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Gretchen Cherington
Speaking Truth to Power
September 10, 2020
4 PM PDT | 5 PM MDT | 6 PM CDT | 7 PM EDT

Poetic License traces the arc of my complex relationship with my father, the Pulitzer Prize winning poet, Richard Eberhart. Grounded in the 1990s when I was in my forties, I was researching my father’s literary archives at Dartmouth College to try to understand him better while also building a successful management consulting company and raising two teenage children as a single mom. Through that decade I faced an existential crisis—I’d imbibed many family stories, as we all do, and some of those didn’t square with my own lived experience of my father. I’d grown up in a literary swirl through the 1950s and 1960s when nearly every well known writer of that era frequented our house from Robert Frost to Allen Ginsberg to James Dickey and many more. In the 1990s, in my professional work with a different set of powerful men – CEOS of companies—I was helping them see themselves as those in their companies did. They gave me a seat at their table and I began to learn how to tell them the truth I saw and heard in ways they could hear and act on.

I wrote for years in many different ways – stealing moments, carving out days, adding on days to business trips or using downtime on airplane and in airports. Through many challenges and many years, I kept believing the small voice inside me that said I had a story to tell and the right to tell it. I’ve learned so much and I’m happy to share with any other memoirists anything they’d like to know.

Some things I hope Book Club members will gain/learn:

  • Sustaining momentum through the long arc of writing a real book
  • Ways to think about speaking truth to power-whether family or systems or others
  • A few tips and techniques I didn’t use in first memoir but will definitely use in my second!
  • The importance of feedback, beta readers, editors; and when to find them
  • The fun part of publishing a book and what it feels like to go public (+/-)


Gretchen Cherington is the author of Poetic License (She Writes Press, 2020) about her complex relationship with her father, the Pulitzer Prize winning poet, Richard Eberhart. Gretchen’s essays have been published in Crack the Spine, Bloodroot Literary Journal, Yankee, Women Writers, Women’s Books, and Ms. Career Girl, among others. She has been excerpted in Literary Hub and The Nerd Daily. Her essay Fairy Napkins was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She is retired from a successful thirty-five year organizational development career in which she advised executives in nearly three hundred companies. In addition she has taught in the executive programs of three elite business schools – Harvard, Tuck, and Columbia. She has a BS and an MBA from the University of New Hampshire and splits her time with her husband between New Hampshire and Maine.

More at: https://www.gretchencherington.com

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