Welcome to the new look for 100memoirs.com! The old site still exists and has migrated to the new location, shirleyshowalter.com. I have now met the original goal of reading 100 memoirs! I discovered over the last three years and 315 posts that readers love lists of top memoirs for their own reading selection. So you can find many good lists here.
As you may recall, I announced the good news of signing a book contract for my own childhood memoir. After my hair color transformed from auburn to grey, I invited readers to help me choose photos here. If you’ve been riding the waves of change with me through the past three years, thank you! Stay on board because the fun is just beginning.
If you are new to this site and this blog, welcome aboard.
From now on, my emphasis is shifting slightly from reviewing memoirs and musing about memoir as a genre (although I will still feature guest interviews, author interviews, etc. from time to time) to sharing some of my own struggles, questions, and triumphs as I complete a manuscript. I have now drafted six chapters out of fourteen.
I’m sticking to my schedule, but I’m also finding that writing is hard work. Mary Karr recently said writing (especially memoir writing) is like hoeing a long row in the hot sun. I know all about hoeing, since I grew up hoeing tobacco. I think Mary’s metaphor is absolutely perfect. If you are a writer also, or if you are a reader who dreams about writing, I hope you will come out in the hot sun with me.
That’s why I created the video (see right-hand column) to introduce an e-book on the subject my readers care about: How to Write a Memoir. I hope you have watched the video and have signed up to get the free book and the weekly Magical Memoir Moments. I had so much fun creating them while thinking about you.
One of my strongest beliefs is that we are all connected to each other, and that good things happen when we tell our stories. One of the great blessings of my life has been the opportunity to spend time with Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Along with a group of leaders from The Fetzer Institute, I was able to sit around a circle with this remarkable man for several hours on several occasions over four years.
Archbishop Tutu has made the South African word ubuntu (Xhosa language) legendary worldwide. He explains it to students engaged in the Semester at Sea program in a short video here:
The words that inspire me most from this video seem at first blush to be antithetical to the idea of writing memoir: “There is no such thing as a solitary individual.” But when you add the rest of the Archbishop’s words, you see why memoir writing is much more than a single writer with a pen in her hand. It is a radical act: “I want you to be all you can be so that I can be all that I can be. I need you to be you so that I can be me.”
I invite you into a writing journey that will help lead you to be more you than you ever have been before. I feel myself becoming more me just by extending the invitation.
How shall we begin the next phase of this journey? What is your reaction to this idea?