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jerrywaxler
03-15-2008, 10:36 PM
Blogs are a neat way to share bits of life, memories, and to develop material for a full blown memoir. But even though blogs are available to the world, it's not always easy to know how to find what our fellow writers are posting. So I thought it would be a valuable service to each other if we listed our latest blog entries about Life Story Writing here on this thread.

If you have a blog entry about your life, or about life story writing in general, please reply to this thread and tell us about it.

My blog already contains a year's worth of essays, interviews and book reviews. The blog entry I posted this week was the second part of an interview I did with Bill Strickland, the author of a powerful memoir "Ten Points."

Here's the permalink: (http://memorywritersnetwork.com/blog/memoir-author-talks-about-writing-sharing-and-healing/)

I'm looking forward to swapping tales of life story blogging here.

Best wishes,
Jerry Waxler

Ritergal
03-16-2008, 07:20 PM
The topic of Life Story blogs was the focus of a panel discussion at the recent national Story Circle Network conference in Austin. I was delighted to be asked to sit on the panel to discuss my blog (http://heartandcraft.blogspot.com), which is different from the others. Mine is full of tips, thoughts about writing, and prompts, with some of my own story thrown in. The others are what I'd call Journal Blogs, with entries about comings, going, and the doings of daily life.

The life story blogs I most enjoy reading are the ones with essay type narratives about life in general, not just annotated calendars.

Then there are the totally cool life story blogs like Jerry's which has helpful information and awesome book reviews and author interviews. Any author who happens to catch Jerry's fancy is fortunate indeed.

jerrywaxler
03-18-2008, 03:19 PM
Thanks, Sharon. I love your blog about memoir writing. Since people come to this forum to learn about lifestory writing, I thought it would be great if any lifestory blog writer would leave a link here to let us know not only about the blog in general, but also to give a sentence or two synopsis for every new post to help readers of this forum decide if they want to click through and check it out.

So for example, my post today was a book review about John Robison's memoir "Look me in the eye." Well, it's not exactly a book review, but more a discussion of what an aspiring memoir writing can learn from his book about writing their own. Here's the permalink. (http://memorywritersnetwork.com/blog/how-does-john-robison-end-his-memoir-of-lifelong-learning/)

Jerry

jerrywaxler
03-26-2008, 03:42 PM
While John Robison's life has several unusual features, he is also stuck with the same fact we all are. Life goes by in its petty pace, and finding the story requires some introspective work and creative shaping. In my blog entry today I look at Robison's memoir as a model to help me understand how to transform life into story.

(Yes, it's my second essay about John Robison's memoir "Look me in the Eye."

Jerry

Newport2Newport
03-26-2008, 04:13 PM
If you have a blog entry about your life, or about life story writing in general, please reply to this thread and tell us about it.

Jerry Waxler

Great idea! I'm looking forward to reading other people's comments on this thread.

I blog about my current interests as much as I do about my past. When I post something about my memoir project*, I try to relate it to something current. For instance, I wrote this entry right before Easter:

http://newport2newport.livejournal.com/116335.html?mode=reply

*CAN I GET A WITNESS: Memoir of a Tent Revivalist's Daughter

Antony B
03-26-2008, 04:52 PM
I personally write crime fiction, but I use my blog to draw cartoons about the writing life here (http://anothernovelapproach.blogspot.com/).

I recently posted a three part comic about the desire to give up writing.

Part One (http://anothernovelapproach.blogspot.com/2008/02/tip-tap-part-1.html)
Part Two (http://anothernovelapproach.blogspot.com/2008/03/tip-tap-part-two.html)
Part Three (http://anothernovelapproach.blogspot.com/2008/03/tip-tap-part-three.html)

Leah J. Utas
03-26-2008, 05:51 PM
My Gratitude Monday post was about a very patient dog we had when I was young. with pics. My Friday posts are about growing up with a violent, insane sister and will be in my memoir.

slsherwood
03-27-2008, 10:58 PM
I blogged today about talking about weight with my children who aren't fat as well as a memoir/help book I'm reading about the issue.

My blog tends to be about my memoir, my own weight loss, and about memoir writing in general.

The link is www.fatmansdaughter.com (http://www.fatmansdaughter.com)

I do have the first chapter of the memoir on the blog (a page titled "on the brink"). What do all of you think about that? Should I take it down? Leave it up? Shorten it?

jerrywaxler
04-08-2008, 04:52 PM
To figure out who my audience is, it turns out I need to understand the relationship between books and readers. I know a lot about that since I've been reading my whole life. In this blog, I tease apart the layers of which books I read at different periods of my life, and why.

