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Space, Narrative, Identity

You can keep it for your family by Blog2U publishing your blog. Since I write my blog every day, I publish a copy for myself every month. I get that too from people. Will that change in the future? Only God knows. I guess they say it mainly because of where the Lord has taken me from and how I eventually came to know Him. Anyway, LOVE all these tips! So true! Thanks for the insight, and I especially love the basketball reference.

Rachelle, you showed up in my email inbox at an opportune time. But your advice hit the mark. I love that you pointed out people should write to tell a story, not because people say you should write or for the end goal to be to make money. If you love writing, you should write, and if you have a story to tell, tell it! I speak several languages, had more than several lovers from different countries and had a number of proposals marriage and otherwise! I put myself as a young woman traveling alone a lot of times in danger. What can I say?

Youth is ignorance and ignorance is bliss! I at least had a lucky star that always kept me safe until I became wiser. I think because almost everyone knows how to write, people think they can write a book. How hard can that be, right?!! No banjos in a symphony orchestra??? I lived through that stuff once, and nothing on earth or in heaven will make me relive it. I started writing books because of one very simple event, a very specific thing. I was taking an onramp onto I, and saw a roadside memorial cross.

I was too lazy to look it up, so I made up my own tale, and found out that I enjoy telling stories. For me, writing a memoir was a very cathartic process and yes, it is all about telling a story. My story carries a timeless message that I continue to share one book, one person at a time. This should keep me busy for many years to come. I chose to self-publish my book to ensure I had a quality printed copy available to share—even though Kinkos would have been much cheaper!

Blessings to you Rachelle for your part in this journey. I made my story into a fiction to protect the innocent. I was the child victim of a cult. A colleague and creative writing teacher suggested I self-publish as it could take years to find a traditional publisher. I did.

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I recently published my second book. Thank for sharing your story! And yes, I write more now than I used to because of the encouragement of friends and family. Insightful post. Before I began learning the craft, I was unaware of the differences.

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So, please, hopefuls, write to feed my addiction. Whether or not you ever write a memoir, I do hope you will write and share your words and thoughts with others. Well, I am a writer. The quickest way to ruin a good hobby is to try to turn it into a business…. I promise not to think about publishing ever again…. Agents Publishing Writing. Telling Your Personal Story. Rachelle Gardner May 13, 57 Comments. Are you a writer partly because others told you that you should be? I've worked in publishing since and I love talking about books!

Caption Life on July 4, at AM. Roji on April 18, at PM. My life story started when I was 8 years ago I have seen and experienced things people might never imagine But still i keep a smile on my face what do you advice me to do? I am really willing to share Thank you Roji. Belinda on April 18, at AM.

Matthew Malazdrewich on November 10, at PM. Angle on June 9, at PM. I hope I can find a publisher!! KathyPooler on May 17, at PM. Tracy Stella on May 15, at PM. Barb on May 15, at PM. Robyn Roste on May 15, at PM. Thanks again! Connie Grudzinski on May 15, at PM. Nick Kording on May 15, at PM. Bill Fernandez on May 15, at PM. Veronica Bullard on May 15, at PM. Thanks for the advice Rachelle and thanks to everyone for reading about my dilemma.

Trina Cress on May 15, at PM. Melinda Todd on May 15, at PM. Neil Larkins on May 15, at PM. Steve Cavin on May 15, at PM. How should I go about obtaining wider publication? Thanks, Steve Cavin. Mike Brown on May 15, at PM. Susan Cottrell on May 15, at AM. Stephen King on May 15, at AM. JosephPote on May 15, at AM. Heather Kopp on May 15, at AM. Claire Scobie on May 15, at AM. Robin Pletcher on May 14, at PM. Natalie on May 14, at PM. Julie Farrar on May 14, at PM. Rachelle, I really appreciate this advice about memoirs. Celia Jolley on May 14, at PM.

Ugochi on May 14, at PM. Krista Phillips on May 14, at PM. Crystal on May 14, at PM. Don Sansone on May 14, at PM. LynnRodz on May 14, at AM. Esther Aspling on May 14, at AM. Lenore Buth on May 14, at AM. I think your good advice applies to writers of all genres, Rachelle. Dan Erickson on May 13, at PM. Dan Erickson on May 15, at PM. Kristi Bothur on May 13, at PM. Jill on May 13, at PM. Jill on May 14, at PM. Feedback from former clients about working with us on their books.

