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March 16, 2012     Member Teleseminar With Victoria Costello,

author of A Lethal Inheritance.

11 AM PST;  12 PM MST;  1 PM  CST;  2 PM EST


From Victoria Costello:

I believe that every memoir has the writer’s family history at its core. Even if ancestors are never mentioned, they are present—even omnipresent in your true story. That’s because the impetus for so much life writing, whether conscious or unconscious, is to remove the scab from a family wound and heal it. It may have been a physical or emotional violation, a betrayal of trust, or unspoken words of gratitude or love, but whatever the source of your family wound, the resulting trauma lives on in you, or perhaps most flagrantly in one of your children—as was the case for me and the impetus for writing my memoir, A Lethal Inheritance, A Mother Uncovers the Science Behind Three Generations of Mental Illness (Jan 2012/Prometheus Books).

I am excited to join Linda Joy Myers and members of NAMW as we deconstruct the process of digging into family history for the purposes of memoir writing. Topics to be covered include:

  •       Basics and shortcuts for researching your ancestors’ lives and deaths
  •      How to mine versions of “the truth” different than your own
  •      How to fill in the gaps when key facts are missing
  •      The role of speculation in memoir
  •       How the “illness narrative” and your choice of a plot line affects healing in life and memoir
  •       When the story you must tell is about more than just you (e.g. science, social history); how to interweave multiple threads in memoir
  •       The relationship between memoirist and reader; focusing on the process of self-revelation before, during and after you write your book

Victoria Costello (San Francisco, CA) is an Emmy Awardwinning science writer with articles in Scientific American MIND and Brain World. She is also a ghostwriter and has published six books as an author or coauthor. Her latest are: A Lethal Inheritance, A Mother Uncovers the Science Behind Three Generations of Mental Illness, published by Prometheus Books (Jan/2012), and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Writing a Memoir from Alpha Books (Dec/2011). Her blog posts on psychology and family mental health can be read on the Huffington Post, Yahoo! News Health & Wellness, PsychCentral and her own MentalHealthMomBlog. With the Mental Health Association of San Francisco, Costello is a speaker, workshop facilitator, and state and federal advocate working to improve the mental health of youth and families. In addition to mental health topics, Costello offers workshops and teleseminars for memoir writers. Her website is MemoirMidwife.com

Costello’s theme for the March 16th NAMW teleseminar can perhaps best be summed up by a line in the Booklist review of A Lethal Inheritance : “Science journalist Costello’s educative memoir gives poignant testimony to the fact that not only do we stand on the shoulders of those who came before us; we carry their burdens as well.” 

If you are a member of the National Association of Memoir Writers, you will receive an email with the call in number. If you are not yet a member, please visit our membership information page to find out more!

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