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Program, February March All-Chicago Play Project Correspondence, programs, and promotional materials, April May 4. Chicago Next: Performance Series. Promotional material, reviews and clippings, July August 3. Peyote Roadkill by William Harper. Promotional material and reviews, June Contracts and correspondence, September Betawulf conceived and directed by Thomas Riccio.
Budget, December January Contact list, reviews and clippings, November-December Postcard and program, March Program, May Been Taken by Roger Heddin. Program and reviews, October November. The Seed Show 2 , conceived and directed by Michael Gellman. Budget and contracts, February March 2. The Seed Show 2. Programs, promotional material, and reviews and clippings, February March 2. Program and promotional material, April Candyland by Sharon Evans, a Live Bait production. Correspondence and contract, April Program, promotional material, and reviews and press release, April Reconstructing the Temple from Memory written and directed by Michael Meyers.
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Review, December January. Role Play by Eric Berg.
Who Goes There? Reviews, September. Program and reviews, November. The Willies written and performed by Jenny Magnus. Program and reviews, October November Review, November. Review, September. Macabaret by Scott Keys and Robert Hartmann. Review, October. Review, December. Review, January. Program, press release, reviews, December. Pericles, Prince of Tyre by William Shakespeare. Review, January-February. Program, notes, and audience questionnaire, March Correspondence and notes, June Script with promotional material, July Script and correspondence, July Ciao Eddie by Kurt Hoogstraat. Script, programs, and correspondence, September Bleacher Bums by Joe Mantegna et.
Scripts one marked with some line cuts and the other published by Dramatic Publishing Company, Scripts, 2 copies, both marked with line cuts and staging notes, Prompt script with line cuts, changes, score, rehearsal and performance schedule, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Script edited for television, WTTW production, marked with penciled cuts and staging notes, Heat by Richard Fire and Geoffrey Doyle.
Script marked with line changes and cuts, Script marked with line cuts and changes, title page heavily marked with penciled notes, with contact list and rehearsal schedule, Prompt script with scene breakdowns, cue sheets, and staging, Betawulf adapted by Thomas Riccio. Prompt script with outline, cast list, contact lists, schedules, set renderings, notes, staging, score, Swamp Foxes. Prompt script, contact list, sound and light cues, prop lists, schedules, Script with some promotional material, M by Fritz Lang.
Xerox of screenplay , [This screenplay was filed with scripts from M: The Murderer , ]. Script draft, May. Scripts, unmarked typescript and published copy Element Theater Press, Nostalgia by Huynh Quang Nhoung. Madelon Sprengnether, Shapeshifting, Daily Beast, New research shows that memory may be the most unreliable narrator of all. But what seems like bad news for memoirists may turn out to be their new best friend. I credit the process of memory retrieval—which keeps subtly altering and updating the past in the light of the present—with this surprising and unanticipated result.
Oliver Sachs's fascinating long essay in the New York Review of Books on the nature of memory--how we remember, misremember, and construct memories -- and borrow from what we read. Elsewhere, he wrote "We have, each of us, a life-story, an inner narrative — whose continuity, whose sense, is our lives. It might be said that each of us constructs and lives, a 'narrative,' and that this narrative is us, our identities. If we wish to know about a man, we ask 'what is his story — his real, inmost story? Each of us is a singular narrative, which is constructed, continually, unconsciously, by, through, and in us — through our perceptions, our feelings, our thoughts, our actions; and, not least, our discourse, our spoken narrations.
Biologically, physiologically, we are not so different from each other; historically, as narratives — we are each of us unique. Baycrest Health Sciences, Why is it that some people have richly detailed recollection of past experiences episodic memory , while others tend to remember just the facts without details semantic memory? New research shows that the tendency to remember episodic details versus facts is reflected in intrinsic brain patterns.
Those who endorsed richly-detailed autobiographical memories had higher medial temporal lobe connectivity to regions at the back of the brain involved in visual processes, whereas those tending to recall the past in a factual manner minus the rich details showed higher medial temporal lobe connectivity to areas at the front of the brain involved in organization and reasoning.
These life-long 'memory traits' are the reason some people have richly detailed recollections episodic memory while others can recall facts but little detail semantic memory. They see the events of their lives as connected by the central participation of a single, continuing character Some are constantly telling their daily experiences to others in a storying way and with great gusto. They are drifting ever further off the truth. Or are they different chapters?
Whenever his grandmother told the story about the man with four dogs, the story changed, depending on the audience. And whenever Delgado gets writer's block, he thinks about that audience, because " it helps to remember that a story exists to connect one person to another, for however briefly. An interesting series, worth reading. And while those memoirs might undermine the ones we've written, they also might just improve on them. They are the product of what happened originally and everything that has happened since. The accuracy of our memories is not measured in how vivid they are or in how certain you are that they are correct.