Jerry

jerrywaxler
04-16-2008, 04:20 PM
I date myself, remembering back to a time when most books were by men, or at least the ones that came my way. As I develop my insights into how to reach an audience, I am learning that writers now have a different approach to gender than they did when I was young. Today I posted an essay on this topic, titled "Keep your memoir in touch with changing gender roles."

(It took me several months to write including 2 rounds of critiquing, so hopefully it's sensitive and fair.)

Jerry

michelle25
04-19-2008, 03:40 AM
Hi Jerry, just thought I'd pop in here 'cause I recently started reading your blog. Tomorrow I'm going to the library to check out that book by Jancee Dunn that you mentioned. I look forward to your future posts :)

jerrywaxler
04-19-2008, 05:01 PM
Hi Jerry, just thought I'd pop in here 'cause I recently started reading your blog. Tomorrow I'm going to the library to check out that book by Jancee Dunn that you mentioned. I look forward to your future posts :)

Hi Michelle,

Thanks for stopping by my blog. But enough about me. :) I started this thread hoping everyone would jump in. It's a way for AbsoluteWrite life story writers to share their wares.

Jerry

jerrywaxler
04-30-2008, 02:31 PM
A few months ago I wrote about how the movie Pursuit of Happyness helped Chris Gardner revise his feelings about the past. In today's essay, I look at the way a documentary movie has a similar effect on its participants

The movie was created by a non-profit company, Kartemquin Films, (you may be familiar with their famous documentary Hoop Dreams about inner city kids playing basketball). The film I wrote about today "Long Time Coming" followed Vietnam vets on a bike ride from Hanoi to Saigon.
Jerry

jerrywaxler
05-06-2008, 03:29 PM
I published an essay based on the memoir "Here If You Need Me" by Kate Braestrup, a book that starts with her loss and then moves on to how she recovers. Since she became a minister and worked with the Maine State Game Wardens, she uses nature as a picturesque backdrop for her stories. It's a lovely book.

I've run into a dry spell on comments - so if you have anything to add, I would appreciate it.

Jerry

jerrywaxler
05-13-2008, 03:48 PM
When I was a kid, a big cop jumped out from between two cars and demanded we let him in. He wanted my dad to help him chase a crook. In today's essay I explore how to use such an anecdote in a memoir. It includes writing prompts if you want to try it yourself.

Jerry

jerrywaxler
05-16-2008, 04:30 PM
I posted another blog this week about things I learned at the bookstore that can help memoir writers. Those brick and mortar buildings still have a few benefits, like for example learning about the book business, and learning what other memoir writers are doing.

Jerry

jerrywaxler
05-21-2008, 04:58 PM
As I look back through the story of my life, one of the most remarkable features is the utter failure to achieve my original goals. This doesn't sound story-worthy so I go back to the books to find other lives that following strange courses, especially while coming of age. In today's essay I give an overview of four such books.

Jerry

Leah J. Utas
05-23-2008, 04:39 PM
Today's Friday's Child post was about my mentally ill sister being a bully and coward.

jerrywaxler
06-05-2008, 03:49 PM
In today's essay, I write about a Vietnam veteran's story, Jim McGarrah's Temporary Sort of Peace. To help me steer through his painful experience, I find deeper lessons in war trauma, thanks to a book on that subject, Achilles in Vietnam by Jonathan Shay. Hopefully the two parts of this essay will inform any memoir writer who is trying to understand the benefit of digging back into painful times to share the story with readers.

Jerry

Lavinia
06-16-2008, 11:27 PM
Hi Jerry- Just found this thread. Great idea. Today's post on my Write Now blog is about a particular food that evokes memories for me. It involves cheese and taco flavored Doritos. ~Karen

jerrywaxler
06-17-2008, 05:17 PM
How cool, Lavinia, that you have jumped in to share your life story posts. I love Absolute Write - I wish there was a little more action in the Life Writing section, so I thought this would be a good excuse for people to stop in, share their stuff, and maybe stick around and offer thoughts and questions about life writing.

Oh, an my latest blog entry is about how I learned about the importance of hair from memoir writer, Henry Louis Gates.

Best wishes,
Jerry

BBShopMom
06-18-2008, 03:31 PM
I just found this thread as well. Thanks to Jerry for a great thread! Hopefully it will get a little more traffic in the Life Writing forum.

