now browsing by category
Each time I sit down to write a memoir essay or work on my book I have to fight off the Critic Dragon screaming, “Who cares about your piddly life?” If you are a memoir writer, or considering writing a memoir, you may have the same Critic Dragon breathing fire at your keyboard.
Guess what? Even though your life experience may seem unique, many others are going through similar experiences and challenges. Your perspective just may help them get through it.
“But there are already so many books about (abuse, divorce, trauma, recovery—whatever).”
Remember this: No one has written about the experience the way you will. … Read more
It is actually surreal. Last year at this time I was recovering from major surgery and reading the news of books being awarded the IPPY in New York City just prior to the Book Expo. My book had just come out, and I had missed some opportunities to promote it because of illness. Winning an award was the farthest thing from my mind. But, how cool would it be to be with all those writers in a room celebrating an accomplishment like that?
I can’t help thinking back to when I was deep in the quagmire of finding my way through writing Replacement Child.… Read more
When I began writing my memoir, Replacement Child, I struggled to find the right voice for the story. I experimented with a child’s voice; then explored it through my mother’s eyes, my sister’s and most revealing to me, my father’s viewpoint. At the time, I felt like I was spinning my wheels and wasting precious time. But, looking back, none of that writing was wasted, even though most never found its way into the final version of the book. All of it was necessary to help me discover the style that I felt best relayed my story.
If you think of voice as it pertains to other art forms, it’s what sets the artist apart from others.… Read more
Recently, I had a discussion with my friend Linda Joy Myers, President of the National Association of Memoir Writers, about how writing our memoirs had given us both new perspectives on our relationships with our mothers. Ours were very different journeys, but what resonated in our discussion was how the writing brought clarity, understanding and forgiveness. We thought we would try to capture that conversation here in honor of Mother’s Day.
Some of us get to know our mothers better after they have passed from this life, through writing about them. It can be one of the benefits of writing a memoir, that we gain a unique insight from mining our life experience through a writerly lens.
Writing, by necessity, makes us take notice of the details surrounding an event or a meaningful moment in our lives. Sometimes the writing helps us see the significance in a conversation, or the scar left by a parent’s action or inaction. This was certainly the case as I wrote the chapters for my memoir Replacement Child.… Read more
The following is the text of my essay that recently appeared in The Southampton Review. You can order this fantastic literary journal at thesouthamptonreview.com. It looks much prettier in the publication!
My Sister’s Voice
In the end I only wanted to hear my sister’s voice one more time.
They’d found a cancerous tumor lodged in her airway. I was grateful I had spoken to her on the phone just before they intubated her; the tube down her throat bringing life saving air to her lungs but not allowing her to speak. Linda was in Florida and I in Connecticut, but the fear in her voice cut across the miles.… Read more
Kennett Love had an illustrious career as a foreign correspondent for the New York Times. Among other milestones, he covered pivotal events in the Middle East in the 50’s during the beginnings of the cold war. He was in Tehran in 1953 when the CIA successfully overthrew Iran’s prime minister, Mohammed Mossadegh, replacing him with Gen. Fazlollah Zahedi who was a loyalist to Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi and who also had close ties to the US. His reporting may have played a part in the coup.
But when I read of Kennett Love’s death this past weekend, at 88, I thought of his story about the American Airlines commuter plane that crashed into my family’s home, killing my sister.… Read more