See bottom of page for a comprehensive list of locales:. For a moment I had the same rush of joy that I remember when I first held each of my children. And neither of them enjoyed the process of getting a book done nearly as much as I did. Working with you was always fun. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Thank you for the magic with which you turned a pile of letters into a real book. I damn near pulled the plug a few times! You presented that work with great care to all the details and made it shine. So in a way I trusted you with my life, and that creates a bond.

I know that for many, getting a book done is just a transaction and little more but, for me, it's a matter of trust, respect for the person and the work. Do not know cost but worth the cost and effort. They were supportive, helpful and professional every step of the way through the publishing of my book. When I had a question, it was answered promptly and constructively. When I wanted to propose an idea or make a change, they were accommodating at every turn. The process was very smooth and the finished product is marvelous! My book looks professional from cover to cover.

The design of the cover is aesthetically outstanding and the text looks just as I wanted it to—the book simply turned out fabulously. What a great job! Thanks for being such good midwives!! Seeing the book for the first time was a real thrill. As I told you, I am extremely pleased with the outcome. I find myself picking it up and thumbing through it repetitively—as though I had never seen the material before! I also want to be sure you know how pleased I have been with your expert staff.

Both Vinsula and Ali have been wonderful. They were professional every step of the way, and their work product is impeccable. I also appreciated the definitiveness with which they approached their work, how clear they were in their communications and how they adhered to promised schedules—traits often lost in the business world today. You are very fortunate to have these talented women in your midst. You've got a terrific team. Hang on to them! Being a first-time writer and clueless to what is really involved in publishing a book, I am grateful for your expertise, ready support, and reassurance when issues arose.

No matter how good a person may think their writing skills, a good book is simply not possible without partners that can provide the necessary editing, proofreading, and formatting. But most of all, you provided those critical services without changing my individual style, voice, and message. Grazie mille. I am happy with the high quality of the printing. The cover and page quality are very good. What were the challenges of working with their subjects and their families? How did they get access to archives and research materials? How did they find publishers? These experienced writers share stories and tips that will enlighten both jazz biography readers and would-be biography authors.

This webinar is part of a monthly series produced by the Jazz Journalists Association. David Foster Wallace was inspired to write about a breakup. So are a lot of memoirists. It's not always worth it. Both ingredients—memory and story—are equally vital. Like a journal, a memoir is a passionate account of your experiences—but like a novel it has narrative structure. A journal may be eloquent, and you may choose to share it with selected others, but it is essentially a conversation with yourself.

A memoir is inherently a conversation with others. Voice, persona, and point of view in memoir "Just as in everyday life we laugh and cry, show anger and sadness, so, too, for personal essayists and memoirists, one voice is rarely enough. Memoirists, for example need different voices in order to reveal the complexity of a life. You may need to twine a child voice with an adult voice; a lyric voice with a comic voice; a sober voice with an out-of-control voice. How she loved, feared, yearned. This embodies the mysterious nature of memory, upon which memoir and much of adult life rests.

And how to find a suitable prose style for it. You start with an interesting voice; the rest follows. If the voice is strong enough, the reader will go anywhere with you. They are very surface-oriented. In memoir, the only through-line is character represented by voice.

I can’t thank you enough!

In memoir, you are that main character. It has to engage your emotions in some way. You need two things for the text to move forward. And so my review will be less about this book's extraordinary perspective on the Holocaust more broadly and specifically about the predicament and response of the Jewish community in Britain. Other reviews have addressed that achievement very effectively. What I want to comment on and celebrate, as a student of biography, is Haber's remarkable control of the narrative voice she uses in this painfully moving book.

I would argue the most difficult task of all for a memoirist is reaching back in her memory and giving the reader the perspective she had then, early in her life, rather than the meaning she now imparts to it as an adult. Haber might have chosen to pronounce truths about that stage in her life as she now understands them. But instead she finds a way as a writer to put us back there with a little girl who has no idea what is happening to her, not only within the greater drama of Britain at war and London under attack, but even more intensely the mysteries of her own predicament as a child imperfectly loved, occasionally abandoned, and consistently refused warnings or explanations.

