Author and editor Diane Taylor has published a new book called The Gift of Memoir.
I highly recommend it.
Diane is part of my blog community: you’ve likely seen her replies to my posts. When she asked me to read her manuscript, I said “Yes”, and dug in.
Yippee! I can tell you without reservation that this is a strong book. It’s full of useful and inspiring tips that benefit not only writers of memoirs, but any author.
Edited and published by BPS Books, this is a great read.
Here’s what’s been said about A Gift of Memoir so far:
“Every writer can benefit from reading Diane Taylor’s wonderfully clear, down-to-earth, practical, and inspiring book. But for the memoirist, in particular, Taylor’s expertise is invaluable.” –PHILIP MARCHAND, National Post books columnist and author of Ghost Empire: How the French Almost Conquered North America
“The Gift of Memoir will lift you from desire, doubt, and inclination to exploration, discovery, and triumph. A bountiful gift for the hearts and minds of aspiring memoirists.” –DAVID H. HUGHES, author and ghostwriter of thirteen books.
Among the topics addressed:
- Telling the truth when you aren’t sure
- Journaling as a kind of personal writing workshop
- Four strategies to retrieve memories
- How to use anecdotes and establish themes
- How to write through the five senses
- How to choose a form that fits your writing
- The revision process
Diane Taylor lives in Northumberland County, east of Toronto. She has had a varied life, working as a lab technician, seamstress and book seller. Some years ago, she and her partner built a large sailboat and “sailed south”.
That’s when she started writing.
“Life on the ocean and in the islands was so fresh and immediate,” she says, “I felt an urgent need to record it so as to not forget it, to re-experience it in words, and to communicate it to others in various sailing magazines. A book resulted: The Perfect Galley Book.”
Other books followed. Diane has also taught memoir-writing and is an avid member of the Spirit of the Hills writers’ group. (In fact, the book explains why writers should join such groups.)
You’ll find my own recommendation for The Gift of Memoir on the book’s back cover.
This is a fine book, a great read and a worthwhile toolkit for authors.
*This book is sold on Amazon, Chapters Indigo and other online bookstores. Links are contained in the text of this post.
33 thoughts on “The Gift of Memoir”
This sounds excellent. I am also intrigued that she has written for The Journal of Palliative Care and has recorded oral histories, and ghostwritten memoirs for elders. A few days ago we were having a wonderful discussion of memories with my father. On Sunday he had an emergency trip to hospital and is still there with double pneumonia. These sudden changes bring home how important it is to gather stories whilst we may.
I am so sorry to hear this, my friend.
I hope he will improve and be home again very soon.
Thank you Cynthia. His healing will take time but so far so good.
That’s a relief for your family. Thanks for the update and please tell him that Cynthia from Canada sends her best wishes for his recovery.
He will be amazed to know he has a supporter in Canada.
Gallivanta, as he is recovering, that may be he time for story gathering. Tell him Diane from Canada is rooting for him, too.
Thank you. And he is recovering. Those Canadian vibes are good and strong.
Oh thank you so much .. I shall look out for this book! Just what I need 😀
Glad to hear, Julie. I know from reading your blog that you are just brimming with stories….
Thank you Cynthia, always on the lookout for the next great read. Congratulations Diane!
Thanks for this lovely comment, Ann. I’ll be looking out for your own book before too long. (Talk about pressure, eh?)
Gentle pressure from supportive friends is delightful, fuel when the creative fire needs to be stoked.
Thank you, Ann!
Thank-you for this great review, Cynthia. It looks a very useful book indeed with lots of sound advice.
It is indeed, Clare. Hope all goes well with you and family. that big pond of yours looks enormous. does it ever freeze over?
Yes it is big and it does freeze quite regularly though this year the ice has been quite thin and has melted quickly. Thank-you Cynthia.
So that means the real cold weather hasn’t lasted long each time this winter, right?
Yes, that’s right. We have had short cold spells and then spells of milder weather. The longest the ice stayed on the pond this year was about ten days. It has been colder than last year bu still not as cold as it usually is. The rest of the country has been colder than us as well because most of the weather has come from the west By the time it gets here in the east it has lost its power. I’m sorry you have had such an awful time this winter. Our weather forecasters have been talking about it.
I said it before and I’ll say it again: This is a great read for anyone aspiring to write a memoir.
Indeed, David. Thanks for commenting.
Thanks for the recommendation Cynthia. I enjoy reading memoirs and aspire to write one someday (or at the least, let someone actually read what I’ve written). Diane’s book looks like it can help me. 🙂
I bet it can. My best wishes with your own memoir. In the meantime, are you keeping a journal, making notes, etc.?
I am making notes and journaling but would like to do more. thanks!
Good. You will do more when time permits.
Jot down everything you can: conversations; the bird at the feeder; the look on a family-member’s face as s/he says something; the way the dog pads through the room. It’s the daily, quotidian details, chats and events that may seem banal when they’re happening but may add up to something memorable when you go to write the overall story.
Thank you so much for the great advice!!
Writing a memoir is as enjoyable an occupation as reading one.
I read the book in one sitting! Diane has said it all. It is a recipe for good writing. Congtatulations
Thank you, Cynthia, for sharing Diane’s book. I’ve added it to my wishlist since I absolutely want to write a memoir–one day.Your own memoir won my heart over to the idea.
Blessings ~ Wendy ❀
You are welcome. And what a kind thing to say, Wendy. Thank you.
Her memoir won me over, too, and you’ll find mention of it in my book.
I look forward to reading your book. ❀
Wonderful recommendation and write up Cynthia.
Sounds great. When I don’t have much time, I’d do a quick sketch to capture the impression. I used to write a lot in my native (Latvian) language and also poems in German so to say to capture the disappearing feelings. The list of themes already seems to be interesting and worth exploring. It’s a specific genre, but memoirs can be the most exciting reading.