My blog is your basic combo of life stories and day to day stuff. Stuff about my kids and general things that happen in my life with some occasional opinion pieces thrown in here and there.

Can't wait to check out your blog Jerry . . I'm very interested in learning more about memoir writing. Second to general history stuff . . it is my favorite genre to read.

jerrywaxler
06-18-2008, 03:45 PM
Hi Bbshopmom,

I checked out your blog. I love it, and feel drawn by the title, "Vocabulary of my Life" - that evokes a lot of neat emotions. As for loving memoir and history, I think memoir IS history. I'm writing an essay about how a memoir ties in with the world. (I think it's the next one I'm going to post.)

Also, by writing stories about your life today, you're developing material for your memoir tomorrow. This is the weird thing about growing older - I start to see the way things develop over time.

By the way, you have a broken RSS link at the bottom of your right hand widgets. I see you are using Wordpress, and I just experienced this EXACT problem last week. Send me a message offline and I'll explain what happened and how to fix it.

Jerry

jerrywaxler
06-19-2008, 03:18 PM
I love picking apart memoirs to lessons about what the author's life can teach me about mine. After finishing the memoir "Colored People" by scholar and television documentarian Henry Louis Gates, I realized how powerful it can be to consciously include social influences in with private ones.

Jerry

Lavinia
06-25-2008, 02:19 AM
Hi BBShopMom- I'll go visit your blog later. Mine is a combination of several things as well. I include information on everything from writing down your family history to my current experience with sending out queries. Of course any successes I experience gets a special post too! I am both a freelance writer and have written books (yet unpublished). Yesterday's post is about the critiques I received from a literary contest I entered. No, I didn't win. But the confusing part is that the critiques were so positive.

I found out something about this contest earlier today and will post about it later. Dang. Who knew I was competing with pros? Not me!

Anyway- Yeah, Jerry, it's too bad this thread is sooo far down. I think it's that more than anything. Plus the "nonfiction" thread snags people and divides it up too. AW is just such a huge place. ~Karen

Lavinia
07-07-2008, 02:39 AM
Posted about a chance encounter between my father ( a WWII veteran) and four little boys. If you think that the youngest generation will never understand what patriotism really is, you'll be encouraged by what the father of these little boys did. Amazing! ~Karen

jerrywaxler
07-15-2008, 03:27 PM
I wrote an essay on my blog today about discovering amazing life
lessons about some mundane experience that happened years ago. Looking
back, I know so much more than I did when I first lived through it.
It's about coming up against an angry guy at work and trying
to figure out how to deal with him. ( (http://memorywritersnetwork.com/blog/lessons-from-conflict/)Here's the link (http://memorywritersnetwork.com/blog/lessons-from-conflict/).) (http://memorywritersnetwork.com/blog/lessons-from-conflict/)

I'd love to hear about other examples that you have
experienced, in which looking back at your memories revealed wisdom
that would not have been able to see at the time.

Jerry

jerrywaxler
08-13-2008, 05:26 PM
I wrote an essay about Greg Mortenson's memoir Three Cups of Tea. It's about a mountain climber who gets lost on his way down from K2, and is helped by a village. In return, he vows to build them a school. This turned into his life work. It's an inspiring memoir, and an ode to world harmony.

Earlier in the week I posted a rewrite on my essay in which I claim that writing a memoir is a valuable tool to help you Be Here Now.

Jerry

jerrywaxler
09-03-2008, 03:43 PM
After I read Doreen Orion's travel memoir, Queen of the Road, I found so many lessons I had to break it into parts. Today's part relates to the way she used companion animals and travel. I also offer some related writing prompts.

Jerry

jerrywaxler
09-15-2008, 03:04 PM
Last week I wrote a blog about the lessons I learned from thriller writer Jonathan Maberry. I realized the current interest in Zombies could help me understand my own character development.

In today's blog, I posted the third installment in my review of Doreen Orion's travel memoir, Queen of the Road.

Jerry

jerrywaxler
09-24-2008, 01:12 AM
I posted an article today about a book "Man on Mao's Right" by Ji Chaozuh. In addition to giving me a ringside seat to some of the most interesting history of the 20th century, it's a good read. It's also one of the few memoirs I've read that involves a ghost-writer. I want to bridge over into understanding how ghost writing works too.