So we wander and wonder with her, we never know why certain things were done, only that they were done. We can manage anything, even in a world at war, even as a child, if adults around us understand what we are emotionally owed, what we need to get through. There were some such adults in this child's life, but not enough, and not always. So read this book because of the history it conveys, but mostly read it to understand what it is to be a child. By the end, I was finishing years of study of nonfiction form, hours of writing workshops with invested peers and mentors in the same field.

So when my point of view as the narrator changes, it is through an integral change of the persona itself. I was more aware of myself, and more in tune with my surroundings, by the end of the writing process, so I resisted changing earlier bits to make myself look smarter. I just left in my initial excitements and lack of knowledge. Into those surrogates will be poured all that the writer cannot address directly -- inappropriate longings, s defensive embarrassments, anti-social desires -- but must address to achieve felt reality.

The persona in a nonfiction narrative is an unsurrogated one The unsurrogated narrator has the monumental task of transforming low-level self-interest into the kind of detached empathy required of a piece of writing that is to be of value to the disinterested reader. Fierce Attachments was the first thing I ever wrote in which I felt the presence of a persona on whom I could rely.

She figured out the scope of the book and how to fill it properly. I was never under the impression that I had written a major book, but I thought that what I had written was a small good thing. Then one day I wrote something about the city, about going out into the street for relief from my solitude and having an encounter in the street, and suddenly it came together for me. I thought, I can write about Leonard and myself as creatures of the city.

Martin evokes his experience in scenes while also slipping into the action musings by his older and wiser self. For one price, we get two points of view—that of the sensitive, difficult boy and that of the wiser adult he became. And then there is So, What? Without this reflective voice, the Coors story lacks the impulse for understanding that drove me to the page in the first place. It remains a surface recounting of events, which leaves my readers scratching their heads and saying, 'So, what? While most stories have a single protagonist, addiction narratives are usually about two people: the addict deep in the throes of their addiction, and the recovered narrator looking back objectively on the experience.

In that sense, addiction narratives are schizophrenic, offering two perspectives—one reliable, one unreliable—opposing and informing each other. How those two perspectives are apportioned determines the nature of the result. Craft basically my working on the words and syntax can get such a passage flowing because such recasting reconnects me to subjective experience. And honestly, probably because varying sentence structures both mimics emotional connection and creates it.

Our moods, our beings are as changeable as the sky long hours at any writing project teach us , so we can no longer trust any one voice as definitive or lasting. We can evoke the people or places that move us by becoming them, since every subject worth taking on remakes us in its own image. In my first book, I thought it only right to describe the Philippines in a passionate, undefended, solicitous voice — to reflect what I saw in the place itself — and, five chapters later, to evoke Japan from a glassy remove, to speak for its cool and polished distances.

Writing on the Dalai Lama, I work hard to espouse an analytical and logical and rigorous part of myself — to transmit by example those qualities most evident in him. And then, when I turn to writing about Graham Greene, I aspire to a more haunted, shriven, doubting even English voice. He's talking about the voice of a self-involved, neurotic but emotionally honest New Yorker. Perhaps voice is the combination of these, powered by the essence of the narrative self who is the subject of the memoir," writes the anonymous author of the Slightly Nutty blog.

Tone can range widely from highly emotional to melodramatic, from blackly humorous to cheerful or self-contained and can also be a combination of any of these. For example, you can use language to bring the reader closer to the emotion or distance them from it. Big Hair. Big Problems. Read a sample chapter here. Can memoirists take liberties with the truth? They learn that on the one hand they will interact with the inmates much as they do with other students, but on the other, there are differences. They must not touch inmates. They cannot exchange gifts or information with them.

They cannot take notes during the class and must keep in strictest confidentiality anything the inmates share about themselves. ConTextos first developed the writing program for public schools. But it has since found equal success in the prison setting, where inmates are finding a voice to tell their stories. This moving talk is in Spanish with subtitles; her prison writing workshops focus on short poems, but as you can see when an inmate reads his poem are also about memoir.

