Magical Memoir Moments

The Blessed Ties of Memoir: And A Chance at TWO Book Giveaways

Dairy maids don’t often make it into literature. A.A. Milne placed one in a poem about the King’s breakfast. And Thomas Hardy wrote The Milkmaid about a young woman disappointed in love. My favorite meditation on Vermeer’s The Milkmaid is this one by Marilyn Chandler McEntyre’s book In Quiet Light. It starts this way: There…

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How a Romantic Getaway Led Me to An Ideal Reader: And Another Book Giveaway

Kathy Pooler is one of my most prolific and generous memoir writer friends. If you’ve been following this blog, you have met her talking about how to use Twitter to build meaningful relationships. Today she is featuring a guest blog from me about how I stumbled onto an “ideal reader” while on a romantic getaway…

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What Makes a Memoir "Too Personal"? What Makes it Good?

Richard Gilbert asks and answers an intriguing question today: What gives memoirists the right to share their stories? As you read it, I invite you to compare your own experience as a reader and writer and then to comment at the end. What gives memoirists the right to share their stories? By Richard Gilbert For,…

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Who Else Wants Simplicity? April Yamasaki's Sacred Pauses Offers a Way

We all know about the value of silence, taking breaks, and breathing deeply. We know we’re supposed to do these things. But then we get completely involved in our work. And we forget. April Yamasaki, a Mennonite minister from Abbottsford, British Columbia, has written a book to help us remember: Sacred Pauses: Spiritual Practices for…

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Starting Off 2013 with a Contemplative Bang

Let me introduce you to Theresa. She’s kind, spunky, creative, and playful. Can’t you just see all of these things in her face? She’s also a mom and a very savvy business woman who takes her faith seriously. We met two years ago at a conference and have kept in touch online. Theresa describes herself…

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Comfort and Joy, Christmas and Food: An Unusual Mennonite Story

Today’s Christmas Eve guest post comes from Kathleen Foster Friesen, no stranger to these pages. Kathleen commented on a thread on my Facebook writer’s page several weeks ago, and I asked her to tell her family holiday food tradition story here. So, from Kathleen and from me, Merry Christmas, curry style! And if you celebrate…

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How to Leave a Legacy. Hint: It Goes Beyond Your Book

  The most piercing thought any of us have is that some day we won’t be here. Some day, instead of sitting here looking out at the Shenandoah Mountain, I will be gone from this earth. Someone else will be looking through this window. In the words of poet Jane Kenyon, “all morning I did/the…

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Speaking of Faith: Writing About Being Mennonite

Last week on this blog Annette Gendler offered her prescription for how to write about family, which might be one of the most difficult challenges a memoir writer faces. Annette invited me to write about religion, since both of us are shaped by faith. This morning I appear here as her guest blogger. The best…

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Mark Nepo's Thoughts on Memoir and Voice: Seven Thousand Ways to Listen

Oprah Winfrey has said that Mark Nepo’s writing takes her breath away. His The Book of Awakening has sold steadily since its publication in 2000 and then climbed up the bestseller lists in 2011 after Oprah picked it as one of her “favorite things.” Now Mark is ready to launch a new book called Seven…

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A Memoir Overview: Guest Blog post at Jane Friedman's blog

Depending on whom you ask—or what lens you apply—memoir is either a boomlet that burst or a timeless form just now coming into its own. The first lens, the literary lens, gets a fair amount of press attention. The second lens, a more hidden one, may need a little more magnification. While I believe memoir is…

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