Memory is constructed and reconstructed. If any one faculty of our nature may be called more wonderful than the rest, I do think it is memory. There seems something more speakingly incomprehensible in the powers, the failures, the inequalities of memory, than in any other of our intelligences. The memory is sometimes so retentive, so serviceable, so obedient; at others, so bewildered and so weak; and at others again, so tyrannic, so beyond control! We are, to be sure, a miracle every way; but our powers of recollecting and of forgetting do seem peculiarly past finding out.
We remember a vivid person, a remark, a sight that was unexpected, an occasion on which we felt something profoundly. The rest falls away. We become more exalted in our memories than we actually were, or less so. The interior stories we tell about ourselves rarely agree with the truth. People do it all the time: they destroy papers; they leave instructions in their wills for letters to be burned.
In the novel So Long, See You Tomorrow , William Maxwell writes, 'Too many conflicting emotional interests are involved for life ever to be wholly acceptable, and possibly it is the work of the storyteller to rearrange things so that they conform to this end. In any case, in talking about the past we lie with every breath we draw. Caro on the means and ends of power. The trouble lies with biography itself.
It imposes conditions, and those conditions are that it must be based upon fact. I disagree. Facts are simply the medium, as paint is to the painter. Of course, most painters succeed as artisans, not artists, and so do most biographers. To rise above craftsmanship, one must work with abundant, varied and complicated facts.
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Chernow does that, presenting research that bulks Grant to nearly 1, pages of narrative. It allows him to write a rich and sensitive portrait of the inner Grant — from reluctant West Point cadet to civilian failure to triumphant general. And ultimately, to pull it off well, and to paint a picture of a living, breathing character, requires some of the skills of a novelist The point of a biography is an obsession with understanding someone else. The journals, I had convinced myself, were a deliberate if unacknowledged communion between subject and biographer.
Letters—at least the kind that writers write—are journals addressed to someone else. However self-conscious, however contrived in tone, they are addressed to a recipient—an Other. The monologue becomes a dialogue. As the eavesdropper, I was less confident about my rights. An all-too common pitfall is when a biographer relies too heavily on research, oversaturation with quotes, letters, that hijack the biography into becoming a bloodless document.
The Little Man With The Magic Pencil
And Part 2 Academics, says T. Stiles, have largely abandoned the profession for fear of being accused of endorsing the parochial great man view of history. By comparison, a snug cubicle in a history or English department, and a benefits package, begins to look mighty attractive. I've just skimmed the surface of the second piece, here. That few material facts are known about Nat Turner has not stopped writers of various backgrounds from imagining his life.
In some cases, this dearth of information has spurred them on. Now, he turns to memoir. Contracted to write it when he was just 25, he used techniques learned from Richard Holmes and Richard Ellmann to produce a biography that read like a novel. Voice, dramatized dialogue, atmospheric scene setting—these are techniques that can make a biography vivid and memorable.
But getting them right depends upon prodigious feats of detail-mongering. Schwartz suffered from bipolar disorder: his life was a tragic story of immense promise unfulfilled. Later, Atlas was diagnosed with the same illness. In this essay as in his book, he apparently takes this on honestly. A good role model for us all. The challenge was to keep the two worlds in sync. On the glut of overlong biographies. Does any figure—even one as interesting as Orson Welles—really warrant 1, pages of investigation?
Donaldson is writing about his own experience writing biographies of Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, John Cheever, Archibald MacLeish, Edwin Arlington Robinson, Winfield Townley Scott, and Charlie Fenton, but the book is loaded with insights into the process and the sometimes legal complications of writing biography, including legal problems discussed in his interesting case studies.
Only Indians lived there. This focuses on the good ones. Among other interesting points: "Where letters have been a vital source for literary biographers, with all their ostentatious revelation and pronouncement, the smaller, casual intimacies of emails, which are increasingly being donated to public archives — Harold Pinter's and Wendy Cope's to the British Library — will offer insights that might, accidentally, be even more enlightening than a stash of letters can be.
How do you pin a life to the page? Wilson, biographer of Tolstoy, C. A mystery exists at the heart of all literary biography: How does the mush of experience get turned into glittering artifact? America , by looking at maps, by studying visual images, and other sources beyond traditional archives. Explore this website and you'll find audio recordings of many interesting academic talks and some transcripts. But thanks to a number of striking innovations, the patient has made a complete recovery.
Alison Flood, The Guardian, When you can get so much from Wikipedia, is the market for biography declining? Kathryn Holeywell, organizer of a British conference of writers and academics on how biography should evolve in the age of the internet and Wikipedia, "believes there has been a shift in biography away from traditional 'life' narratives to what she is calling 'partial lives,' stories that look at a group, a particular event or an age. In recent years, the UK's major non-fiction prize, the Samuel Johnson award, has gone to a range of innovative, sideways takes on biography rather than cradle-to-grave narratives.