David Coogan. Stories from ten men in a writing class that started in the Richmond City Virginia jail. Mass incarceration began in earnest when the radical s came to an end and we began warehousing social problems we could not deal with: racism, but also poverty, drug addiction, homelessness, mental illness, substandard public schooling, violence against children, violence against women, and so much more. Between and we went from incarcerating about a half million Americans to over two million Americans, a large many of them nonviolent drug offenders.

We went from triaging the violence of legitimate challenges leveled at America by groups like the Black Panthers to taking whole segments of America out of America and into this enormous warehouse. At the same time the genre of memoir began outselling fiction four to one. We became fascinated with the life stories of strangers while we began locking up our neighbors.

We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did. See also: Regional and international oral history organizations H-Oralhist , a network for scholars and professionals active in studies related to oral history.

A very popular guide for doing oral histories and personal and family histories, with memory prompts that encourage storytelling more than fact-finding: What were you like as a child? What did you think? What did you do? Organized by topic, from earliest memories, school life, young adulthood, marriage, children, grandchildren, through later life. The discovery of a tape recording shed light on a puzzling family photograph which was taken in - and changed historian Lisa Jardine's views about the genealogy boom.

Michael Takiff, Gravitas History. It just depends whether you want to go camping in the Rockies or take a world cruise on a luxury liner. Overnight the website closed down, to meet the rules of the bankruptcy court, so a lot of us felt abandoned. Some of us teach classes. Plenty of us provide services and a few regional organizations have formed. I can't find you. Let me know if you already exist and how clients may reach you, and I'll add you to the list.

Many of us start doing the work, then discover the term "personal historian" and recognize ourselves. There are people for that. Backstories about the process of getting the stories into print will be helpful if you want to help others tell their life stories. Schuetze, NY Times, It is part of an unorthodox approach to dementia treatment that doctors and caregivers across the Netherlands have been pioneering: harnessing the power of relaxation, childhood memories, sensory aids, soothing music, family structure and other tools to heal, calm and nurture the residents, rather than relying on the old prescription of bed rest, medication and, in some cases, physical restraints.

So she started a memoir-writing business. Thirty years from now, Nate's great-great- grandchildren will be able to pick up this book and know him," she said. The words we use matter The result is a moving and at times haunting first-person account of life on hospital wards. There used to be twenty-three big publishing houses and still others to send to. Now there are fewer than half as many. Luckily she had an agent who believed in her, who knew where to find that small press that might love her ms.

It had been a rocky recovery since his lung transplant three months earlier at the William S. Instead, she asked Hall if he wanted to tell his life story. Today more than 2, patients at the Madison VA have shared their life stories. Project organizers say it could change the way providers interact with patients.

Listen or read the transcript, or both. See Wikipedia's List of fake memoirs and journals surprisingly long, and some of these books were popular! Your Personal Memoirist Is Here Alina Tugend, Entrepreneurship, NY Times, "Many novices embrace the idea of talking to people and writing about their lives, but are not aware of the minutiae and marketing strategies involved. Horne said, with time added if the interview is disjointed or if the subject has a heavy accent. Can you stop by once a week? Tyrrell said. Horne said. What's your message is part of figuring out who is your audience, which means who will buy your books!

A very helpful discussion. Is the industry "undergoing a backlash after a long spate of huge advances for books that were always unlikely to make much money"? Interesting discussion, which concludes: Downgrade your expectations. Firms that target ultra-rich investors including wealth management firms have increasingly been tapping into personal history projects as a way to attract clients.

They say it's a meaningful way to bond with clients and their offspring, often leading families to entrust more of their money with the firm. Demand is growing for personal historians who can help clients craft polished narratives - but actually making the time-intensive projects pay off is challenging, pros warn. These gods take human shape at editorial meetings all over publishing offices in New York and elsewhere, and they are a demanding lot. Whereas a book on, say, diabetes need only only? The memoir gods are often unkind; at least they have been to me and my clients over the years.

So,like many agents I know, I shun memoirs. Memoirs used to be the territory of the famous, the intrepid, or the afflicted. Today, everyone's getting into the act, often with the help of a personal historian. And yet when my dad died in — same thing While capturing sound is now so easy, make sure you record the voices you will want to hear again. The sound alone will say everything someday. Dan Bortolotti, More.