Jerry

jerrywaxler
10-08-2008, 01:18 AM
I wrote an essay about a memoir, Don't Call me Mother by Linda Joy Myers, who had been abandoned by her mother. In the memoir she shares her pain, and yet somehow manages to maintain a safe place for readers, filling her toxic situation with the wisdom that she has gained in the intervening years. If you want to understand how to convey suffering with wisdom, this is an excellent book to learn from.

Jerry

jerrywaxler
10-13-2008, 04:55 PM
Because of our connection with Jenna Glatzer (founder of the wonderful absolutewrite.com writer's board) I read her memoir "Fear is No Longer My Reality" by Jamie Blyth about this amazing hot guy who overcame social anxiety so well he appeared in front of millions of people. It's a great story, and I review it in my blog. In addition, Jenna wrote another book about overcoming social anxiety, which I also discuss in the blog.

Memoir writers can learn a lot from these two books, for one thing because the books use a number of non-standard non-fiction techniques you might find informative, and for another thing, it takes nerve to put your life out in the open. You can learn a lot about your own courage to write by reading about people who struggle with public exposure.

Jerry Waxler

Ritergal
10-17-2008, 04:00 PM
I posted (http://heartandcraft.blogspot.com/2008/10/turkey-farm.html) a few thoughts about The Turkey Farm - Behind the Smile. Jen Keefe's best friend captured this memoir of a nurse on an Alzheimer's unit whose strong spirit of survival and achievement helped her rise above a tough childhood that involved abandonment, betrayal, exploitation, early exposure to drugs, and the brutal murder of her mother when she was ten. The clouds didn't part until years after she was betrayed as an adult by family members and her first husband, but the story is ultimately about a journey to forgiveness and healing, and a tribute to the power of writing in bringing this about.

Ritergal
10-21-2008, 07:57 PM
Polly Kahl's new thread with the link to part 2 (http://heartandcraft.blogspot.com/Part%202%20%20%20http://victimologyblog.blogspot.com/2008/10/part-ii-howard-dully-interview-my.html) of her interview with Howard Dully inspired my post on Secrets (http://heartandcraft.blogspot.com/2008/10/secrets.html)today.

truelyana
10-22-2008, 12:24 AM
The story of my journey in blog formation has only recently started, and it captivates who I am mostly. Feel free to visit www.expressiveworld.com if you feel like reading up on me. :)

jerrywaxler
11-04-2008, 05:40 PM
Last week I posted (http://memorywritersnetwork.com/blog/memoir-fourth-step/) about the relationship between the Twelve Steps and memoir writing. In particular, the Fourth Step requires a "fearless moral inventory" which bears a striking resemblance to what memoir writers do.

This week's post (http://memorywritersnetwork.com/blog/father-son-memoirs-addiction/) is about two memoirs, a matched pair, one by the father and the other by the son. David Sheff's "Beautiful Boy" tells a dad's story about his son's addiction and Nic Sheff's "Tweak" tells the boy's side of the story. It sounds like a gimmick but I found the pair moving and added volumes to my understanding of the social and personal issues of addiction.

Jerry

jerrywaxler
11-25-2008, 04:48 PM
If you are looking for material to help you understand your family history, use the family gathering as a story-gathering feast. I often suggestions on how to do it in the essay I just posted on my blog.

Jerry

jennifer75
12-11-2008, 04:31 AM
If you have a blog entry about your life, or about life story writing in general, please reply to this thread and tell us about it.



How did I not see this thread before????

My blog is my life. From Birth (what I remember...) and will eventually catch up to the present time (or will it). Currently, I'm writing about my childhood and elementary school.

I feel it's written at a decent pace and I'm very excited to take it further.

Check it out. Oh, and if you do check it out, be sure to start with the oldest post. It's chronological for the most part.

jerrywaxler
12-11-2008, 04:39 PM
Hi Jennifer,

It's so wonderful that you are gathering your memoir notes in public on a blog. And also wonderful you shared that fact with us here on Absolute Write. I am just constantly stunned at how this internet world has made it possible to connect on these levels of life story.

Hopefully you'll stop back often to keep us posted.

Jerry

jerrywaxler
12-18-2008, 04:22 PM
I've been pondering the whole notion of Truth in memoirs, and tinkering with an essay on the subject. It's so complex I wasn't sure I would have the nerve to ever publish it, but I finally took the plunge yesterday, called "Are Memoirs True?" - check it out if you have a few minutes.

Jerry

jennifer75
12-18-2008, 08:45 PM
I'm in there now, and so far it has answered a few of my questions regarding how much to tell. Thank you!

This in particular...



