Author Archives: Erica

Featured NAMW Member – Viga Boland

NTFMF-Banner-220From the ages of 11-24, I was sexually abused by my biological father. My shame was so intense I told no-one, including my husband of over 40 years about my past until I was in my mid 60’s. This first memoir, “No Tears for my Father” was written with the full encouragement and support of my husband and 2 daughters. In graphic detail, as that is the only way this story could be told and be honest, I shared my memoir from before the abuse began to where I finally left home and got married. This book is the first of 3 memoirs: at the request of friends and fans, I wrote a followup memoir of recovery, rebirth and self-discovery as a person worthy of love titled “Learning to Love Myself”; the third memoir titled “Voice from an Urn”, was written to answer readers’ questions about my mother’s role in the incest.

 

Bio

viga-250pxViga has written 4 memoirs, facilitates memoir writing for her local library. To help other memoirists fulfill their writing aspirations, she promotes their editorials, stories and poems by blogging and podcasting from her other website, Memoirabilia. A retired septuagenarian, according to her husband, she has never been busier, as she travels around offering hope and encouragement to victims of violence though speaking engagements. Her mantra is “I am who I think I am…and I better like that person!”

http://www.vigaboland.com

Writing and Publishing Dog Medicine—a Best Selling Memoir

Julie Barton

Member Teleseminar

April 22

11 am PDT  12 pm MDT   1 pm CDT  2 pm EDT

Julie BartonIn this month’s teleseminar, we’ll talk about how I came to writing memoir, my writing process, and how the actual writing is where the joy is. We’ll discuss overall story arc—one of the hardest things about memoir—and I’ll reveal a great (though difficult) method that helped my book go from good to great. If there’s time, we’ll discuss my road to publication and the wild ride that landed my book in the hands of the president of Penguin Books. We can discuss the vast difference between being published by a tiny indie publisher versus being published by one of the big New York houses. There are pluses and minuses to both! Also, promotion: the dreaded word for us introverted wordsmiths. It doesn’t have to be as awful as you imagine.

What you will learn:

  • How to have patience with yourself and write a little bit each day
  • Revision, revision, revision. Revising as a way to introduce story arc.
  • My unusual publishing experience: being published by a tiny indie press then picked up by Penguin Books.
  • Promotion: yes, it’s as important as they say it is. How not to hate it.

Bio

Dog Medicine book coverJulie Barton is a writer, mother of two and animal lover who lives in Northern California. Her memoir, Dog Medicine, How My Dog Saved Me From Myself will be published by Penguin Books on July 19th, 2016. (The book was initially published 11/15 by Think Piece Publishing.) Julie has a B.A. in English Literature from Kenyon College, an M.F.A. in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and a M.A. in Women’s Studies from Southern Connecticut State University. Julie’s writing has been published in Brain Child MagazineThe South Carolina ReviewLouisiana Literature, Two Hawks Quarterly, Westview, The Huffington Post, and more. Mostly she just tries to be kind to people and animals, avoid judgement, appreciate nature, and write every chance she gets.

Related links for Julie Barton:

April Roundtable Discussion–Free to All

Jerry Waxlerjerry_9-12-14

My Twelve Year Odyssey to Turn life into Memoir

Thursday April 7, 2016

4 PM PDT   5 PM MDT 6 PM CDT 7 PM EDT

 

Our guest this month is Jerry Waxler, my colleague and friend since I began the National Association of Memoir Writers. Jerry is also on our advisory board, and we have had many conversations about his memoir journey, mine, and the issues that all memoir writers have to solve as they finish their book and move toward publication.

Jerry has taught several classes here at NAMW, and is a passionate advocate for memoir writers. Now that his book is done—yay—we thought it would benefit memoir writers who struggle with the same challenges as Jerry did to hear about how he managed to confront his memory, moments of shame and embarrassment, the need for privacy, and the long writing and editing process.

Jerry’s odyssey to write his memoir began in 2004, when he decided he would try to make sense of the years between 1965 and 1975. At first, writing the story seemed impossible. He was not a story writer and he could barely remember those times when hippie dreams almost unraveled his sanity. Twelve years later, in 2016, he published, Thinking My Way to the End of the World. In this roundtable we’ll accompany Jerry through his journey, as he proceeded from the initial motivation, to gathering anecdotes, creating scenes, organizing, revising, polishing, self-doubts, and finally publishing the memoir.

