NAMW Guest Speakers

September Roundtable Event – FREE to All – September 7, 2017

The Story You Need to Tell – We all have one!

Sandra Marinella

September 7, 2017

4 PM PDT  5 PM MDT  6 PM CDT  7 PM EDT

True stories are the heart of The Story You Need to Tell—How Writing to Heal from Trauma, Illness, or Loss Can Transform Your Life.  When I faced breast cancer in 2012, I decided to write to heal. And I did.  Inspired, I dug out and read twenty-seven of my old journals. Here I learned the power of personal writing to help me navigate a death, a post-partum depression, and my cancer, followed by my son’s cancer. Although my memoir frames and is threaded throughout this book, I focus on stories I collected from over 100 writers during my five years of writing. These unsung heroes share their heart-wrenching as well as heartwarming stories and shed light on how writing can change and transform our lives. This work is not only a memoir, but also a guide to transformative storytelling and writing based on over 200 research studies. I hope it will guide many memoir writers toward the story they need to tell. We all have one.

What we will explore:

  • What is the “story you need to tell?” and why is it important to write it?
  • What are the benefits of writing our memoirs?
  • What role can our intuition play in writing our memoirs?
  • How can interviews enhance your writing?
  • What are the stages of writing to heal and transform?
  • What are the potential roadblocks in writing and researching a nonfiction memoir?
  • What role can your friends and community play in your writing and publishing process?

 

Biography

Sandra Marinella is an award-winning writing teacher and author from Chandler, Arizona.  She has taught thousands of students and presented hundreds of writing workshops. Her articles have appeared in The English Journal, The Arizona English Bulletin, and Seventeen. When she discovered she had breast cancer, she rewrote her personal story and began working on “writing to heal” with cancer patients and veterans.  Her new book, The Story You Need to Tell–Writing to Heal from Trauma, Illness, or Loss (New World Library, 2017) shares her life-changing journey and these inspiring experiences. You can learn more at www.storyyoutell.com and follow her at www.facebook.com/storyyouneedtotell

August Roundtable Webinar- FREE to All – August 3, 2017

There Was a Fire Here: A memoir that rose from the ashes

Risa Nye

August 3, 2017

4 PM PDT  5 PM MDT  6 PM CDT  7 PM EDT

My book began as a string of short pieces, each one memorializing something of importance I’d lost in the 1991 fire that destroyed over three thousand homes in my city. The fire made an appearance in nearly everything I wrote afterward, either in passing or as a focal point. I didn’t imagine that the pieces I was writing would somehow fit themselves into a book. It took many years, a dedicated effort through an MFA program, a year of not writing, and some excellent coaching to see that these memories—and more—could be stitched successfully into a memoir.

The story I wanted to tell wasn’t just my story: it involved a widely publicized event that cost 25 people their lives. I had to make sure I got the details right to honor them and others. Luckily, I had the chance to do interviews. I’d also kept newspaper articles and a journal from that momentous time. My biggest challenge was digging deep into my memory to recall the horror of those early days, and confronting the moments when I was at my lowest.

What you will learn:

  • My book came out on the 25th anniversary of the fire. It’s never too late to start a project when it involves a story that will not let you go
  • Even if it begins as a disorganized “crazy quilt,” and you doubt it will ever become a book people will want to read, others can help you visualize the story you want to tell and help silence that inner critic who asks, “So what?,” “Who cares?,” and “Why now?”
  • You have choices about how to frame and structure your memoir: how I modeled mine after several of my favorite memoirists
  • Do the research, ask the questions, get it as right as you can—then keep writing
  • The cover matters! How to make sure the cover reflects the story within

Risa Nye is a California native. Her books, articles, and essays can be found at www.risanye.com. She co-edited the anthology Writin’ on Empty: Parents Reveal the Upside, Downside, and Everything in Between When Children Leave the Nest. Her Ms. Barstool column and other articles appear in Berkeleyside.com. She also writes for EatDrinkFilms.com. She returned to graduate school in 2009 and earned an MFA in Creative Writing. Her memoir, There Was a Fire Here (SheWritesPress) was published in 2016.