In Nocera's view, Walter Isaacson's biography of Steve Jobs, written about a difficult man who was dying in his presence, lacks the distance that would have given him a chance not just to recount the life but to evaluate it. Given the perspective of more time, someone else or Isaacson later can try to "make sense of it. Rockefeller to George Washington, and how their public reputations often concealed a far more interesting private person An artificial logic imposed on an 'incoherent succession of images'?
What manifests as suspense on the page feels disconcertingly like anxiety in real life. Joseph Thomas, Slate, His censorious estate. And yet my latest subject, Krystyna Skarbek, aka Christine Granville, has taught me to respect her freedom too Kate Buford's interview with him, yields gold: " A first-rate popular biography leaves readers feeling they know everything they need to know. A first-rate academic biography leaves readers feeling they know everything there is to know. Excellent insight into the life of Penelope Fitzgerald and the writing of her biography. Read this especially if you feel you've had a run of bad luck.
Jamie's practical observations about writing biography, such as what's hot, how to make money, what he thinks about academic publishers and self-publishing, etc. Although many writers leave instructions regarding posthumous publication and designate official biographers, conflicting interests between heirs and the public often overturn the expressed wishes of the deceased, writes Hamilton.
God, what goes on there under his eyes? When writer AD Harvey invented an meeting between Dickens and Dostoevsky, it was for years accepted as fact. So why did he do it — and why did he also create a series of fake academic identities? Fascinating profile of a man whose speed at finishing his dissertation and publishing a book made him suspect in academia. Rockefeller recommends that students of biography read Churchill's book about Monroe. She shows persuasively, and with flair, that not every biography of Monroe can be true in all the details, because they contradict each other profoundly.
Her book will burn into students' minds the lesson that biographical truth should never be taken for granted. Greene James Nye, Daily Mail, , illustrated with photos. Fashion and celebrity photographer Milton H. Greene was only 26 years old when he photographed Marilyn Monroe for Look magazine. He went on to take thousands of photos of the Hollywood siren, capturing both her vulnerability and her sex-bomb persona.
Carl Rollyson wrote: "a fascinating study of biography as a genre and why it has incurred so much hostility. Parker's process arrives to the truth of the matter in a field littered with the rambling surmises of New Critics hoping to eradicate authorial insight in favor of critical skewerings. Parker not only stands for the tried and true ways of literary tradition, but also embraces the potential of the Internet and blogging to enable the potential of new information as well as finding new ways to reach an audience that continues to expand generation after generation. Excellent New Yorker essay, The Historical Romance: Edmund Wilson's Adventures with Communism , in which Menand writes: "Intuitive knowledge—the sense of what life was like when we were not there to experience it—is precisely the knowledge we seek.
It is the true positive of historical work. Birzer, The Imaginative Conservative, Biography, it seems, carried about as much weight in the scholarly world as did a People magazine article. She learned a lot about her grandmother through her biographer's research. She would never have learned it herself, she says; you don't think about investigating your grandmother. Ian Ker Oxford University Press blog, on writing academic critical biographies -- which capture the subject's intellectual and literary lives: G.
Dwight Garner, reviewing T. Stiles accusing Edward J. Renehan Jr. Ross wrote this now-classic fly-on-the-wall "profile" after following Hemingway for two days while he and his wife Mary were stopping over in New York enroute to Venice. It was a model others, including Gay Talese, would follow. Johnson's life. Interesting on the process of writing a biography.
Johnson, she stayed at his Texas ranch Jobs was dying of cancer Contemporary biography has always been a tricky balancing act, even before Paula Broadwell demonstrated with her book about David H. Petraeus how the scales can tip decisively the wrong way. Look at the slideshow of Caro's painstaking process , especially slides 7 through Lyndall Gordon anticipates a new 'golden age' of biography: "If biography is ever to shape an art of its own, it will have to surrender the swollen tome of "definitive biography" We need to co-opt the narrative momentum of stories, the inward intensity of poetry, and the speed of drama, without surrendering the authenticity that is biography's distinct advantage.
What happens when a biographer learns about potentially explosive information after the book is finished. Unidentified key players are the bane of biographers, who cannot resist the urge to tie all the knots. After publication, Sachs receives information about one such player from a reader fluent in genealogical research--and also learns he should have gone down one peripheral path of research he had chosen not to pursue. By redacting all documents, no matter how benign, the government is throwing its past down the memory hole.
Supreme Court, What he did about a controversial quotation that left an unwarranted blot on the life and legacy of Justice Clark. In earlier days, biographies were created a variety of forms and with different purposes from today: to edify and instruct, to counsel and polemicize. With a memoir, they can talk about what they related to in the story.