You will learn:

  • How to discover and uncover your most important memories
  • How to sort through the many moments of your life to find a structure for your memoir
  • The ways that your writing community can help you find your way
  • How viewing writing your memoir as a journey can give you courage to keep going
  • What you need to know about revision and editing
  • How to easily publish the book YOU want to write

Jerry Waxler, M.S. writes, speaks, and teaches about how to awaken human potential through writing. Jerry’s blog includes four hundred essays that form the basis for his book Memoir Revolution which champions the social trend to turn life into Story. His degree and experience in Counseling Psychology provide the background for his self-help guide, How to Become a Heroic Writer, about overcoming the mental challenges of being a writer. His own coming-of-age memoir Thinking My Way to the End of the World is about his attempt to grow up into adulthood during the 60s. For more information see www.jerrywaxler.com.

Listen to the recording below:

Featured NAMW Member – Debbie Tripp

Debbie Tripp 1I started seriously writing in a journal while I was in college.  To tell you the truth, it is often the only way I can discover what I really think about a puzzling topic.  I use a pen and paper to discover my truths so often that my friends sometimes tease me about having my brains in my fingers.  I joined NAMW about five years ago and jumped in fingers first, writing stories from my childhood.  Through the years, I have experienced much healing from writing the stories of my past and having them witnessed in our memoir writing group.  I can also testify to the truth of Pennebaker’s research about writing and its impact on pain.  I know first hand that the writing I have done through the years with NAMW classes has reduced the painful flares of Rheumatoid Arthritis and Fibromyalgia.

 

Bio

Debbie currently lives in Utah.  She has taught writing for healing and self-discovery classes for over twenty years in Michigan and Washington State.  She was awarded the Jade Ring Award for Writing Excellence by the Wisconsin State Regional Writers Association.  When she isn’t writing her memoirs, she is trying new recipes or pursuing her passion of Saori Weaving.

March Roundtable Discussion–Free to All

Writing In the Voice of My Mother

Jo Ivester

Thursday March 3, 2016

4 pm PST   5 pm MST   6 pm CST   7 pm EST

Ivester Facebook PhotoWe are so pleased to welcome Jo Ivester, the author of The Outskirts of Hope: A Memoir of the 1960s Deep South to our Roundtable podcast. Read her summary below about working with her mother to write a story about her mother’s life. Ultimately Jo wrote from the point of view of her mother. We get many questions about this at NAMW, and want to explore the issues that arise.

They include:

Can I write in the POV of someone else and call it a memoir?

What makes the reader engage in a story like that?

Join us for a great discussion about the narrative voice, choices you can make, and how to might write from the point of view of someone else.

 

From Jo:

Outskirts CoverIn 1967, when I was 10 years old, my father joined the War on Poverty. He moved our family from Boston to a small, all-black town in the Mississippi Delta, where he started a clinic, my mother taught at the local high school, and I was the only white student at my junior high. Thirty-five years later, my mother wrote about those days, along with stories from her whole life.

For five years, we worked together to massage her early writings into a cohesive journal, spanning much of the 20th century. After distributing copies of that journal to family and friends, we circulated it to connections in the publishing industry and were told that the story of our time in Mississippi was the only publishable part. My mother, disappointed, gave up, but that was just the start for me. I took the feedback in stride and went on to write “Outskirts,” relying on both my mother’s journal and my own childhood memories.

 

What Members Will Gain:

  • An appreciation of the importance of writing daily, even when there is no book in sight
  • An understanding of how the memoir-writing process can draw family members closer together
  • A recognition of the challenges of writing in someone else’s voice, along with the rewards of doing so
  • Some pointers about re-connecting with people from one’s past
  • The courage to be honest and authentic in writing about one’s experiences
  • How to decide about using another person’s point of view

 

Bio:

Jo Ivester spent two years of her childhood living in a trailer in Mound Bayou, where she was the only white student at her junior high. She finished high school in Florida before attending Reed, MIT, and Stanford in preparation for a career in  transportation and manufacturing. Following the birth of her fourth child, she began teaching, first as a substitute math teacher and then as an adjunct professor at St. Edward’s University. She and her husband teach each January at MIT and travel extensively, splitting their time between Texas and Colorado. For more information, please visit www.joivester.com.

 

Listen to the recording below:

Testimonials

Myers makes a compelling case for the power of words as a form of healing and growth.

James W. Pennebaker, Ph.D. professor of psychology, The University of Texas at Austin and author, Opening Up and Writing To Heal

...the NAMW memoir classes with Linda Joy Myers are wonderful

Kathy Pooler