Listen to the recording below:

July Roundtable Webinar- FREE to All – July 6, 2017

How I Wrote My Memoir: One Sentence a Day

Thais Derich

July 6, 2017 

4 PM PDT  5 PM MDT  6 PM CDT  7 PM EDT

We are grateful that Thais Derich can join us for this FREE Roundtable Discussion teleseminar. She will discuss how she wrote her book, hired an agent by the hour, and found her publisher. Thais will surprise you when you learn about her unconventional path to publishing, her entrepreneurial spirit, and her passion for social justice in our writing.

Thais Nye Derich, in her memoir, Second Chance: A Mother’s Quest for a Natural Birth After a Cesarean, falls under the power of clinician-directed medical birth rather than one guided by the body’s own intuitive knowledge.

Derich’s story telling is empowering and she gains strength and healing through her vulnerability on the page. However, she writes her story, too, in solidarity with other women and their birth stories, refusing to whitewash the difficulties while still celebrating the moments of joy. It is fitting that she ends her memoir balanced between these difficulties and the joys.

You will learn:

  • How Derich wrote her book using this mantra: “one sentence a day.”
  • The ways that your memoir picks you.
  • How your story is bigger than yourself.
  • Learn how writing and speaking about a cause are different.
  • How to be a writer with young children.
  • How to balance family, work, and the art of writing.

Derich speaks about her story and the intersection between birth and social justice. Derich’s past work has been published in Salon, BlogHer, BabyCenter, Literary Mama, Wild Violet Literary Magazine, Forge Journal, SFGate, the San Francisco Examiner, among others and performed live at the Listen to Your Mother show. A chapter of Second Chance was a finalist out of 500 entries for the Creative Non-Fiction Magazine’s baby anthology. She now lives in beautiful Marin County, where she is writing her second book.

 

Listen to the recording below:

June Roundtable Webinar- FREE to All- June 15, 2017

Rifka Kreiter

EVOLUTION OF A MEMOIR–EVERYTHING IN ITS OWN TIME

4 PM PDT  5 PM MDT  6 PM CDT  7 PM EDT

June 15, 2017

We are so pleased that Rifka Kreiter will be joining us. Her book Home Free will take us back to the era of the sixties, and the adventures that were life changing for Rifka. We all go on a journey into the past as we write our memoir, and we discover and uncover surprises, ahas, and “oh, I did that?” moments along the way. It’s a journey that ultimately is rewarding, and I’m glad that we get to speak with Rifka about the life story that has become her book, and her challenges along the way to write and publish her memoir.

From Rifka:

I will speak about the nearly twenty-year journey to publication of my book Home Free: Adventures of  child of the Sixties. The journey began with writing group pieces that seemed to cry out,  “We wanna be a book.”   Classes, workshops, writing groups followed, as well as long fallow periods, illustrating one teacher’s counsel that “for some pieces, you have to do more living before you’re ready to write it.”  And then there was the “onerous” publishing process, with its many trials.

Motivations that kept me going were:

  • Self-examination: Coming to terms with my difficult personal history
  • Fun: The pleasure of revisiting the experience of being young in that extraordinary time and sharing my stories of adventure
  • Bearing witness: The deep satisfaction of describing the amazing grace that transformed my life. I felt, if only one reader found encouragement and hope in my story, that would make it worthwhile.

Members Will:

  • Find out how to keep persisting despite obstacles to write the book of your heart.
  • Be encouraged to find tools to free your inner writer, such as Morning Pages.
  • Discover techniques I found helpful in dealing with the inner critic
  • Learn about querying agents and publishers, and how I made the decisions I did.

 

Bio

An astrologer once told Rifka Kreiter that a certain planetary conjunction in her chart signifies “an unusual life, full of unexpected happenings,” and this has certainly proved true.

