Memoir resources and upcoming workshops

I first came to memoir as a writer who knew very little about the genre but was beginning to sense that masking what I needed to express in fiction wasn’t going to cut it for much longer. What I experienced growing up seemed to leak into the characters and situations I wrote about; the part of me I had wanted to forget kept clamoring for a voice. As I learned more and more about what memoir could be, I realized the genre was a perfect fit for me.

After one semester in my Masters program at Pacific University in Fiction, I switched to Nonfiction and was able to begin work on my own memoir, When She Comes Back which Motina books published in 2021. Back in my fiction days I never would have predicted I’d become a memoir teacher and editor, or a podcaster who interviews memoir writers and teachers about their approach to story and structure, what they’ve come to understand about their lives, and how writing memoir has impacted their perception and emotional growth. 

This week I got to turn my lens inward again when Lisa Kefauver invited me to be her guest on Grief is a Sneaky Bitch. We talked about what having each of my parents leave was like and why in my memoir I needed to share what they experienced in their childhoods to help the reader understand the legacy of loss in my family. In our conversation we reflected on the adultification that happens when we grow up in disorganized and chaotic households and the importance of honoring with care the versions of us that never got what we deserved: a safe and loving home. I loved talking with Lisa whose podcast is a moving resource for those living with loss.

You can listen here.

All About Memoir One-Day Virtual Retreat

I’m thrilled to be joining Bianca Marais of The Shit No One Tells You About Writing on the 11th of May from 10am-5pm ET to teach a workshop as she hosts a one-day virtual retreat specifically for memoirists! My session is Putting the Plot in Your Memoir and we’ll explore how to know whether you have one, tools to help eliminate baggy parts of your manuscript, and four key elements memoirists can harness to amplify tension and stakes in their manuscripts so they crackle with resonance and momentum.

Speakers include:

• Catherine Gildiner – Author of Too Close to the Falls, After the Falls, Coming Ashore and Good Morning, Monster: Five Heroic Journeys to Recovery.

• Chelsea Devantez – Emmy-nominated writer, comedian, and filmmaker. Author of the upcoming memoir, I Shouldn’t Be Telling You This (But I’m Going to Anyway).

• Courtney Maum – Author of five books, including the game changing publishing guide, Before and After the Book Deal,and the memoir, The Year of the Horses.

• Bonny Reichert – Award-winning journalist, chef, and author of the upcoming memoir, How to Share an Egg: A True Story of Hunger, Love and Plenty.

• Abby Maslin – Bestselling author of the memoir, Love You Hard, and a contributing essayist in Moms Don’t Have Time to Have Kids.

• Ronit Plank – Award-winning writer, teacher, and podcaster who hosts Let’s Talk Memoir. Author of the memoir, WhenShe Comes Back and the short story collection Home is a Made-Up Place.

Each 40-minute session will be followed by a 20-minute Q & A in which delegates get to ask the presenters all their burning questions. The retreat will be taped, and the recording will be sent out the next day. The registration fee is US $ 149.00

For more information and to register, go to this link and mention I sent you.

My May Memoir-Ask-Me-Anything

On May 7th Lisa Kefauver, MSW and host of Grief is a Sneaky Bitch joins me for a Memoir Ask-Me-Anything. Have burning questions about writing your story? Wonder if writing memoir can be a generous act? Want tips on how to get started? Join us for an interactive session where you can ask anything related to memoir writing. We’ll begin the hour with the impact on healing memoir can have then we’ll open the floor to your questions. Mark your calendar and don’t miss this opportunity to get valuable guidance and support at this free event! Register here.

New episode!

There are now 88 episodes of Let’s Talk Memoir available packed with advice on voice, structure, plot, tension, ethics, publishing, revision, and more. This week on the podcast, memoirist and book coach Suzette Mullen joins me for a conversation about discovering where to begin by getting to the end of our manuscripts, the revision process as revelatory, the effect our memoirs have on loved ones, leaning on trusted readers and writers, her work as a nonfiction book coach, and her coming of age and coming out memoir The Only Way Through is Out.

You can listen here.

Memoir Questions and Concerns

I’ve got lots more good stuff coming, so be sure you’ve subscribed to this Substack and to Let’s Talk Memoir on your favorite podcast platform. And if you have a memoir concern you’d like me to address on the podcast or here in this newsletter, please send me a message. I’d love to feature your question.

Thank you for being here and if you know a writer who is memoir curious and would enjoy my resources, please share away!