How did you begin your writing life?
As a photographer, studying at the SF Art Institute, being enamored by titles and the use of language in visual art. Then I got invited to a poetry reading for the Norton Anthology of Post Modern American Poetry at the Cowell Theater in San Francisco, I had never been to a poetry reading—and I was just awe-struck. I began writing that very night and haven’t turned back.
What was the strongest force that prompted you to write a memoir?
1. The curiosity about if I could actually do it. And 2. The need to tell and release my story became to energized in my body and it needed out.
How did you choose the title of your book?
I was working with a professional editor and writing coach at the time and we were going over titles and ideas and we were talking about this phrase in the manuscript, how my father called me “Beamish Boy” and I had no idea where that was from and of course she did—from the poem Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll, and it just fit perfectly.
In your memoir you write about some powerful negative emotions and behaviors. Was it difficult to write truthfully about these situations? What helped you to write honestly about yourself?
I felt like I had no choice. In order to be free from all this psychological baggage once and for all I had to be totally honest with my self and with the world. I had to confront the truth head on, accept it, and let it go!
How different was it for you to write prose vs. poetry in your memoir?
A real challenge. I wasn’t sure I could complete a sentence after writing poetry and poetic lines for 15 years. It also became a great gift for strengthening the prose.
What advice do you have for other people who want to write about their lives—especially if they have abuse or addictions as part of their story.
Work on yourself first, be at a strong place in your life, out of crisis mode before writing the whole book—I mean write through it all if you can, but take time with it, go to therapy, take care of your body and mind, meditate, cultivate self love and compassion, seek out a writing coach and mentor—be prepared to slay the dragons of doubt and fear everyday—remain strong, ask for help, read a lot, and practice, practice, practice, your writing. You can and will do it, if you must, otherwise, if the sincere yearning and passion are not there, save yourself some trouble and do some gardening or go for a bike ride!
Linda Joy’s review of DeSilver’s memoir Beamish Boy. For more information about how to join NAMW member Teleseminars, go here.