Home Free recounts her peripatetic early life in New York, LA and San Diego.  She studied acting at New York’s High School of Performing Arts, philosophy at City College of New York and Clinical Psychology at Adelphi University.  She has worked as a waitress, hatcheck girl and hearing researcher.  She was Continuity Director at a New York radio station and Assistant Convention Manager at the Concord Resort Hotel in the Catskill Mountains.

Since 1976 she has been following an ancient yogic path and she lived in a meditation ashram for ten years. Rifka currently teaches meditation and has a day job.  At age 55 she (finally) met her life partner, an Upper West Side psychotherapist.  They live happily together in suburban New Jersey.  Contact her at rifkakreiter.com.

 

FREE Memoir Webinar: Truth in Memoir: A Journey of Healing and Transformation

May 19, 2017

Free Day Long event: 10 AM/1PM to 2 PM/5 PM

We’re very excited here at NAMW to offer a day long discussion about truth in memoir–one of the hottest topics memoirists discuss online, in forums, and in running Facebook posts!

As memoirists, we have to struggle with “the truth.” When we write our stories, we search to discover and reveal various angles of the truths in our lives. As complex humans, there are multiple and sometimes paradoxical truths—love and hate, letting go/holding on, attraction/repulsion desire and rejection of intimacy, and countless other opposites that are part of life. In our stories, one scene may highlight one aspect of truth, and then in another we’re someone else. The characters in our stories may have conflicting presentations   and we feel complex emotions about these real people who become our “characters.” In a world that asks for us to have a single opinion or reaction that defines, writing a memoir and facing its complexities can get challenging. Sometimes we’re tempted to give up. As one of my students said, “I keep changing my mind about what I think and feel each time I write my story. I need to know what position I should take. Shouldn’t I have this all sorted out by now?”

The secret to writing a memoir is that it’s more of a journey and a process than a single destination. We are always becoming and learning as we write. In writing a memoir we uncover surprises, some of which we don’t want to know about. As I wrote both Don’t Call Me Mother and my new memoir, Song of the Plains, I encountered bumpy emotional rides. In my new memoir, I tried to pull back even deeper layers of truth that I either couldn’t write about yet in my first one, or I couldn’t bear to share with the world. By investigating our story, new truths were revealed. Today we are going to investigate truth—how to find it, why we try to avoid it, and what to do when it speaks deeply to us, body and soul.

Join this FREE special webinar on May 19 with these deep and engaging presenters who have agreed to spend time with us. The day will be one of exploration and insight, and I hope you will find support and inspiration for your own work through this special event.

 

Mark Matousek

Transformation through Telling Your Truths: Memoir as a Healing Path

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

When you tell the truth, your story changes. When your story changes, your life is transformed.  Radical truth telling and self-inquiry in writing are incomparable tools for personal healing, creative expansion, and spiritual insight. Over the past 30 years as a memoirist and teacher, I’ve come to see that the narratives we use to describe our lives are frequently more fiction than fact. Once we begin to examine these stories, and tell the whole truth as we know it, these narratives begin to collapse, revealing the falsehoods we’ve carried, and giving us enormous freedom as writers of memoir.

But how to we learn to tell our whole truth? How do we separate fact from fiction? What is the role of imagination in unlocking preverbal experience?  Is it possible to heal personal trauma by changing the story we tell ourselves, as some psychologists suggest? How do we avoid the danger of triggering old trauma when exploring it?  What tools and practices are useful in helping to explore shadow material in memoir?  Finally, how is healing facilitated through the process of radical truth-telling?

These are some of the questions we’ll be exploring together during this thought provoking session. You will come to understand the importance of taking the witness perspective as a memoirist in order to step beyond your personal fiction. This gives you enormous freedom as a writer and demonstrates – beyond any doubt – that you are the storyteller not the story, the mythmaker not the myth.

