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Joanne Greene

By Accident—A Memoir of Letting Go

October 5, 2023
4 PM PDT | 5 PM MDT | 6 PM CDT | 7 PM EDT

Joanne Greene came of age during the 1960s and 70s, a turning point for women in the United States. Doors were opening wider than they ever had, and Joanne walked through as many as she could, studying theater and film at Northwestern, presenting a weekly jazz radio show at Emerson, and then diving headfirst into San Francisco radio and television, where she hosted and produced award-winning feminist and other timely features and talk shows for decades.

Throughout, she worked at having a great marriage and being an exemplary parent. But underlying her high-achieving life was a sometimes-destructive need for control. Vulnerability and dependency were okay for other people. Her value was tied to how in charge, how together, and how productive she was. Then, a freak, traumatic accident set Joanne on a journey of discovering that her true power would come in the still moments, the moments when she loosened her grip and even allowed herself to crack, finding beauty and possibility in her fragility.

By Accident: A Memoir of Letting Go is the one book Joanne knew that she would write one day. In it, she captures stories and lessons to share with others facing loss, illness, or injury. Having lost her siblings early, she honors their memory for future generations with love and humor.

The writing and rewriting process took five years. Having always been a writer for hire, Joanne had a lot to learn about the craft of memoir and relied on writing coaches and editors to help create a manuscript of which she is proud.

  • Memoir writing is a craft and, even if you’ve been a professional writer as I have been, this is completely different. Seek guidance. Sign up for a memoir writing class. And don’t hesitate to hire a development editor.
  • Every writer must figure out a writing routine that works for her. While some people set aside a particular time and place to write, others of us wait for the muse to strike. Setting a deadline schedule can be very helpful and motivating.
  • When deciding whether to try to get an agent in hopes of landing a traditional publishing contract, seeking a hybrid model, or self-publishing, ask yourself some key questions: What is my goal with this book? How important is distribution in achieving my goal? Am I a celebrity and/or do I have a significant social media following that will appeal to traditional publishers? How long am I willing to wait before my book is published?
  • Use what you have when developing an author platform. As a former radio broadcaster with an in-house production studio, launching two podcasts made the most sense for me.
  • My memoir includes lessons about how to move through life’s most challenging times (loss, illness, injury, and failure) with positivity and a sense of gratitude. It’s possible to move from PTSD to post-traumatic growth. Ask for help and don’t judge the help that’s offered. Self-care is critical; we can’t do everything for everyone without paying a price.

After growing up in the 1950s and 60s outside of Boston, Joanne Greene spent decades on San Francisco radio as a news anchor and talk show host. Currently, her memoir style micro-essays, set to music, can be heard on the podcast, “In This Story…with Joanne Greene”. Her sometimes provocative and always informative conversations with Gabi Moskowitz, a fellow writer thirty years her junior, grace the podcast, “All the F Words.” By Accident: A Memoir of Letting Go, is Joanne’s debut book, published in June 2023 by She Writes Press. She lives in Marin County, California with her husband and creative partner since 1980, and their nearly perfect Goldendoodle. Both sons, their wives, and two grandchildren, with another on the way, are thriving in Los Angeles.

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