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 award winning memoir Song of the Plains–A Memoir of Family, Secrets, and Silence was published by She Writes Press.
Linda has been a therapist in Berkeley for forty-two 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’s the 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 explored the emptiness of loss. Her autobiographical poems captured moments of meaning in childhood with her great-grandmother Blanche on a farm in Iowa, and her mother’s visits each year by train. The theme of music and the love and care from strangers created connection and helped her create a positive life. Through working with other creative 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 courage. 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 often 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 a life.
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 well-known researcher on the topic of writing as healing, says that stories are a “way of knowledge.” You develop a new kind of knowledge as you write your story.