During this webinar, you will learn:

  • How to use radical truth telling in memoir
  • How to use writing as a path of healing
  • How to explore shadow material
  • How to distinguish your wounds from your gifts
  • How to cultivate witness consciousness
  • How to change your trauma story

www.markmatousek.com

http://www.markmatousek.com/writing-to-awaken-italy-2017/

https://secure.madelineartschool.com/Classes_detail.cfm?recordno=1&Product_CatalogID=517&ProductNumber=WMM091117&ProductCode=49

http://www.markmatousek.com/e-courses-2/

Mark Matousek is the author of two acclaimed memoirs, Sex Death Enlightenment: A True Story (an international bestseller) and The Boy He Left Behind: A Man’s Search For His Lost Father, as well as When You’re Falling, Dive: Lessons in the Art of Living, and Ethical Wisdom: The Search for a Moral Life.. A former editor at Interview Magazine, he is a featured blogger for PsychologyToday.com and the Huffington Post, and has contributed to numerous anthologies and publications, including The New Yorker, O: The Oprah Magazine (contributing editor), Harper’s Bazaar, Yoga Journal, Tricycle: The Buddhist Review, and The Saturday Evening Post. A popular speaker and teacher, he offers courses in creativity and spiritual growth in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and Europe, based on his book, Writing To Awaken: A Journey of Truth, Transformation, and Self-Discovery.  He is a founding member of V-Men (with Eve Ensler), an organization devoted to ending violence against women and girls. His new book, Mother of the Unseen World, will be published in November. He lives and works East Hampton, New York.

 

John Evans

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

Flourish: Writing for Resilience after Challenging Times

Expressive Writing heals and builds resilience through a process focusing on feelings related to a trauma, by imagining a fresh perspective about that trauma, and by creating a meaningful narrative about the trauma.

John Evans has taught expressive writing for over thirty years and believes that it may provide a ready springboard for memoir writing because it allows for the detailed connection of events with emotions that can be shaped into a complex, coherent story that moves experiences out of the body and mind connections on to the page.

If you have been touched by a life-changing event, diagnosed with cancer, diabetes, heart disease, job loss, divorce, separation, death of spouse, death of a parent, you know the mind/body connection first hand.  It is never more apparent than when we experience a significant emotional event in the form of such traumas.  We don’t sleep well, we stop eating or we sleep all the time or we eat everything in sight.

In this webinar you will learn how expressive writing leads to helping you:

  1. Create your vision of vibrant wellness,
  2. Set intentions and clarify values
  3. Change perspective and remove obstacles
  4. Build confidence and resilience
  5. Express joy and optimism
  6. Stimulate thinking that leads to insights and understanding.

Flourish is an evidence-based, expressive writing approach and includes seven types of writing to heal: mindful writing, HEALing writing, as well as expressive, transactional, poetic, affirmative, and legacy writing.

Evans works with groups, individuals, and health care professionals, teaching them how to use writing for better physical, emotional, and spiritual health.  He has authored five books and has taught journaling and writing for self-development for over thirty years. With James Pennebaker, Evans co-authored Expressive Writing: Words that Heal (2014). His book, Wellness & Writing Connections: Writing for Better Physical, Mental, and Spiritual Health (2010), is a collection of essays from the Wellness & Writing Connections Conference Series (2007 – 2010).  Evans is a faculty member of 1440 Multiversity in Santa Cruz, CA and is leading a year-long online expressive writing project, Pen My Path, for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society sponsored by Pfizer.  At Duke Integrative Medicine, Evans teaches Transform Your Health: Write to Heal, Leading Patients in Writing for Health, and Writing as a Tool for Integrative Health Coaches.

 

Mark Wolynn

12 noon PDT  1 PM MDT  2 PM CDT  3 PM EDT

It Didn’t Start With You

How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes Who We Are and How to End the Cycle

We’re very excited that our guest Mark Wolynn, author of the book It Didn’t Start with You, is going to talk with us about how trauma affects the generations, and what to do to create a new legacy. He reveals the science about how we inherit trauma and how we unconsciously are carrying patterns from our parents and grandparents. What has happened in the past lives in the present unconsciously within us, creating pain and problems in our own lives that mirror similar issues that faced the generations before us.

The good news is that there are ways to break these patterns, and it has to do with becoming aware of what they are, and finding ways to dig into the story of your family and understand how it affects you.