And when done right with truth it satisfies our craving for authenticity. But there are a hell of a lot of facts, and the more time I spent in the Johnson library, the more facts I got. The more facts you get, the closer you come to whatever truth there is. If the searing emotionalism found in the work of most repeat memoirists Angelou, Augusten Burroughs, Mary Karr, Jamaica Kincaid, Joyce Maynard, Frank McCourt, Lauren Slater would seem to have been generated by forces other than those fueling writers who, at the end of, or well into, their careers, tack on a few autobiographical works to their oeuvres Diana Athill, Gore Vidal , one quality unites all these writers.
Their lingua franca is candor. Save money on therapy. Write your life story. Styron is author of the memoir Reading My Father , and Kathryn Harrison, author of the memoir The Kiss , about dealing with memoir characters who really exist and other challenges. Are family loyalty and literary integrity necessarily at odds? The story can become less authentic. And there are other potential pitfalls to writing your life story. Writers can be thrown into despair if they have trouble reconciling past failures or placing traumatic events into a larger context.
People who can construct cohesive life narratives—where there are common threads and one event leads to the next—are likely to benefit from writing a memoir, he says, while those who view their lives as a series of random, unrelated events are not. His research has found that life narratives are especially beneficial if they focus on redemption and overcoming adversity. But secrets foster a specific version of reality in which the individual pieces have to be arranged in a particular way, fitting so neatly together that if just one were to change position, the whole picture would fall apart.
Suddenly you are not who you thought you were. And then who are you? They speak of a fear of rejection, a fear of criticism, a fear of backlash, a fear of failure. What I always say to these women is, 'If you can't do it for yourself, please do it for your sisters. Please write your story in the world, for the benefit of other women.
Lakin, on Jane Friedman's blog, Choose the type of voice that best suits the story you are telling. Avoid sounding whiny or looking for sympathy it's annoying. And "I have grown to understand that people have their own ideas of who and what I ought to be, wounded victim or heroic survivor.
They may enjoy the attention or be enraged by it. Stalled, with three unsatisfactory manuscripts in a drawer and an MFA in creative writing, Herron discovered through NaNoWriMo National Novel Writing Month that her best process was to write a "fast terrible [but revisable] draft," a process that she found worked for both memoirs and novels. Who cares? What's the conflict to be resolved? Are you believable? What's your platform how people know you and why they will listen to you?
Jack Smith, The Writer, A long miscellany of observations about what makes some memoirs rise above the crowd, and some things seem to stand out: Voice is important, the quota for memoirs of abusive relationships has been filled, and you want to do more than tell the cumulative little stories of your life -- you want to tell your story in such a way that it resonates for the reader, who wants to keep reading.
It has to be about more than you. People have come to Finnegan to say that, really, Barbarian Days is not about surfing but about love or obsession or how to live. I later learned that memoirs in general sell better than investigative journalism. How many secrets can be exposed? What if the truth is not as you remember it? They're all valid questions without easy answers, because it all depends on who you ask—and Maran Why We Write asked some heavy hitters.
But to me, all these things are artificial. Life is lived in a much messier way. Our experience of life is messier than an arc with a before and after. How do they handle telling stories that might not be entirely theirs? Reedsy is a site where self-publishing authors can find developmental editors, other kinds of editors, ghostwriters, book cover designers, publicists, and translators.
By "nobodies" Adams means those who are neither generals, statesmen, nor celebrities. Frank McCourt and Mary Karr were the breakout nobodies who spawned many imitators. Adams sees 's memoirs as falling into three groups: the childhood memoir "incestuous, abusive, alcoholic, impoverished, minority, "normal," and the occasional privileged" ; the memoir of physical catastrophe "violence, quadriplegia, amputation, disease, death" ; and memoirs of mental catastrophe "madness, addiction, alcoholism, anorexia, brain damage".
It is an exploration into a family's past, a relentless hunt that unearths buried secrets with multiple layers and the uncertain motives of their keepers, and one son's attempt to fully understand the details and meaning of what has been hidden. From mental institutions to the Holocaust, from mothers and fathers to children and childhood, with its mysteries, sadness and joy--this book is one emotional ride.
They can serve as springboards for those seeking higher office - and bridge-burners for those riding off into the sunset. Kojo explores the art of the political memoir - and what makes the great ones memorable and the poor ones forgettable. End-of-career books tend to be the best because they're not campaign documents. Even if we "let it go and die with our ungrammatical pants down, the pertinent thing to remember is that in writing for our family our goal is not excellence so much as authenticity.
