Magical Memoir Moments

Fetzer Workshop on Reflective Writing: The Conclusion

Today I finished leading the last 1.5-hour workshop in a series of four which took place at the Fetzer Institute. I think the title of this workshop–Timed Writing–may have scared away potential participants.   Sounds as jolly as retaking the SAT.  Despite the title, and despite the fact that four people on the list could not…

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My Stroke of Insight: A Spiritual Memoir

I will cut to the chase on the last night of the year 2008.  I loved this book.  I read it nearly in one sitting, fascinated by the straightforward telling of an incredible story.  Jill Bolte Taylor, a brain scientist working at the Brain Bank at Harvard University, woke up one morning with a headache…

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Unreliable Truth: On Memoir and Memory by Maureen Murdock

One of the wise women I am honored to have in my life, Angeles Arrien, recommended this book to me. I found the book thoughtful and provocative, a wonderful distillation of many years of reflection both on the author’s personal story but also on the process of living, reflecting, writing, and transforming. Reading this book,…

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Memoir(and): Should You Subscribe?

I seldom read every article in a magazine that comes to my house.  Without time for hours of reading every day, I do a lot of skimming instead of deep reading.  I wish it were not so. However, with a long trip ahead and a little determination due to having chosen to make the new…

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Do You Know Your Own Geology?

Today one of my colleagues at the Fetzer Institute, Dr. Joel Elkes, celebrates his 95th birthday.  No, that is not a typo.  He was born in 1913, lived through two World Wars and a century of struggle.  He was a student in England in the 30’s and 40’s and thus escaped the Holocaust, though many…

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Memoir, Formula, and the Hero's Journey

I subscribe to Garrison Keillor’s The Writer’s Almanac, which comes into my inbox first thing every morning.  I enjoy starting the day with a poem and some interesting facts about writers and writing. The October 12 entry introduced me to Lester Dent, a writer I had never heard of before.  Here’s the text that caught…

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Living the Questions

“Live your questions now, and perhaps even without knowing it, you will live along some distant day into your answers.”  –Rainer Maria Rilke I am trying to go deeper with my understanding of this famous quote, which I loved from the time I first read it in Letters to a Young Poet.  Like most mothers,…

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Left To Tell: Spiritual Memoir

Next Wednesday night the neighborhood book club (described in a previous post) will be discussing Left To Tell:  Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust, a dramatic tale of courage, deliverance, and forgiveness from the killing fields of Rwanda in 1994. This book was “written with” Steve Erwin.  By now you know that I am not…

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Thank You, Mary Karr!

Yesterday’s New York Times carried an op-ed from Mary Karr about the way opponents of Barack Obama like to diminish him by calling him a memoirist, just as they make fun of his career as a community organizer. Karr, who has written several excellent memoirs herself, including and describes why memoir writing is a good…

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