We have learned in other seminars about how writing helps to heal, and in this presentation we will learn why and how discovering the family story and using it to unlock generations of trauma and pain is so important to all of us.

You will learn:

– How trauma is passed from a parent to a child.

– The scientific research that supports inherited family trauma in humans and animals.

– How people can tell if they are suffering from inherited family trauma. What are the signs?

– How a person suffering from inherited family trauma can heal.

– Tips on how to break the cycle of inherited family trauma.

 

Mark Wolynn is a leading expert on inherited family trauma. As the director of The Family Constellation Institute in San Francisco, he trains clinicians and treats people struggling with depression, anxiety, panic disorder, obsessive thoughts, self-injury, chronic pain, and persistent symptoms and conditions. A sought-after lecturer, he leads workshops at hospitals, clinics, conferences, and teaching centers around the world. He has taught at the University of Pittsburgh, the Western Psychiatric Institute, Kripalu, The Omega Institute, The New York Open Center, and The California Institute of Integral Studies. His articles have appeared in Psychology Today, Mind Body Green, MariaShriver.com, Elephant Journal, and Psych Central, and his poetry has been published in The New Yorker. www.markwolynn.com

 

Transformation and Forgiveness: How I Uncovered New Truths in My Second Memoir

Linda Joy Myers

Interviewed by Brooke Warner

1 PM PDT  2 PM MDT   3 PM CDT   4 PM EDT

When I wrote my first memoir, Don’t Call Me Mother, I thought I’d cracked my family story. I believed I’d come to understand and forgive my grandmother and mother for the abuse and rejection in my life. I’d written the story that I’d carried since I was a child, and enough time had passed that I felt I had perspective and distance from the daily sting of abandonment and loss that marked my early years. But that story was written and lived before I myself became a grandmother. When they were born, I had new reasons to investigate our family legacy and offer up a well-researched and documented family story. Of course, the deeper reason I wanted to write another memoir was about me.

About three years after I published Don’t Call Me Mother, I started noticing a longing to further explore and research the histories I’d gathered in courthouses and local libraries in Iowa where my mother’s family was from. I got only a few stories from family members—they seemed dedicated to stay silent about a number of important family stories.

These unfinished threads wouldn’t leave me alone, nor would the poetry, stories, and histories of the Great Plains that I’d collected over the years. I noticed the heartache I felt whenever I saw photographs of my mother when she was young. My discovery of Ancestry.com was another huge impetus to explore my story from a new point of view, that of myself as an older adult. From this vantage point, I discovered that the road to healing is not a straight line, and the beckoning of new stories is not a force to ignore, no matter how impractical it might seem.

In this interview with Brooke Warner, my colleague and publisher of She Writes Press, we’ll explore the seeds that led me to dig deeper into my new memoir, the themes that make Song of the Plains a hybrid memoir of sorts, and why I think it’s important to allow the creative process to unravel in its own time.

You will learn:

  1. Why I threw away 85,000 words of my first draft and started over again.
  2. The process—and problems—of writing a second memoir.
  3. How truth has different angles depending on your point of view, and how to find them.
  4. How to write an authentic story about family in their points of view.
  5. The importance of place and poetry in the healing process.

Linda Joy Myers is the author and co-author of several books about memoir, and the founder and president of the National Association of Memoir Writers. Her first memoir, Don’t Call Me Mother, won several awards, and her Power of Memoir has been used to teach writing as healing techniques. Linda Joy grew to love stories in a featherbed with her eighty-year-old great-grandmother, and since then has pursued family history, secrets, and research to understand the lives of her family, and to find the keys to unlocking the past and creating a positive present and future. Her passion for stories drives her love of teaching memoir.  She leads a biannual intensive course, Write Your Memoir in Six Months, with Brooke Warner. She shares her love of reading with her three children and three grandchildren, her two kitties, and her friends. A great day includes reading a book and watching a good movie. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

www.lindajoymyersauthor.com

www.namw.org

www.writeyourmemoirinsixmonths.com

Twitter: @memoirguru

 

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