What's she really like With each biography the challenge has been to answer the question John F. Kennedy posed when he said, "What makes journalism so fascinating and biography so interesting is the struggle to answer the question: 'What's he like? Without having to follow the dictates of the subject, the unauthorized biographer has a much better chance to penetrate the manufactured public image, which is crucial.
For, to quote President Kennedy again, "The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie — deliberate, contrived and dishonest — but the myth — persistent, persuasive and unrealistic. Concludes with her book list of fictional memoirs, some of which are memoirs that are not quite nonfiction, others of which are stories of other people posing as memoirs. Just listening to these interviews may be a memoir-writing course in itself. Check out Kephart's book Handling the Truth: On the Writing of Memoir "I think we have to stop imprisoning memoirs in marketing categories.
Wince-inducing but maybe it's easier if you've incorporated parts of them into your memoirs. Liu, Wired, Sophie Roell, The Browser, via Salon. Legendary critic and memoirist Calvin Trillin discusses his favorite books of the genre. What may be different about a lot of the recent memoirs is the writers are not necessarily well known. Christina Haag, WSJ I once heard writing fiction described as planting a garden in the desert, and memoir as weeding in the jungle. What I experienced was more akin to chiseling, as if all that had happened was stone, and I had only faith and a small bit of metal to find the shape, to tap out the places where meaning might lie.
Invariably, to jot things down, I learned to carry a pen and index card with me wherever I went—even on beach walks clad only in a bikini. Times, , on people from our past banging on our cyberdoors, looking to set us straight on our memories. We take half-remembered events and stitch them together to form a larger story that will, we hope, resonate with others and help them make sense of their own scraps. A first thing to ask yourself about personal narrative is: What portion of my experience will resonate with other people?
The Fry Chronicles. Stephen Fry twitter address: StephenFry , as Fast Company puts it, transforms how we read by producing the first book truly designed for the Internet his memoirs. Sanford Dody's own memoir of ghostwriting: Giving Up the Ghost James Birrens' brainchild. Structured memoir writing, two pages at a time, on a different theme each week, including branching points in life, family, health and body, sexuality, spirituality, work, death--and sharing those pieces aloud in small groups.
I got instructor training through Cheryl Svensson when she and Anita Reyes taught together. There are many local workshops and some online: I love teaching it and participants seem to love it too. It tends to draw an older group, or younger adults at a stage of life crisis or soul-searching. Now it's of Everyman. Tristram Hunt, The Observer, Excellent essay.
Writing not only plays fast and loose with the past; it hijacks the past.
Which may be why we put the past to paper. We want it hijacked What we want is a narrative, not a log; a tale, not a trial. This is why most people write memoirs using the conventions not of history, but of fiction. The more you can yank yourself away from your own intimacy with yourself, the more reliable your self-awareness is likely to be We should see ourselves as literary critics, putting each incident in the perspective of a longer life story. The narrative form is a more supple way of understanding human processes, even unconscious ones, than rationalistic analysis.
See her website: Center for Journal Therapy. What's Yours? It's an act of memory. Pick at your memories. An interesting read. Proceeds from the sale of an anthology I Speak From My Palms: The In Visible Memoirs Project Anthology help support the In Visible Memoirs Project, a project of no-cost, community-based writing workshops in communities underrepresented in literary publishing and programs. How can we achieve both uniqueness and universality? Another challenge: dealing with characters who really exist. How can we maintain our real-life relationships without compromising the stories we need to tell?
Memoirists Sarah Saffian, Alexandra Styron, and Kathryn Harrison discuss these issues, in pursuit of a form of expression that we can support as both authors and daughters. What was missing and forgotten was less often crucial or even trivial details of events than the events themselves, gone in their entirety.
They alert us, calm us, reach toward us. They say implicitly, Yes, I have hoped, and yes, I have wanted, and I know that you have, too. Can a memoirist write with total honesty if she is worried about what her son might think? Christina Patterson, The Independent, Sharon Olds' account of her marital break-up made her a deserved TS Eliot winner.
But that doesn't mean confessional poetry is easy to pull off. Confessional poetry, says critic Mack Rosenthal, is poetry that "goes beyond customary bounds of reticence or personal embarrassment. Or how not to write a grief memoir, in her view. Should Joyce Carol Oates have revealed her second marriage? Tempest in a teapot? David L. Ulin, Jacket Copy blog, L. Two of the writers withheld important facts and wound up producing inferior books; the writer who held nothing back produced a masterpiece.
Joan Didion "understands that if you want to write about yourself, you have to give them something. Actually, Didion understands a far larger and deeper and darker truth. She understands that if you want to write about your grief, you have to give them everything. My favorite: Ernest Hemingway's "For Sale: baby shoes, never worn. Elsewhere, he writes "One of the saddest sentences I know is I wish I had asked my mother about that.