Dialogue and events have been recreated from memory and, in some cases, have been compressed to convey the substance of what was said or what occurred.”



I quote you again...



Not everyone agrees with me that Truth can be approximated. Some people seem terrified that they have no way to prove their memory.


Most of the fabulous memoirs out there wouldn't have been written if truth could not be approximated.
I have (will have) a lot of diaglogue that was spoken over eight years ago and for the most part, it's right on.

jerrywaxler
03-21-2009, 07:54 PM
I posted a couple of essays about memoirs on my blog. As is my usual style, both of the last two essays were about what I learned from reading memoirs, and how I applied the lessons to writing my own.

The two most recent blogs are about the memoir Zen and Now by Mark Richardson, which was a memoir about Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.

And Bill Ayers, author of the Vietnam War protest memoir Fugitive Days. Ayers was made famous during the 2008 campaign.

I enjoyed reading both books, and had a good time trying to draw lessons from them.

Jerry

jerrywaxler
05-20-2009, 04:23 PM
I wrote an article about interviewing people whose memory is starting to fade. It's a subject I would have assumed has no hope in it, but after doing some research found that there is still time to gather stories:

http://memorywritersnetwork.com/blog/interviewing-alzheimers/

Jerry

jerrywaxler
05-27-2009, 03:46 PM
In the memoir "Crazy for God" Frank Schaeffer explains how he became a crusader against abortion, and then over time, saw deeper nuances. His beliefs evolved. In the end, the memoir is a fabulous example about how ideas and beliefs change over time.

Jerry

CoriSCapnSkip
06-12-2009, 12:04 PM
A blog might be the best thing for me now and probably I should figure out how to make one.

jerrywaxler
07-28-2009, 03:09 PM
In today's blog, I attempt to answer the age-old question, trying to sort out the difference between memoir and autobiography. Here's the permalink to the essay, http://memorywritersnetwork.com/blog/autobiography-step-memoir/

Hi CoriSCapnSkip, Yes, a blog is a great way to hook up with readers. I think of the blog as a contribution to a sort of web-micro-community. Jerry

jerrywaxler
08-21-2009, 03:29 PM
I reviewed a memoir by Sue William Silverman called "Because I remember terror, father, I remember you" about her sexual abuse as a child. It's pretty intense, the book that is. In my essay I discuss the general issue of writing about stuff we would rather forget.

Here's the permalink: (http://memorywritersnetwork.com/blog/memoir-sexual-abuse/)
http://memorywritersnetwork.com/blog/memoir-sexual-abuse/

Also, I rewrote an essay about why I think memoir writing is like therapy
Here's the permalink to that one: (http://memorywritersnetwork.com/blog/is-writing-a-memoir-therapeutic/)
http://memorywritersnetwork.com/blog/is-writing-a-memoir-therapeutic/

Jerry

jerrywaxler
09-17-2009, 03:29 PM
On my blog today, I posted an essay about how I believe memoir is becoming a genre.

Here's the permalink. (http://memorywritersnetwork.com/blog/memoir-genre/)

Jerry

jerrywaxler
10-14-2009, 04:24 PM
I conducted an interview with the author of "The Sky Begins at your Feet" - the book is about her environmental activism, breast cancer, spirituality, grief. The interviews touch on a number of issues related to writing the memoir.

Here are the permalinks:

http://memorywritersnetwork.com/blog/memoir-spirituality-cancer/
http://memorywritersnetwork.com/blog/memoir-interview-mirriam-goldberg-2/

Jerry

jerrywaxler
11-19-2009, 02:07 AM
Hi Everyone,

I posted an essay on my blog today about the memoir called "American Shaolin" by Matthew Polly. I called today's essay, "Flawed heroes and mechanical body parts: Shaolin Memoir Part 2 (http://memorywritersnetwork.com/blog/flawed-heroes-and-mechanical-body-parts-shaolin-memoir-part-2/)". I hyperlinked to it if you want to read the essay.

Jerry

jerrywaxler
01-06-2010, 04:21 PM
Hi Everyone,

I just posted an author interview (http://memorywritersnetwork.com/blog/matt-polly-interview/) with a guy who dropped out of Princeton to study Kung Fu at the famous Shaolin Temple (yes, the same one made famous by the television show). If you like the interview, try the book. It's an insightful story of a young man searching for himself in China in the 90s. (I wrote three essays on it, in addition to the interview.)

Here's the permalink:
http://memorywritersnetwork.com/blog/matt-polly-interview/

Jerry