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Memoir as Social Legacy | Discussion about the Power of History and Personal Change in your Memoir


Free Roundtable Discussion

December 6, 2012


Linda Joy Myers, Kate Farrell, and Amber Starfire, editors

When we write memoir, we’re capturing not only setting, characters, and significant events, we’re also creating a legacy of the times we lived in: we’re creating personal history that is part of the larger fabric of that era, much like women pioneer diaries offer us now 150 years after they crossed the United States on foot.

Kate Farrell, Linda Joy Myers, and Amber Lea Starfire, editors of the upcoming anthology Times They Were A-Changing: Women Remember the 60s & 70s, are passionate about the decades that profoundly changed their lives, and are creating the anthology to capture that historic legacy in personal narrative and poetry.

The ripples of change in women’s lives that began during those decades continue to build all the way to the present, and new generations of women are reaping the benefits–but many of them don’t know what happened in any kind of detail. Several young women have said to me, “Tell me what it was like then. How were you involved; how did the sixties and seventies change you?”

As you write your experiences, it’s important to keep in mind what a story is and how it works, how to integrate your personal moments within the fabric of the unfolding of historical events. Learn how to shape a narrative to reflect your individual experience in the context of a time and place. Our personal stories offer important insights to the social and consciousness transformations unique to that time.

During this Roundtable, we will discuss:

  • The difference between vignette and story (short memoir or personal narrative)
  • How to find the intersection between social change (history) and your own experience
  • The dos and don’ts of writing about social legacy: eye witness only, telling only, omitting larger context
  • How to infuse components of effective scene writing with historical meaning

If you are interested in entering contests and submitting your work for publication, find out about the editorial process: what editors look for in stories with social/historical meaning. To learn more about submitting to the anthology, please visit!/TimesTheyWereAChanging

Linda Joy Myers, President of the National Association of Memoir Writers, & Co-President of the Women’s National Book Association, SF, is the author of The Power of Memoir—How to Write Your Healing Story, the prize-winning memoir Don’t Call Me Mother, and a workbook The Journey of Memoir: The Three Stages of Memoir Writing. She co-teaches the program Write your Memoir in Six Months with Brooke Warner. She coaches writers, and offers teleseminars and workshops nationally. Visit her blog on how to write a successful memoir:

Kate Farrell earned a Masters degree from UC-Berkeley; is an author, teacher, librarian, and storyteller and has published numerous educational materials. Kate is the founder of Wisdom Has a Voice memoir project and editor of the anthology, Wisdom Has a Voice: Every Daughter’s Memories of Mother, 2011. She’s a member of the Redwood Branch of the California Writer’s Club, Story Circle Network, the National Association of Memoir Writers, and is Vice-President of the Women’s National Book Association, San Francisco Chapter.

Amber Lea Starfire is an author, editor, and teacher whose passion is helping others tell their stories, make meaning of their lives, and access inner wisdom and creativity through the act of writing. Author of Week by Week: A Year’s Worth of Journaling Prompts & Meditations, her work has appeared in Wisdom Has a Voice: Every Daughter’s Memory of Mother, Vintage Voices 2012: Call of the Wild, and literary journals. She earned her MFA in Creative Writing from University of San Francisco, and is a member of the California Writers Club in Santa Rosa (Redwood Writers), the Story Circle Network, National Association of Memoir Writers (NAMW), and International Association for Journal Writing (IAJW). Visit Amber’s website,



  1. Janet Rae-Dupree says:

    How do I participate in the Dec. 6 roundtable?

  2. Debbie Engle says:

    This sounds informative and interesting, but I’ve not participated in one of these before. How do I do that?

    • Hi Debbie, Just sign up in the box on the right side of the website and you will be included to get the phone number a day or so before the teleseminar. See you there!

  3. Pat says:

    Hi Linda Joy,
    I am excited to be a new member of National Writer’s of Memoir Writers!
    All the best,

  4. abby bogomolny says:

    pls sign me up to receive audio link

    fantastic work!!!

    way to go, women!


  5. Shelley Buck says:

    This looks great! Please add me to the list of those virtually attending. Best, Shelley

    Shelley Buck
    Author of Floating Point

  6. Claudette says:

    Would love to have attended, but didn’t receive the invitation until just now. I’m sorry I missed it. I’m sure I could have learned quite a bit about memoir and what it takes to be successful at writing good stories for the genre.

    Perhaps next time. Thank you.


  7. Paula Wagner says:

    What perfect timing – justas I’m starting to write my 60′s story! I look forward to receiving the call-in info.

    LifeWork Stories

  8. Marian Feinberg says:

    Hi. I just found this site and the links to the 60′s and 70′s anthology. Unfortunately, the Dec. 6th Roundtable has passed. Are you planning to make it available? When? How? Hope you will. Thanks.