I wish I had asked my father about that. Writers are the custodians of memory so it's extremely important to get to people, interview your parents, your grandparents. Don't worry what anybody else thinks. The important thing is to be a recorder of the past. But it's very important work, I think, writing family history, whether anyone ever sees it or not. Stiles, Yahoo! Scott Raab's article for Esquire, based on an interview with the novelist in the town that provided the setting for so much of his fiction, is a Notable Narrative, as featured on Nieman Storyboard: Esquire goes home with Philip Roth Plot Twist : Philip Carlo, true crime writer with Lou Gehrig's disease, is working on his memoir.
His deadline: his own death. And therein, to me, lies the privilege and also the challenge of teaching how to write memoir. Anybody and everybody are writing memoirs these days. Before you join the crowd, suggests Genzlinger, in reviewing four memoirs. Don't write for sympathy.
Don't be a copy cat. And consider making yourself the "least important character" in the story. It makes its interest in readers explicit, offering not just a series of life events, but a deliberate suggestion of what it is to be a human being — to experience confusion, despair, hope, joy, and all that happens in between.
Secrets of Memoir panel. Six-word memoirs hosted by Smith, a personal stories magazine. One life. Six words. What's yours? Six word memoirs on love and heartbreak. Everyone has a story to tell. The Slate Diaries. A collection of some of the "diaries" published by Slate the online literary magazines.
Speak Memory. Oliver Sachs's fascinating long essay in the New York Review of Books on the nature of memory-- how we remember, misremember, and construct memories -- and borrow from what we read! She learned that obsessive precision is not the greatest quality in a would-be memoirist. When Sting did this, his creativity was reborn. Songs exploded from his head. More should do so because artists write about what matters to artists, so it is helpful to new artists. A Story Circle is a group of women who come together on a regular basis to write, read, share, and celebrate the stories of their lives.
Clearly the method can be adapted to other types of groups. I was ecstatic when I sold a book about my sordid first marriage. I would only be pretending to be at peace with my past and ready to share its lessons with the world. I thought becoming a writer was a Cinderella, all-or-nothing type deal. But it turns out to be more of a Velveteen Rabbit situation. The Thing About Life Is That One Day You'll Be Dead , David Shields' excellent autobiography of his body, is a fascinating little book about life and death and about what's happening to your body enroute from one to the other.
Don't read it if you don't want to hear the bad news, but it does help explain things like why you have to make more trips to the bathroom as you age. Rules for the much-maligned form. In brief but read the article! Part 1 by Matilda Butler, Women's Memoirs blog, about truth being affected by relative age and wisdom ; Part 2 about differences in vantage points and information ; and Part 3 about the difference between two people's emotional truths. Writers wrote them, of course, but rarely did they become known for the memoir alone JR Ackerley and Laurie Lee may be two exceptions.
Publishers and readers thought instead of "autobiographies", in which intimate personal disclosure took a back seat to records of achievement. The boundary between the two forms is blurred and bridgeable: VS Pritchett's wonderful account of his early life, A Cab at the Door, was described as "autobiography" when it first appeared in , whereas now it would have "memoir" written all over it. Gore Vidal explained the difference in this way: "A memoir is how one remembers one's own life, while an autobiography is history, requiring research, dates, facts double-checked.
More important, by stressing subjective, unverified memory it permits the memoirist to misremember and, unconsciously or otherwise, to embroider and invent — an indulgence, it has to be said, that Athill has never been interested to take. It was liberating to write so truthfully. It was also effective. My teacher finally smiled at me, and he said my words held wisdom.
Traversing the Mystery of Memory by Richard A. Friedman NY Times, About the accuracy of nostalgia and how the brain records memories. Friedman concludes: "if anything marks us as human, it's more our bent for making sense of things than for discovering the essential truth about them. For example: "The single biggest change in recent years has been the dramatic drop in advances for most biographies. While this may seem shortsighted in the long run, it makes financial sense when considering the declining state of books.
Biographies, like most forms of nonfiction, have a hard time earning back the kind of money necessary to research and write them. The story part book, part film, part family photo album of Pine Point, a mining town that existed only long enough to give a generation or two some memories--and was then erased from the map.
- Memoir, biography, and corporate history.
- White-Hot Gruel.
- Article contents.
- Organic Theater Collection?
Scroll to bottom and click on Visit Website. He's writing about fiction but offers helpful insights how memory is affected by details from reality. Critics take grim satisfaction in tearing the genre to pieces. How quickly they forget Nabokov and Karr and Wolff. While some require the freedom of fiction, what if some stories need the pressure of truth — not because a writer perceives reality or confession as more interesting or so different from fiction, but because there is a unique dialogue that happens only in memoir between the present and the past.