Scroll down to read Jennifer Campbell's story of starting a personal history business. How an untimely layoff led four women to a whole new career--including Jennifer Campbell's shift from public television to personal history work. When Jennifer Campbell says she's a personal historian, people think she's a ghost writer or genealogist.

She tells them she is neither. I swear. It just kept tilting in that direction. The only scenes that felt real and true were those with my wife and two sons They are, after all, only as strong as the roots that bind them. Another strategy shared by such families is having a communal desire to understand their history, warts and all Perdue said that she interviewed people who married into the Henderson family about their lives and wrote biographies about them for other family members to read.

The new spouses are given the essays on what it means to be a Henderson. Where did you go? Serving that market is becoming a small-business enterprise. Personal historians help others tell their life story--in print, audio, or video, or all three. Overall, what we got from this was access to family memory, knowledge and expertise, in a way that cannot be found in a physical archive.

Tanya Evans, History Workshop, More collaborative work between family historians and those based in the academy. Anne also had cancer. When I arrived at her home in Glendale, she was gray and diminished, with barely a voice. But as the day progressed and the camera rolled, she bloomed. Her best years, she said, were during World War II. I have learned since that there is a branch of elder care called "reminiscence therapy.

A study published last year in the Journal of Psychology and Aging found that these benefits were enhanced when the reminiscing occurred with others. Janet Malcolm, The New Yorker, 'When we arrived in America, and were taken under the wing of my aunt and uncle, who had left Prague six months earlier, we changed our name from Wiener to Winn, just as they had changed theirs from Eisner to Edwards, out of fear of anti-Semitism, which was not limited to Nazi Germany.

Is the memoir market oversaturated? - The Writer

As an extra precaution, my aunt and uncle had joined the Episcopal Church. My parents balked at taking such a step. But they sent Marie and me to a Lutheran Sunday school in our neighborhood, and never did anything or said anything to acquaint us with our Jewishness. Finally, one day, after one of us proudly brought home an anti-Semitic slur learned from a classmate, they decided it was time to tell us that we were Jewish. It was a bit late. Many years later, I came to acknowledge and treasure my Jewishness. But during childhood and adolescence I hated and resented and hid it. Personal and family histories make great books.

Devin Hillis makes documentaries about the elderly. The shorter ones are played at funerals as tributes to the deceased. We're turning stories into a symphony. We're deciphering the days of this older generation or the young father with a terminal illness or a mother with breast cancer who has a few months to live or a child with a tumor whose parents want to hang on to life. Make sense of the pain. We're taking all that and putting it into understandable bits of video and music and story.

This is a holy endeavor. Neither of these memorials has even been printed, let alone distributed. But to the families, they mean the world. The next parts of the story: 2. The Journey Begins ; 3. Closing the Circle. Romancing the Curve.

The Glass Castle - Dysfunctional Family Memoir

Lots of good content and samples on Steve's website. See also his clever second time-lapse video of setting up a video shoot , showing how a video professional will move around chairs and other furniture in a room to get the right backgrounds and lighting for particular shots one part of the room might be better early in the day and another better later in the day, plus you might want variety. See if you can spot a little white critter. The field of personal history can be a good fit for retirees embarking on a second career. Listen or read transcript.

Accompanying his mother to her 60th college reunion gave him insight into the young woman she once was. Real estate companies have also enlisted his services, hoping the narratives he uncovers will help give their brokers a slight edge in the market. Today, everyone's getting into the act--often with the help of a personal historian. Leiken, for her mother to answer each week.

It then emails the questions to Ms. Mills, and when she replies, her answers go to her family and are stored on a website where they can read them privately. In guided autobiography, students write and share their life stories with the help of a trained instructor. I was honour-bound really to dig deep and bring memories, perhaps, that had been suppressed for a long time, that I would have preferred, perhaps, to remain in the sediment of my life.

