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Silence of Shame

by Wendy J. Menara | April 2021 Virtual Book Club

Wendy J. Menara

Silence of Shame

April 8, 2021
4 PM PST | 5 PM MST | 6 PM CST | 7 PM EST

My memoir, Silence of Shame: A Child Caring for Her Bedridden Mother, chronicles my childhood as a caregiver for my mother who was completely bedridden with multiple sclerosis until the time of her death when I was thirteen years old.

Upon early release of my book, a psychiatrist contacted me via my website. She was intrigued by my memoir and wanted to talk with me. The first thing she said was, “Why share the secrets?  Secrets are between you and God.”

Her thoughtful yet probing questions during the telephone conversation made me realize that there are likely many more people who bury secrets than expose them. Of course, not every secret needs to be broadcast, but I knew I had to find peace for the shameful things that I discovered about my mother after her death.

I believe if a secret, especially one with a lot of shame attached, has power over you, it will weigh on you and fester. As a child, I witnessed the pain my mother went through with her disease. In writing my memoir, it became clear that my mother was also pained by demons of her past. Demons she thought she carried to her grave. When she died, I lost any opportunity to ask her questions that were important to me, especially about those secrets she kept from her children.

The writing of this memoir was the final piece of the puzzle to further explore and better understand my mother and my childhood. I hope in sharing my story other readers who have similar experiences will find strength and courage to unlock the closet door and bring those burdensome secrets into the light to find freedom and peace of mind.

I have been writing for decades, mainly screenplays and stage plays, some of which have been produced on the independent stage and film circuit. Silence of Shame is my debut book and I am thrilled to announce it was named one of the best books of 2020 by Kirkus Reviews.

Topics of discussion:

  • What drives memoirists to communicate and publish their stories?
  • Why are others fine with not discussing or sharing things of the past?
  • Some tips for writing about those difficult memories and experiences.
  • Find a support group: 1 or 2 core beta readers and an editor.
  • Embrace Your Story. Focus on what you have to offer and do your best to not compare yourself and your story to other authors. You might not have all the degrees and credentials other authors have, but you have to start somewhere.
  • Face the shame, the pain, the guilt; whatever it is that is weighing you down spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically. Find a close friend, therapist (or both) . . . someone with whom you feel safe and you can share.

Wendy J. Menara is the author of 2020 award winning memoir, Silence of Shame: A Child Caring for Her Bedridden Mother. Named one of the Best Books of 2020 by Kirkus Reviews, she chronicles her childhood caring for her bedridden mother who had multiple sclerosis.

She is the second youngest of ten children, grew up in Ironwood, Michigan and moved to California when she was seventeen. Following her work with Paramount Pictures as a freelance feature film production accountant, Wendy worked with Tri-Star, Warner Brothers, CBS television, Industrial Light and Magic (ILM), and in Lucasfilm’s publishing department before pursuing her passion for writing and directing.

Wendy’s love for story drove her to write and direct one-act plays for the Lucasfilm in-house Theater Group and The Marin One-Act festival. She also served for two seasons on the playwriting reading committee for Dominican University in San Rafael, California. She received a certification in film editing at Berkeley City College in Berkeley, California.

Wendy’s spec-screenplays have placed in nationally recognized screenwriting contests including Scriptapalooza, Francis Ford Coppola’s Zoetrope, Fade-In Magazine, the Writer’s Network, and Nicholl Fellowship.

Wendy lives in the Sacramento Valley with her rescue dog, Cecil. Visit her website at www.wendyjmenara.com.

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