In this webinar to kick off the “school year,” Brooke Warner and Linda Joy Myers dig into some of the deepest—and most challenging—aspects of memoir writing. We all know how hard it is to face the page when we see the ghosts of the past rising up and shaking their finger at us, crying out, Shame on you (for writing this) or, How dare you write about your father/grandmother/sister/mother like that. The very thing that’s driving you to write in the first place may well be secrets you’re supposed to keep for your family. All of us carry unspoken expectations about all the things we’re not supposed to write about. The voices rise up, even from beyond the grave: You can’t write that! How dare you write your truth? Everyone will find out! We’ll be judged.
As a result, we memoirists end up stuck with emotional road blocks as we sort out our story.
Writing the “truth” is not just about writing. It’s about facing down the demons, the memories and the ghosts of the past, and then finding words for those moments that you lived through.
Brooke and Linda Joy will address this and more in this webinar, and also discuss what other memoirists have done to cope with these challenges.
Some of the writers we know who’ve had to solve these challenges include:
- Mary Karr, who deeply unpacked her life in all three of her memoirs.
- Tara Westover, who wrote Educated knowing that her version of what happened varied greatly from her family’s version of events, and risked their estrangement in the writing of her story.
- Gina Frangello, who revealed some aspects of her life she knew she’d be judged harshly for in her memoir, Blow your House Down.
- Marcello Castillo, who addressed shame and secrets in Children of the Land.
- Virginia Woolf, who was ahead of her time in her essays and confessions in the classic Moments of Being.
- Maya Angelou—one of the early voices about truth about racism and rape, who was light years ahead of her time in the writing of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and paved the way for countless women memoirists to come.
- Maxine Hong Kingston, who uses symbols and metaphors to tackle some of the harder aspects of her family story in Woman Warrior.
Join us for this exploration into memoir, truth, and courage!
Brooke Warner is publisher of She Writes Press and SparkPress, president of Warner Coaching Inc., and author of Write On, Sisters!, Green-light Your Book, What’s Your Book?, and three books on memoir. Brooke is a TEDx speaker, weekly podcaster (of “Write-minded” with co-host Grant Faulkner of NaNoWriMo), and the former Executive Editor of Seal Press. She writes a monthly column for Publishers Weekly.
Linda Joy Myers, founder of the National Association of Memoir Writers, is the author of award winning memoirs Don’t Call Me Mother and Song of the Plains, and two books on craft The Power of Memoir, & Journey of Memoir. She co-authored Breaking Ground on Your Memoir and Magic of Memoir & co-teaches Write Your Memoir in Six Months. A memoir coach for 26 years, she helps memoir writers find their voice and get their story into the world.
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