poetry, East of Eden Contest, and First Prize Carol Landauer Life Writing Contest. She received First Prize in the Jack London Writing Contest and the Bay Area Independent Publishing Association Gold Medal Award for the first edition of her memoir, Don’t Call Me Mother. In addition, Linda is a therapist with a private practice in Berkeley, CA.

SUGGESTED INTERVIEW QUESTIONS

1. This is the second edition of Don’t Call Me Mother. Why did you feel the need to write a follow-up to the earlier version, which was published in 2005?

2. Your mother abandoned you and your grandmother abandoned your mother. Where did they run off to and why do you think they couldn’t settle into their lives as mothers?

3. When you reached early adolescence your grandmother, who had always treated you lovingly, became verbally and physically abusive. Why do you think she changed?

4. In Don’t Call Me Mother you write movingly about the natural world and your grandmother’s farm, where you spent time as a girl. How do you think nature and your sense of connection to the earth helped you as a child?

5. Like many people you come from a dysfunctional background, but you were determined to break certain patterns with your own children. What advice do you have to people who are in the same situation?

6. Where was your father and why weren’t you sent to live with him?

7. You write that at times you saw yourself behaving like your grandmother, who was your primary caregiver, with your daughter. How so, and how were you able to break the patterns you grew up with?

8. You’re now a therapist and a teacher of memoir writing. How can writing a memoir help people to heal?

9. At one point in your childhood you were sent to live with a cousin of your mother who had children of her own. Both she and some of her kids physically abused you, and, in this latest version of Don’t Call Me Mother you talk about meeting with some of those now-adult children a few years ago. Why did you want to reconnect with them and what was it like when you did?

10. As a child you discovered that your mother has kept you a secret from the people in her new life. What impact did that have on you as a child and later as an adult?

11. You write extensively about the role forgiveness has played in your life. How can people begin that process, especially when those who have wronged them won’t acknowledge or apologize for their behavior?

12. How do you think writing this book changed you?

PRAISE

“The new afterword pulls back the veil and lays bare the actual healing power of memoir. Poignant, visceral, and triumphant, this new section left me shaken and stunned with its raw beauty. As a reader, I felt I was witnessing transformation.”

—Kathleen Adams LPC, Author, Journal to the Self and Scribing the Soul Director, Center for Journal Therapy and Therapeutic Writing Institute

“In this new edition of her memoir, Linda Joy Myers illustrates just how powerful the combination of memory confronted, forgiveness offered, and new love expressed, can be. What I admire most about this book is the way the author takes you to her most sustaining love — the prairie land of the Midwest — and concludes her story as a return to that place where forgiveness becomes “a feather on my heart, as natural as the plains wind.” –Shirley Showalter, former president of Goshen College, author of the blog I Have a Story

“With poetically visceral prose, Linda Joy Myers tells of her relentless work to emerge from an abandoned and abused child to a forgiving and loving daughter, mother, and grandmother. This must-read memoir brings her raw dark secrets to life. I couldn’t tear myself away.” –Madeline Sharples, author of Leaving the Hall Light On

“Don’t Call Me Mother takes me deep inside the mind of a young girl who has been spurned by that most important person in her life, her own mother. Without a guide to help her develop into a woman, Linda Joy is forced into a vulnerable, innovative search for dignity and survival that is at the heart of every hero’s tale.” —Jerry Waxler, M.S., founder of the Memory Writers Network, author of Memoir Revolution, and Four Elements for Writers

“Linda Joy Myers eloquently renders the details of her past in this transformative memoir, allowing all of us to find redemption through her honest courage. For anyone yearning for self-discovery, Don’t Call Me Mother serves as a compelling guide on a journey to wholeness. I loved the book.” —Michele Weldon, assistant professor, Northwestern University and author of I Closed My Eyes, and Writing to Save Your Life.

“Myers is courageous and persevering in this story about the primal pain of mother abandonment.” —Tristine Rainer, author of Your Life as Story: Discovering the New Autobiography and director of the Center for Autobiographic Studies

“This is powerful stuff, insightful, detailed, layered, emotional without being manipulative, insightful without being indulgent. It’s a wonderful read, a marvelous examination of life and its inevitable conclusion. I loved it.” —James Dalessandro, author of 1906

“With unerring honesty and painstaking detail, Linda explores and re-experiences her family’s many generations of loss and grief, and in the process frees herself from her history and uncovers her deep ability to love.” —Elizabeth Fishel, author of Sisters and Reunion: The Girls We Used To Be, the Women We Became, co-editor Wednesday Morning Writers

“Could you still love your mother, even if she left you? In this gut-wrenching, poetic memoir, Linda Joy Myers explores three generations of maternal abandonment in her family—and movingly explores her own quest to break the chain.” —Melanie Rigney, former Writers Digest editor

BOOK INFO

Don’t Call Me Mother: A Daughter’s Journey from Abandonment to Forgiveness, 2nd Ed., February 2013 She Writes Press, Paperback $16.95, 380 pages ISBN-10: 1938314026 ISBN-13: 978-1938314025

PRESS CONTACT Lorna Garano 510-280-5397 lornagarano@gmail.com