What is the Truth in Memoir | Can We Really Capture It? | Tune in to Find out

At the NAMW Telesummit Friday starting at 10 AM PDT, I get to talk with several fantastic authors and teachers. Their books have shaped my thinking toward more creative choices, and pushed me toward using language to carve out even deeper truths. The experts I get to hang out with are Jennifer Lauck, author of Blackbird and three other amazing and deep memoirs, including her last book Found. Dinty W. Moore’s collection of memoir essays Between Panic and Desire show us how we can weave small pieces into a memoir, while Robin Hemley’s Nola is another kind of weaving that examines the nature of memory and the sources of “truth” –whatever that is. The topic of the Telesummit is Truth or Lie: On the Cusp of Memoir and Fiction, and also features a panel of young memoirists who couldn’t wait for people to die before they wrote about their lives! And the best news: it’s FREE to everyone. Just sign up at the link below.

Robin’s memoir asks: whose version of “truth” is “real.” Can we trust memory, or do we create our story based on emotional need or unconscious beliefs?

Quotes from Nola:

How can one be objective about one’s family? How can one resist the urge to edit, to become the family spin doctor?

…There is no real past, it’s all a daydream is seems, or an endless series of clues and discoveries…

…everyone’s life is a kind of detective story, every clue of our forebears’ lives, every decision, missed opportunity…are part of the solution to our own existence.

To read more about the Telesummit, go to the National Association of Memoir Writers to sign up. You will receive a link to the downloadable audio after the conference is over.

Robin will talk about “The Trouble with the Truth,” which is the troubling and challenging issue for all memoir and nonfiction writers. His introduction to the teleconference:

Any time we set down to write the truth of our lives we have to face the fact that there is no single truth to our lives.  To make matters more complex we’re different people at different times in our lives and we show different faces to different people.  The portrayal of an “authentic” self is something most memoir writers strive for, but there are always details we omit or exaggerate or forget, or hidden agendas even we aren’t aware of as we’re writing.  While we don’t want to lie, we also have to understand that what we aspire to write is closer to art than a court room transcript.  It’s not all about content.  There are aesthetic concerns as well.  Above all, you have to remember that once an event has passed, it’s gone forever and words can’t recreate the event.  They can only create a semblance of the event. 

We’re so lucky to be able to meet with people you normally have to pay hundreds of dollars to see, so join us for Free! See you there!

Memoir: Journey of Truth, Craft, and Commitment


Memoir writing is really hot news day today on the internet, which makes me very happy! Writing well is a journey, and we need our mentors, guides, and wise wizards to guide us.  Every day there is something new to learn, and wisdom bits from writers that spur us on our way.

Today in “Pubmission,” a blog on the writing life and publishing innovations, Dinty Moore, one of our guests at the National Association of Memoir Writers free all day conference, talks about the journey to become a writer and how publishing on the internet has changed the writer’s focus. He is the editor-in-chief of the online magazine Brevity– a “journal of concise literary nonfiction”—which accepts works of up to 750 words.

Dinty guides students at the University of Ohio through the process of learning how to write, how to find their voice and learn to craft their work. He tells the interviewer at Pubmission Megan Lobsinger, one of his former students, that he urges his students to spend 90% of their time perfecting their writing and 10% on publishing concerns. Rightly so—the craft of writing is its own long term project, a lifelong learning that weaves tapestries of art, memory, creativity, and even frustration with the craft itself. It’s a process, a journey.

Dinty says, “I try to urge my writers to obsess about the craft of writing: how does the engine of narrative work? Writing is an art form, and thus some part of it remains a glorious mystery, but at the same time, there is much to be learned from trial and error, and much to be learned from careful consideration of the choices other writers have made.”

Having read two of Dinty Moore’s books—Between Panic and Desire, and The Truth of the Matter: Art and Craft of Creative Nonfiction, I want to tell everyone that we are in for a treat at the NAMW tele-conference. I look forward to speaking directly with Dinty on the subject of art, craft, memoir, and truth.

Please join me for a great day learning about how to write truth, whether it’s in memoir or fiction. When you sign up for the free Telesummit, you will receive an audio of the whole day’s presentations, which include Robin Hemley, Jennifer Lauck and a panel of young memoirists. Tell your friends!

 Sing up here to receive the day long conference and free audios! http://www.namw.org/teleseminars/national-association-of-memoir-writers-announces-guest-speakers-for-fall-2011-day-long-memoir-writing-teleconference