Magical Memoir Moments

Dreams and Memoir: A Way to Discover Inner Truths About the Past

I’ve been carrying on a conversation with author Jean Raffa ever since she posted this essay about the active imagination and her creative process, excerpted below: Here’s how it works for me. I find a quiet, comfortable, private, and distraction-free place to sit, usually in front of my computer so I can record what is…

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A Chance Encounter, Elizabeth Bird, Chuck Close, and Memoirs for Young Readers

What hath memoir to do with children’s lit? To find out, I consulted an expert, Elizabeth Bird, youth materials specialist at the New York Public Library. She’s known as a go-to kid-lit expert for writers, editors, and reporters. When Maurice Sendak died last week, she was interviewed on television. She ended the week as a…

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Yeats, Mennonites, and Memoir

At the Mennonite/s Writing VI conference March 30-April 1, 2012, the theme of “the self” recurred often. Poet and scholar Ann Hostetler drew attention to this theme in her talk: “The Self in Mennonite Garb, or, Where Does the Writing Come From?” Hostetler has been thinking about the lyric voice ever since she put together…

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Some Assembly Required: A Review of Anne (and Sam) Lamott's Memoir

I wasn’t going to write any more reviews in this blog — except by offering this space to guest reviewers whose writing I know and trust. I have vowed to keep the chapter drafts of my own memoir my first priority for my precious writing time. Reading and reviewing a new book can take one…

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Daisy Hickman: Interviewer and Reviewer (of Jonathan Franzen's The Discomfort Zone)

There’s an art to interviews. First of all, it helps to be a great observer and listener and to know something about the person and subject under inspection. Most of all, it helps to care. Daisy Hickman fits that bill perfectly. Last week she placed her questions and my answers on her great blog Sunny…

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Toni Morrison Turns Back Memoir Contract

By almost any standard, Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison has led an extraordinary life. I’d love to read the story only she could tell about any segment of this story: born 1931 into a working class family in Lorain, Ohio; educated at Howard and Cornell Universities; taught at various universities (the last being Princeton); an editor…

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How to Write a Memoir

So you want to explore the fog of memory and write a memoir. Great! Like the IRS, I’m here to help. And so are many others. In fact, I am going to send you to them. Here is an eight-page booklet (.pdf) I wrote on the subject. What I say below will not duplicate the…

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Jane Fonda's Popular TED Talk: An Unintended Case for Memoir

Are you 30 or older? If so, you need to watch this talk. If you don’t have 19 minutes now, bookmark this post for later and just read some of the quotes under the embedded video below. It could change your life. The first act in life occurs roughly from conception to age 30. The…

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A Walker in the City: Inspiring and Daunting

November 20, 2011. Brooklyn, New York It’s nearly midnight. I’ve just closed the book A Walker in the City by Alfred Kazin. Outside Flatbush Ave. pulses with movement and light in the rain. The wet streets glisten and double the images of white headlights approaching, red taillights receding, and green traffic light swaying above. The…

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Chinaberry Sidewalks: Another Excellent Crazy Childhood Memoir by Rodney Crowell

Welcome new guest blogger, Richard Potter. Below you can learn more about him and more about an excellent memoir from singer/song writer Rodney Crowell. If you love memoirists Mary Karr, Rosanne Cash, and Jeanette Walls, you will love this one also.  By Richard Potter Chinaberry Sidewalks is my first direct exposure to a great American…

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