Brene Brown’s study of shame provided insights that could lift us out of those lower regions of our self-awareness. And Gloria Steinem encouraged us to examine our journey to self-esteem. Despite their power and importance, such ideas of going from lower to higher parts of ourselves often seem hopelessly psychological and abstract. That’s where memoirs offer us an exciting new path to find these elevation gains in ordinary life.
Thanks to the popular movement of the Memoir Revolution, each and every memoir offers the example of an author who has traveled from a lower, less dignified aspect of their lives at the beginning, to a higher, more dignified version at the end.
In this conversation between Jerry Waxler, author of Memoir Revolution, and Linda Joy Myers, founder of the National Association of Memoir Writers, we’ll show how the memoir genre in general, and your memoir in particular, can be viewed as a climb toward higher dignity. We’ll give examples of dozens of memoirs to illustrate how other authors have shown this journey, from Frank McCourt to Rebecca Walker, Dani Shapiro, Andre Debus III, and Tara Westover.
Our goal in this session will not be to reproduce or modify the many attempts already made by wise self-help gurus to define qualities such as dignity, or the quest for empowerment or agency. Instead, through examples, this quality will come into focus, the way the belt of Orion emerges once you tune into the layout of the stars.
- What is the unifying concept of Dignity
- How all strong memoirs are driven by a quest for dignity
- How this quest adds power and depth to reading memoirs
- Why memoirs may be our best hope for finding collective dignity
- How to use the notion of higher dignity to enhance your own strong character arc
We look forward to seeing you there and hearing your ideas and questions!
Jerry Waxler writes, speaks, coaches and teaches about how to use life story writing to awaken self understanding, and heal from the tyranny of unresolved memory. Jerry’s blog and book Memoir Revolution celebrates this new modality for individual and collective healing. His own memoir Thinking My Way to the End of the World is about his struggle to come of age during the chaotic sixties, and just as importantly, it’s about the will to find the story amid the confusing rubble of the past.