Denis Ledoux’ new memoir brings sadness and pain (Part Two)

As promised, here is the second part of Denis Ledoux' guest post about memoir writing and his experience writing about his childhood. To refresh your memories about Part One, here is the link. I think all memoir writers will find the second part of his post just as fascinating and instructional. Writing more deeply If I write about them [his parents]in psychological terms, and include something about their woundedness—their earlier trajectory in life—and simply not having the information available to them—to some extent, perhaps due to lack of education and resourcefulness, perhaps due to certain romantic bent, then I am revealing something to the world that my parents may not have wanted me to reveal, to broadcast in a memoir. In writing this book which is clearly my memoir and not theirs but which includes much information about my parents, I feel that, to some extent, I am betraying them. Both my parents are gone now, and yet I have some loyalty to them. Isn’t it incumbent o … [Read more...]

Denis Ledoux’s new memoir brings up sadness and pain (Part One)

While I'm writing a new memoir about aging and what I'm doing to get along during the last years of my life, memoir guru and teacher, Denis Ledoux, is writing a memoir about his early childhood. I very much appreciate his sharing his thoughts about this new project with our Choices readers, in spite of the sadness and pain the writing has brought up. Denis' classic book on memoir writing I've posted Part One of his guest post. I plan to post Part Two one week from today, February 11.   Why Does the Truth Have To Be Coupled with Pain? Part One by  Denis Ledoux My new memoir is about my early years, my childhood. Much about this time in my life has a context that is unique and consequently different from that of my contemporaries. This memoir has a place in the world of memoirs, and I want it to find that place, but it has also brought up some pain which I do not want. My parents were thoughtful and loving people so their behavior towards me is not an issue. I am not … [Read more...]

Thank you, Denis Ledoux

Denis Ledoux, creator of The Memoir Network and a memoir-writing mentor, just posted a wonderful five-star review of my memoir, Leaving the Hall Light On. His words make me feel so proud that I couldn't resist sharing them here. Denis' review: I would have been proud to have written this book. How to add something new to a memoir that has received such a huge and positive response of reviewers? This is a good book that griped me from the beginning. The subject is tragic. Being a widower myself who has gone through his own overwhelming grief, I can attest that Madeline Sharples' observation and her writing of that observation are so accurate. So much here resonated with me. It was hard to read at times as this memoir evoked sorrow for Madeline Sharples (and for me) but it was also supportive to read about the author's journey. Madeline Sharples is clearly a polished writer and it was often a pleasure to read a turn of phrase she had crafted and then to reread it. The book … [Read more...]

Denis Ledoux redux

I'm so happy to have Denis Ledoux return to Choices. His knowledge of all things memoir is priceless. His website The Memoir Network and his books are huge resources for you who are writing memoirs now or about to get ready to start one. I wish I knew Denis when I was writing mine. When Denis was last here, his subject was: Writing Painful Memories: Three Tips To Make It Easier. Today he discusses Writing Your Memoir: This Might Be A Challenge. Without further ado, here's Denis. Writing Your Memoir: This Might Be A Challenge by Denis Ledoux Your initial and perhaps most fundamental challenge as you settle into writing your memoir will probably not be scheduling, nor discipline, nor writing itself although these challenges are not to be dismissed. It is likely to be something more fundamental: Your initial challenge is likely to be how you think about writing and about yourself as a writer! Without addressing this and in a positive way, you are not likely to have an easy ti … [Read more...]

One Lovely Blog Award – paying it forward

I'm paying it forward in thanks for the One Lovely Blog Award I recently received from my dear friend Cate Russell-Cole. It definitely made my day to be included in her list of awardees. And it couldn't have come at a better time. I'm going to pass the award to some of my writing friends who will hopefully take the opportunity to pay it forward as well. Here are the rules: One Lovely Blog Award Rules: 1. I need to thank the person who nominated me. check! 2. Share 7 things about myself that you still may not know. check! 3. Nominate up to 15 bloggers. check! 4. Notify the nominees that I have done so. check! 5. Put the logo of the award on my blog site. check! Now seven things about me that you may not know: I worked as a technical writer/editor and proposal manager in the aerospace industry for thirty years after getting a degree in English. Both my parents were born in eastern Europe Mom from Lithuania, Dad from Poland. They met and fell in love in Chicago, wher … [Read more...]

Tips for leading a conference workshop

Since I participated at the Greater Los Angeles Writers Conference as both a workshop leader and panelist the end of June, it's time to share a post I wrote for The Memoir Network's Writers Blog in early May on this subject. I very much thank The Memoir Network's founder Denis Ledoux for inviting me to write for his great memoir website. Here's the post verbatim: Promoting yourself as a writer Participating in writing conferences, either as a panelist, lecturer, or as a workshop leader is a great way to get your name and book out in public and to network with other writers like you Being a presenter comes with tasks, but the challenge is not impossible. I'd like to offer you some  guidelines to help you be as successful as you can be to: Respond to a presenters' request for proposal, Adhere to a list of conference presenter's guidelines, and Develop a workshop that keeps the promises you proposed in the specified allotted time. I recently co-led a workshop at the Story … [Read more...]

Introducing Denis Ledoux of The Memoir Network

I'm so pleased that Denis Ledoux, founder and president of The Memoir Network, found me. I am now a subscriber to his newsletter and a huge proponent on his thoughts about writing as a way to heal. I am definitely going to mention his guest blog post tomorrow when Eleanor Vincent and I lead a workshop called Telling Healing Stories at the Story Circle Network's writers conference. His network is also on the list of resources we'll give our participants. If you don't know Denis and The Memoir Network, I feel honored to introduce him to you now. Writing Painful Memories: Three Tips To Make It Easier by Denis Ledoux Memoir writing is a generally pleasant experience and, by its very nature, promotes healing and growth. But, there are times in writing when pain arises spontaneously and surprises us or times when we know the experience will be painful even before we start. What to do? Sooner or later, pain seems to come with memoir writing. Sometimes we can handle this pain easily … [Read more...]

Using memoir writing to deal with grief

On Sunday I'll co-lead a workshop called Telling Healing Stories at the Story Circle Network's writers conference in Austin TX. One of our goals for this workshop is provide the tools for our participants to address ways to transform a loss or crisis into readable and inspiring prose. It has been proven that writing is healing, and I happen to think that any creative outlet is beneficial to recovering from a traumatic event in our lives. My son Paul killed himself in September 1999 after a seven-year struggle with bipolar disorder, and I signed up for a writing class three months after his death. We sat in the instructor's living room on couches and big easy chairs in a comfortable and forgiving atmosphere. Each week the instructor told us to write a journal entry. He didn't specify a subject. This was a beginner's class. All he wanted us to do was learn to write like you talk, and to write in a voice that came from deep within our bellies. And then we'd come back the next week … [Read more...]