Category: Memoir


    EVENTS June 13, 2:00 P.M., King’s Books, Tacoma, Wa. June 18, 6:00 P.M., Darvil’s Bookstore, Orcas Island, Wa. June 20, 2015, 2:00 – 4:00 PM, Griffin’s Books, Friday Harbor, Wa. June 21, 2015, 3:00 PM, Eagle Harbor Books, Bainbridge Island, Wa June 25, 2015, 7:00 P.M., University of Washington Bookstore, Seattle, Wa. July 17, 2015, 7:00 PM, Inklings Bookstore, Yakima, Washington July 18, 2015, Gig Harbor Artfest, Gig Harbor, Wa. July […]

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  • Notes


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  • Finally!

    “Writers think they’ll start off writing with a piece like ‘Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony.’ That’s not how it works. You need to begin with Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.’” I’ve misquoted author Jamie Ford, but you get the gist. Learning how to write well, whether it’s fiction, non-fiction, or poetry, is a long, arduous path. Writing is […]

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  • Why would anyone write a memoir?

    I sometimes wonder why on earth I wanted to write a memoir. Why would anyone want to delve into personal tragedies, pain, struggles. Or, be honest. Be vulnerable. Who wants that? When I first pitched my story about living off the grid in the mountains of southern France, an agent said, “Oh no. It must be more – how you […]

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  • One Year Later

         I’ve reflected on the most powerful memoirs, the ones that stick like oatmeal, those memoirs I’ll always remember.  I loved discovering new books for this project, like my new favorite author, Geoff Dyer. His memoir, which only loosely fits the genre, is Out of Sheer Rage: Wrestling with DH Lawrence. I like Dyers wit, and in fact, his wit and […]

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  • Stepping into the Morass: MFA vs. non-MFA

    Memoirists in blog: Nestor, Sparks, King, Conroy, Patchett, Grealy, Beard Now that I’ve  Read 100 Memoirs in order to write one, I’ve begun to understand the range of memoirs in America’s literary world. I’ve also seen divisions, a blurred definition of “literary,” and people asking if memoir has any value as a genre at all. Some cite St. […]

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  • Honest

    So many books, so many superb memoirs. I recently read two classics, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers, a Pulitzer finalist, and In Pharaoh’s Army by Tobias Wolff. Both men write with clear, distinctive voices which most writers dream of acquiring. Both have a subtle sense of humor; both are earnest and self-effacing. […]

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  • Tahiti

    When you notice a blogger hasn’t written from December through April, you may presume they’re in Tahiti. Or Fiji. Or some equally remote, romantic hide away. But, no I’ve been right here, mostly, at home, writing, tending my family, and watching the pages on the calendar fly by. I’ve started teaching two classes at the […]

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  • Old Fashioned

    Although Betty MacDonald’s old homestead is virtually around the corner from my home in Washington state, I grew up three thousand miles away in Holyoke, Massachusetts where I savored MacDonald’s Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle books. I read the same stories to my daughter. I laughed uncontrollably at the Fred McMurray movie, based on her memoir.  So, I was a […]

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  • Ease

    When memoirists emphasize their childhood suffering (Lit, Glass Castle, Running with Scissors, and so on), we cheer as narrators extricate themselves from unimaginably gruesome settings.  Poignant, profound, truthful, these memoirs make fascinating reads. But, it was a relief to read an equally honest story from a narrator who was neither abused nor neglected, and in […]

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