A Good Home, Blessings, Memoir-Writing, Writers, Writing, Writing workshops

MIXED BLESSINGS

It’s November, the month when many writers write.

Not me.

I’m not working on the next book, not writing my blog, not even journal-ing every day.

~~

In typical Cynthia fashion, I had a good stretch of days some weeks ago and was so thankful for it, I tried to do too much.

Ignored the warning signs. Committed other rampant acts of mindless-ness.

The bad pain came, then the flu. And throughout it all, the bloody nightmares whenever I slept long enough.

But pushing myself, as my therapist and journals remind me, is how I’ve come this far.

And I’m pushing again.

~~

Twice a week now, I lead very small groups of individuals who are writing their memoirs.

None is a professional or even an experienced writer. But they are bright, interesting, mature people.

Some of their stories are painful to write, I know. But what a joy for me to help them develop as writers.

They’re changing in front of my eyes — and theirs. Blooming.  

~~

At first, I wondered how they’d see me.

It’s obvious I have difficulty walking – sometimes it’s very bad. But I decided to reveal — on the very first day — some of the stuff others don’t immediately see. That I sometimes stutter or speak strangely. That I might struggle to cross-reference or absorb new information and that if voices/sounds come at me from more than one source, it affects me.

Just as well I did.

I’ve come up against my limits repeatedly – and so markedly, twice, that I later went to the washroom and cried.

Then there’s the tiny paycheque.  I earned more money in my early 20’s!

So why am I smiling?

This activity has given me a purpose outside the home. I spend 2 hours, twice a week, with a group of individuals whom I like, respect and marvel at. I can see their progress each week and it delights me. The stories they tell — even the painful ones –are a balm to my soul. 

~~

Blessed am I to have such students.

And blessed am I to have readers who notice when my blogging patterns are ‘off’, and ask why.

Thank you.

 

A Good Home, Bloggers, Book Readers, Diane Taylor expert on memoirs, Memoir-Writing

Wow

~~

Photos by Hamlin Grange

~~

Dear Friends:

I promise I won’t inundate you with book stuff!  But I really want to share some good news from the first days after my book was released online:

  1. Diane Taylor, author of The Gift of Memoir, (an excellent go-to book on memoir-writing) was the first to review my book. A very nice review, though it also made me cry.
  2. I got to hold the first copy of An Honest House in my own hands on Wednesday.  
    Book An Honest House First Copy 1
  3. And author and book blogger Kev Cooper, of  Kev’s Raves and Reviews, gave the book a big shout-out this week.  

Thank you both, Kev and Diane!

 

 

 

A Good Home, Authors, Diane Taylor, Memoir-Writing, New Books

The Gift of Memoir

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.

Blog Photo - Gift of memoir front cover

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”.

Blog Photo - Diane Taylor1

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.

Congrats, Diane.

*This book is sold on Amazon, Chapters Indigo and other online bookstores. Links are contained in the text of this post.