Magical Memoir Moments

“Have a Good Time with Your Friends:” A Granddaughter Milestone on the Brink

She’s two and a half and heading full speed toward three years old. She’s on the brink of everything. Just before Christmas, she helped put up lights and pine garland on her porch. She couldn’t stop saying her favorite new word: “energy!” By the time she arrived at our house for the Christmas holiday, Lydia…

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From the Underworld to the Woodcarver: The Power of Changed Metaphor

When I’m visiting the underworld and the way seems long and dark, I need a new metaphor. The wisdom of Parker Palmer often helps me.  As I struggled with mountains of memorabilia in the cellar last week, searching for inspiration while mildew and mold wafted in the air, I was thinking of Persephone, Demeter, Orpheus,…

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Three Reasons to Read Your Memoir in New York City

Some writers leave the provinces and yield to the siren call of the city in their youth. My favorite author Willa Cather did that. She was published by Alfred A. Knopf, a powerful imprint designating quality, so powerful it has survived many mergers and is part of Penguin Random House, one of the Big Five…

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Reviewing 2013 and Setting Goals for 2014: Continuing the Search for Simplicity, Legacy

On January 1 of each year, I try to reflect on the good news of the past year, forgive the pain, and gaze upon the blank slate of the new with great anticipation. As I get older, I think of each new year as an amazing gift. A friend once wished me a happy birthday,…

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To Know as We Are Known: David Crumm's Five Tips for Interviewing

Being interviewed can be a daunting experience. Sometimes the interviewer isn’t prepared, hasn’t read your book, or is just looking for a way to stir up controversy to increase ratings. But sometimes an interviewer has not only prepared but has lived inside your book in such a way that he or she has actually climbed…

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The Festival of Faith and Writing: A Feast of Flowers and Words

The Dutch know how to grow tulips–and writers! Every two years the good folks at Calvin College put on a Festival of Faith and Writing that attracts thousands of readers and hundreds of writers. And what a good time we have! This year’s headliners included Wally Lamb, Richard Rodriguez, Parker Palmer, Eugene Peterson, and Mary…

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The Reviewer's Role: Is A Touch of Memoir Appropriate, Honest, Intrusive, Something Else?

Reading and reviewing books side-by-side offers a way of increasing the number of perspectives and experiences one can weave together. The reading process itself is an interactive one. At a minimum it includes the author’s voice and values, reader’s values and experiences, and other texts both reader and writer have woven into their lives. Two books…

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Let Your Life Speak: A Memoir Writer’s Memoir

Parker Palmer turned 70 years old today.  I celebrated his birthday by re-reading his book Let Your Life Speak.  I took the memoir lens in hand and went searching for how Parker uses his life story in this book. The code on the back jacket cover says “spirituality/work life” not “memoir.” But what if we…

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Parker Palmer on Bill Moyers Journal: Ground On Which It's Safe to Stand

If you missed Parker Palmer’s appearance on Bill Moyers Journal last Friday, cheer up.  Here it is. Apparently, the broadcast about illusion and reality in our current economic crisis, which included Parker talking about depression in his own life, cheered many people.  Funny how truth does that–in just the paradoxical way that Parker himself explains…

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A Workshop on Reflective Writing

Next Monday I will conduct the first of a series of four 1.5-hour-long workshops at the Fetzer Institute, the organization for which I work.  Our founder, John E. Fetzer, believed that we need to be the work in order to do the work.  He was a visionary leader who intuited the needs of the future…

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