But having done that and having got through this process, I now feel so much better. I've really forgiven people in my life and forgiven myself. And I feel much lighter because of it. So the process has been wonderful. And I'm advising everyone I meet, all of my friends and everybody - people in the street, 'Write your own book. Heidi Grant Halvorson and Jonathan Halvorson, author of Nine Things Successful People Do Differently , on The Science of Success: a blog about strategies that work explains the difference between promotion motivation striving for gains and prevention motivation avoiding losses.

Even the elder's kids, the generation it makes sense to market to, might be motivated by that fear of losing stories and the names of people in the old family photos. But you can also emphasize the rich experience that working with a personal historian can provide your parent, or the great stories such a person can elicit, perhaps even better than someone in the family might do. Polley experiments with the expected narrative structures, pushing us to consider not just the meaning of stories but how the way we tell the story can change its impact.

Writing their own stories, they say, strengthens their reporting by helping them look harder for details, be more sensitive to the people they interview and develop a deeper appreciation for the work they do. Books and videos each have strengths and weaknesses, as formats for personal histories, writes personal historian Andrea Gross, who clearly outlines them here.

You don't need to choose: You can do both. Peer Spirit , Christina Baldwin and Ann Linnea's company, facilitates a group process with rotating leadership. On its site, you can download Basic Guidelines for Calling a Circle and other handouts, including one on Storycatching. A professional knows what not to do. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.

Four authors talk about how they've grappled with these questions, the consequences of their choices, and the lessons they've learned. While the truth can deflect a defamation claim, often the truth when disclosed can be the basis for an invasion of privacy claim.

Writing about Family in Memoir Laurie Hertzel, TriQuarterly, Hertzel, author of News to Me: Adventures of an Accidental Journalist , reporting on an AWP panel on the subjectexplains the legal dangers of defamation or invasion of privacy, explaining that the First Amendment does not give you carte blanche. How much of the juicy bits can you include when they involve others and how much should you leave out, including names? Is it acceptable for writers to embellish the events of their lives to provide a more exciting book? Factual recounting of an event versus emotional memory.

Did it really happen that way? How can you remember all that? On reconstructing dialogue and other concerns. Macaulay Hat tip to Thomas Forster for this quotation Alas, these pieces seem to be no longer online--will their authors let me know if they reappear again one day? But the links for now are not working and a search did not turn them up in another venue. How much is too much truth? And whose truth is it to reveal?

Those are two of many questions addressed in a fascinating issue about the ethics of memoir writing in a wonderful online magazine, Talking Writing. Can we trust ourselves to tell our stories truthfully? How far can we carry the fine art of embellishment? Arlene L.

Mandell on Baring Ourselves for Public Viewing. What Belongs to Her and What to Me? Children no longer obey their parents, and everyone is writing a book. Writing personal and family histories These are books for people who generally do not see themselves as writers but want to write something about their life or their family. Buy anything from Amazon after clicking on a link here and we get a small referral fee for your purchases. He makes it all seem human and doable.

How to create "last says"--short personal narratives that serve as a powerful form of life review. A personal historian's "roll-up-your-sleeves" guide to writing and publishing your own or someone else's memoirs or autobiography. Interviewing and recording techniques helpful for family histories. Moving from facts to memories to meaning, this book takes you through the seven stages of life: childhood, adolescence, young adulthood roughtly , adulthood roughly , middle adulthood roughly , late adulthood roughly , elder roughly 80 onward.

Fairly sophisticated writing prompts, and examples from fine writers, invite you to recall forgotten moments and discover their significance. Emphasizes illustrating your stories with photographs, memorabilia, and other images including digital format. In this slim volume, Smith emphasizes writing with intent, writing about what was important about a particular event.

That may be enough. How to make money doing something you love.


Workshop in a book, encouraging nonwriters to write their own stories, by a founding member of APH. A step-by-step guide to preserving the life story of the child who died, by a personal historian and bereaved parent. A book for parents challenged by serious illness, to help and inspire them to leave stories and messages for the children who will survive them.

Is the memoir market oversaturated?

In addition to covering traditional writing topics well, Silverman encourages writers to transform their life story into words that matter. She advocates finding the courage to speak truth about issues on which others might prefer silence. This classic and insight-provoking guide to finding coherent narratives in our life experiences, recently out of print, is now available again. Not about memoir but about understanding the storylines of our lives. Raab foreword by Melvin J. Silverstein, MD , a wry self-help memoir that urges early cancer detection and conveys the power of writing as a healing and well-being therapy.

