Filmmaker Reed Harkness of Sam Now is my guest

My latest guest on Let’s Talk Memoir is Reed Harkness whose new documentary is Sam Now which traces Reed and his younger brother Sam as they set off to find out why their mother has gone missing and uncover truths neither of them expects. A story about generational trauma, masculinity, vulnerability, and family, Sam Now is very much a memoir in film. You can learn more about Sam Now and how to stream it here:

In this episode, we also talk about choosing to move into discomfort in service of sharing the truth, how we as creators can know what’s ours to tell, and Reed shares what he’s learned about vulnerability from documenting 25 years of his family’s story.

You can listen to this episode of Let’s Talk Memoir here:

When She Comes Back turns 2!

Talking with Reed about his family reminded me of the ways kids with insecure parental attachment experience their ability to love and be loved. Though Reed and his brothers are younger than me, grew up across the country from where I lived, and their mom left for different reasons than mine, we have some of the effects of parental loss in common. These early experiences leave their mark and each of us try to make sense of them in our work. His is in film, mine is the memoir WHEN SHE COMES BACK, which turned two this month. (Photo by Elizabeth Heise)

Writing WHEN SHE COMES BACK helped me understand more about how first my father and then my mother were able to leave when I was a kid. It gave me a way to make sense of the anxiety I experienced when I was young and my lifelong need to try and control whatever I could. It also helped me uncover the origins of the inherent fear I had that I wasn’t good enough; when kids see their parents leave, they often grow up doubting anyone will find them worth sticking around for.

My memoir is about losing the person your life revolves around, coming of age in the 80s, struggling with body image in the era of the first supermodels, being raised by a single dad, and how we try to hold onto our worth when the people we need most leave.In this book I also got to explore a bit about the guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh who my mother followed to India and then to Oregon, and the different ways people forfeit their power. Coercive control happens – is happening – all the time, in organizations and “spiritual” movements, and when parents give up their voice in service to that, children pay the price.  You can learn more about WHEN SHE COMES BACK here:

My second book Home is a Made-Up Place

My short story collection HOME IS A MADE-UP PLACE which won Hidden River Arts’ Eludia Award was released in February, and in March, April, and May I got to do book events in Seattle, New York, Connecticut, and San Diego. Meeting readers and being in conversation with writers like Kathy Curto, Victoria Buitron, Laurel Peterson, and Sandi Wisenberg made for an exciting and fulfilling spring and I’m grateful to the venues who held these events.

You can learn more about the stories in this collection and purchase HOME IS A MADE-UP PLACE here:

Season 3 of Let’s Talk Memoir

I’m so pleased to announce there are now 45 episodes of Let’s Talk Memoir, a podcast dedicated to writing and reading memoir, the writing life, and the nuts and bolts of crafting memoir narratives that stay true to our vision for our work.

This season, I’ve had the pleasure of talking with a wide range of guests including Maggie Smith, Beth Kephart, Camille Dungy, and Suzanne Roberts, about many facets of memoir writing. You can find all the episodes for both season 1 and 2 at this link:

Season 2 is now wrapped and will be on a hiatus over the summer with a September return for season 3.

To find resources and updates about the show you can follow me at my Instagram and on Facebook.

Thank you for your interest in and support of my work, I am so very grateful. I hope your summer is a good one and you are able to carve out time to do some of what you love.