Writing and publishing a memoir requires us to reveal and share your authentic self. A memoirist must attempt to avoid predetermined stories and challenge these popular narratives by plunging the subjects into a testing moment It is important for the memoirist to distinguish between what is lively detail and what is digression. But the record itself still matters; we do need to know who we are.
What were the challenges of working with their subjects and their families? How did they get access to archives and research materials? How did they find publishers? These experienced writers share stories and tips that will enlighten both jazz biography readers and would-be biography authors. This webinar is part of a monthly series produced by the Jazz Journalists Association.
David Foster Wallace was inspired to write about a breakup. So are a lot of memoirists. It's not always worth it. Both ingredients—memory and story—are equally vital. Like a journal, a memoir is a passionate account of your experiences—but like a novel it has narrative structure.
A journal may be eloquent, and you may choose to share it with selected others, but it is essentially a conversation with yourself. A memoir is inherently a conversation with others. Voice, persona, and point of view in memoir "Just as in everyday life we laugh and cry, show anger and sadness, so, too, for personal essayists and memoirists, one voice is rarely enough. Memoirists, for example need different voices in order to reveal the complexity of a life.
You may need to twine a child voice with an adult voice; a lyric voice with a comic voice; a sober voice with an out-of-control voice. How she loved, feared, yearned. This embodies the mysterious nature of memory, upon which memoir and much of adult life rests. And how to find a suitable prose style for it. You start with an interesting voice; the rest follows. If the voice is strong enough, the reader will go anywhere with you. They are very surface-oriented. In memoir, the only through-line is character represented by voice. In memoir, you are that main character.
It has to engage your emotions in some way. You need two things for the text to move forward. And so my review will be less about this book's extraordinary perspective on the Holocaust more broadly and specifically about the predicament and response of the Jewish community in Britain. Other reviews have addressed that achievement very effectively. What I want to comment on and celebrate, as a student of biography, is Haber's remarkable control of the narrative voice she uses in this painfully moving book.
I would argue the most difficult task of all for a memoirist is reaching back in her memory and giving the reader the perspective she had then, early in her life, rather than the meaning she now imparts to it as an adult. Haber might have chosen to pronounce truths about that stage in her life as she now understands them.
But instead she finds a way as a writer to put us back there with a little girl who has no idea what is happening to her, not only within the greater drama of Britain at war and London under attack, but even more intensely the mysteries of her own predicament as a child imperfectly loved, occasionally abandoned, and consistently refused warnings or explanations.
So we wander and wonder with her, we never know why certain things were done, only that they were done. We can manage anything, even in a world at war, even as a child, if adults around us understand what we are emotionally owed, what we need to get through. There were some such adults in this child's life, but not enough, and not always.
So read this book because of the history it conveys, but mostly read it to understand what it is to be a child. By the end, I was finishing years of study of nonfiction form, hours of writing workshops with invested peers and mentors in the same field. So when my point of view as the narrator changes, it is through an integral change of the persona itself. I was more aware of myself, and more in tune with my surroundings, by the end of the writing process, so I resisted changing earlier bits to make myself look smarter.
I just left in my initial excitements and lack of knowledge. Into those surrogates will be poured all that the writer cannot address directly -- inappropriate longings, s defensive embarrassments, anti-social desires -- but must address to achieve felt reality. The persona in a nonfiction narrative is an unsurrogated one The unsurrogated narrator has the monumental task of transforming low-level self-interest into the kind of detached empathy required of a piece of writing that is to be of value to the disinterested reader.
Fierce Attachments was the first thing I ever wrote in which I felt the presence of a persona on whom I could rely. She figured out the scope of the book and how to fill it properly. I was never under the impression that I had written a major book, but I thought that what I had written was a small good thing. Then one day I wrote something about the city, about going out into the street for relief from my solitude and having an encounter in the street, and suddenly it came together for me.
I thought, I can write about Leonard and myself as creatures of the city. Martin evokes his experience in scenes while also slipping into the action musings by his older and wiser self. For one price, we get two points of view—that of the sensitive, difficult boy and that of the wiser adult he became. And then there is So, What? Without this reflective voice, the Coors story lacks the impulse for understanding that drove me to the page in the first place.
It remains a surface recounting of events, which leaves my readers scratching their heads and saying, 'So, what? While most stories have a single protagonist, addiction narratives are usually about two people: the addict deep in the throes of their addiction, and the recovered narrator looking back objectively on the experience. In that sense, addiction narratives are schizophrenic, offering two perspectives—one reliable, one unreliable—opposing and informing each other.
How those two perspectives are apportioned determines the nature of the result. Craft basically my working on the words and syntax can get such a passage flowing because such recasting reconnects me to subjective experience. And honestly, probably because varying sentence structures both mimics emotional connection and creates it. Our moods, our beings are as changeable as the sky long hours at any writing project teach us , so we can no longer trust any one voice as definitive or lasting. We can evoke the people or places that move us by becoming them, since every subject worth taking on remakes us in its own image.