In this little book, McDonnell focuses on how to write "crisis memoirs," finding "our own meaningfulness, even in the midst of sadness and disappointment. The idea behind the field of narrative medicine, which Charon helped create, is that the doctor's job is to listen and by hearing the patient's story to know the patient more fully than numbers on a chart can convey. Step-by-step memoir writing, with healing from emotional pain as a goal; full of interesting psychological insights. McAdams argues that we are the stories we tell. As children we begin gathering material for our "self-defining stories," and as we age we can revise and claim our personal stories.

Narrative psychology. Geared more to self-understanding than to memoir writing, this book is still useful for life writing. Her incredible research, her networking, and her gift for words should carry this book into the pantheon of great books on writing. A slim, well-written book focused on the slice-of-life memoir.

So we need to make our lives a story we can live with, because we live the life our story makes possible. An excellent how-to guide, on digging into who you are and have become, and on writing a readable memoir about what you discover. Fascinating insights into the nature of memory, including how we often reconstruct in our memory what really happened -- so that, for example, a horrid experience becomes a funny one.

Changes the ways you view your own memory or the memories of eyewitnesses, and gives incentive to investigating the facts as a reporter would, on critical stories about your life. Albert founder of Story Circle Network encourages women to discover their voices and grow spiritually by putting their stories into words.

Her guide invites women on a voyage of self-discovery, by exploring eight thematic clusters: beginnings and birthings; achievements, gifts and glories; female bodies; loves, lovers, lovings; journeys and journeying; homes and homings; visits to the Valley of Shadows; and experiences of community. Intelligent commentary and exercises to help you access memories and emotions, shape scenes, develop plot lines, populate life story with "characters," and bring depth to your memoir or personal essay. A helpful companion for structuring book-length life writing, with wise counsel on remembering and selective memory , emotional healing, finding one's voice, choosing details, creating drama, and imposing structure.

Australian writer, but the book seems easily available online. By the same author: The Memoir Book , which one writing student said was exactly what she needed to get going on her memoirs. This highly recommended guide, full of exercises, asks you to think about your life and about how best to write a life story. Though Anderson Cooper has always considered himself close to his mother, his intensely busy career as a journalist for CNN and CBS affords him little time to spend with her. After she suffers a brief but serious illness at the age of ninety-one, they resolve to change their relationship by beginning a year-long conversation unlike any they had ever had before.

The result is a correspondence of surprising honesty and depth in which they discuss their lives, the things that matter to them, and what they still want to learn about each other. Books featuring such prompts vary greatly in the style of prompts from simple fact-finding questions to prompts that probe for emotional memories to prompts that liberate the imagination.

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Provides sensitizing questions which help participants write on life themes as opposed to life stages : Branching points. Health and body. Sexual identity. Experiences with and about death. Your spiritual life and values. Your goals and aspirations. More themes for Guided Autobiography groups. A tiny volume of writing prompts which encourage writer to write brief bits, coming at your life at an angle, through the "side door," as she does in her slim, fine memoirs A Three Dog Life about caring for her husband after a hit-and-run accident shatters his skull and Safekeeping: Some True Stories from a Life show how vignettes and snippets artfully arranged can convey the arc of a changing relationship, or relationships.

A small book of writing prompts for oral or written family histories -- one of the first of its kind. A slim, spiral-bound, illustrated, easy-to-maneuver workbook good for senior centers with questions and memory joggers to tease out a life story, and excerpts from real autobiographies. The ideal gift for someone who is writing, or thinking of writing, their memoir. The great memoirists often break the rules, especially about mixing present and past tense.

Explores the history and nature of biography. For the reference shelf. A delightful account of how those final stories get told. Joseph Epstein has a genius for discerning and defining a subject's essence in a few thousand words in the Wall Street Journal. Rollyson writes: "Mr. Epstein's ability to capture a subject in a memorable 3, words should be the envy of biographers, who write at greater length but sometimes with no greater effect. Biographies are vats of facts that take patience to digest; Mr.