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...]

5,509 total views, 2 views today

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 tim … [Read more...]

4,304 total views, no views today

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...]

11,802 total views, no views today

Telling Healing Stories Resources

Eleanor Vincent and I had a great time last week presenting our Telling Healing Stories workshop at the Story Circle Network Writers Conference in Austin Texas. I'll be sharing about the experience in the weeks to come here and at The Memoir Network. In the meantime I thought you'd be interested in the list of resources we offered our workshop participants. Hopefully they will be useful to you. TELLING HEALING STORIES RESOURCES BOOKS Writing Resources Sheila Bender, Writing Personal Essays Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way Natalie Goldberg, Writing Down the Bones Vivian Gornick, The Situation and the Story Stephen King, On Writing Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird Denis Ledoux, Turning Memories into Memoirs Sharon M. Lippincott, The Heart and Craft of Lifestory Writing, The Heart and Craft of Writing Compelling Description Deena Metzger, Writing for Your Life Maureen Murdock, Unreliable Truth Nan Merrick Phifer, Memoirs of the Soul Becca Puglisi and Angela Ackerman, The Emotion T … [Read more...]

12,885 total views, 4 views today

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...]

120,016 total views, no views today

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...]

4,452 total views, no views today