In my first book, I thought it only right to describe the Philippines in a passionate, undefended, solicitous voice — to reflect what I saw in the place itself — and, five chapters later, to evoke Japan from a glassy remove, to speak for its cool and polished distances. Writing on the Dalai Lama, I work hard to espouse an analytical and logical and rigorous part of myself — to transmit by example those qualities most evident in him.
And then, when I turn to writing about Graham Greene, I aspire to a more haunted, shriven, doubting even English voice. He's talking about the voice of a self-involved, neurotic but emotionally honest New Yorker. Perhaps voice is the combination of these, powered by the essence of the narrative self who is the subject of the memoir," writes the anonymous author of the Slightly Nutty blog. Tone can range widely from highly emotional to melodramatic, from blackly humorous to cheerful or self-contained and can also be a combination of any of these. For example, you can use language to bring the reader closer to the emotion or distance them from it.
Big Hair. Big Problems. Read a sample chapter here. Can memoirists take liberties with the truth? They learn that on the one hand they will interact with the inmates much as they do with other students, but on the other, there are differences. They must not touch inmates. They cannot exchange gifts or information with them. They cannot take notes during the class and must keep in strictest confidentiality anything the inmates share about themselves.
ConTextos first developed the writing program for public schools. But it has since found equal success in the prison setting, where inmates are finding a voice to tell their stories. This moving talk is in Spanish with subtitles; her prison writing workshops focus on short poems, but as you can see when an inmate reads his poem are also about memoir. David Coogan. Stories from ten men in a writing class that started in the Richmond City Virginia jail.
Mass incarceration began in earnest when the radical s came to an end and we began warehousing social problems we could not deal with: racism, but also poverty, drug addiction, homelessness, mental illness, substandard public schooling, violence against children, violence against women, and so much more. Between and we went from incarcerating about a half million Americans to over two million Americans, a large many of them nonviolent drug offenders.
We went from triaging the violence of legitimate challenges leveled at America by groups like the Black Panthers to taking whole segments of America out of America and into this enormous warehouse. At the same time the genre of memoir began outselling fiction four to one. We became fascinated with the life stories of strangers while we began locking up our neighbors. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs?
Of course we did. See also: Regional and international oral history organizations H-Oralhist , a network for scholars and professionals active in studies related to oral history. A very popular guide for doing oral histories and personal and family histories, with memory prompts that encourage storytelling more than fact-finding: What were you like as a child? What did you think? What did you do? Organized by topic, from earliest memories, school life, young adulthood, marriage, children, grandchildren, through later life.
The discovery of a tape recording shed light on a puzzling family photograph which was taken in - and changed historian Lisa Jardine's views about the genealogy boom. Michael Takiff, Gravitas History. It just depends whether you want to go camping in the Rockies or take a world cruise on a luxury liner. Overnight the website closed down, to meet the rules of the bankruptcy court, so a lot of us felt abandoned.
Some of us teach classes. Plenty of us provide services and a few regional organizations have formed. I can't find you. Let me know if you already exist and how clients may reach you, and I'll add you to the list. Many of us start doing the work, then discover the term "personal historian" and recognize ourselves. There are people for that. Backstories about the process of getting the stories into print will be helpful if you want to help others tell their life stories.
Schuetze, NY Times, It is part of an unorthodox approach to dementia treatment that doctors and caregivers across the Netherlands have been pioneering: harnessing the power of relaxation, childhood memories, sensory aids, soothing music, family structure and other tools to heal, calm and nurture the residents, rather than relying on the old prescription of bed rest, medication and, in some cases, physical restraints. So she started a memoir-writing business. Thirty years from now, Nate's great-great- grandchildren will be able to pick up this book and know him," she said.
The words we use matter The result is a moving and at times haunting first-person account of life on hospital wards. There used to be twenty-three big publishing houses and still others to send to. Now there are fewer than half as many. Luckily she had an agent who believed in her, who knew where to find that small press that might love her ms. It had been a rocky recovery since his lung transplant three months earlier at the William S.
Instead, she asked Hall if he wanted to tell his life story. Today more than 2, patients at the Madison VA have shared their life stories. Project organizers say it could change the way providers interact with patients. Listen or read the transcript, or both. See Wikipedia's List of fake memoirs and journals surprisingly long, and some of these books were popular! Your Personal Memoirist Is Here Alina Tugend, Entrepreneurship, NY Times, "Many novices embrace the idea of talking to people and writing about their lives, but are not aware of the minutiae and marketing strategies involved.
Horne said, with time added if the interview is disjointed or if the subject has a heavy accent. Can you stop by once a week? Tyrrell said.