Upcoming Workshops and Classes

Dad: Re-Visited on #Father’s Day

Judy L. Mandel

 

Dad beach 1953012I can see my dad bent over his watchmaker’s bench, jeweler’s monocle in his right eye, squinting the left shut while he scrutinized a diamond. Dad didn’t have much hair from the time I could remember, but in this crouch there was always one wayward black-gray strand dangling in front of the monocle.

He proudly displayed his framed Gemologist certificate behind the diamond showcase in his small shop in Elizabeth, New Jersey. As a kid, I could never figure out why that piece of paper, earned after a short course in identifying the quality of diamonds and other gems, meant so much to him. It wasn’t until much later that I realized it was the only graduation certificate he ever received. Another reason he insisted I get a college education.

My dad and I operated like far-flung planets in the same solar system; my mom and my sister our shared moons, but never sharing the same orbit. I worshipped him as a child. At first because he could pick me up over the waves at Bradley Beach, protecting me from their washing machine swirl, the sand-caked bathing suit, gulps of ocean and salt-stung eyes, if I stayed close enough for him to grab me and lift me at just the right moment when the wave peaked its highest.

Staying close was not always easy. He would wade ahead of me in the surf until I got up the courage to run after him and cling to an arm or leg. Off the beach, he was home for only a couple of hours each night before bedtime, just one full day each week on Sunday. He never left his shop in someone else’s hands. “That was just asking for trouble,” he said.

Sunday was his bowling league, and I would beg to be taken along to watch or play pinball in the arcade area. I remember him being reluctant, giving me a fist full of quarters to keep me occupied while he competed with his team. He was pretty good too, and taught me how to hit a split for a spare.

He was always reading a couple of books at a time. Usually the newest popular fiction by his favorite authors: James Michener, Herman Wouk or Leon Uris. When he was propped up in bed, book leaning on his tummy and his black reading glasses balanced on his nose, I knew not to interrupt. Sometimes his bedside radio played softly.

Dad was the one who went out into the unknown world, encountering strangers daily, slaying the dragon of commerce with a very small sword. I was right to think him brave, even if I didn’t know why.

He was fifty when his shop went under, I suspect because of his generosity in extending credit and cutting prices when someone “needed” an engagement ring or a gift for Mother’s Day. Just 10 then, I remember he and Mom telling us the news, assuring us that everything would be fine. And, it was fine. Dad got a job with a jewelry chain and probably had the most productive years of his life. He won prizes for his incredible salesmanship, beating his own goals year after year. After his death, I found a letter from one of those bosses, folded into a tiny square of yellowed stationary and tucked into a strong box under his bed, praising his skill and expertise. It made me think of that Gemologist certificate, lost long ago.

I tried to stay close over the years, hoping he would always lift me over dangerous waves. It wasn’t until I wrote my memoir, Replacement Child, that I understood the illusive chasm between us. That the memory of my sister, killed in a plane crash when she was seven, was never far from his mind. What could be more of a reminder than a daughter who looked, and for all I know sounded, similar to his lost girl?

I learned a great deal about Dad from writing through his ordeal following that horrendous accident, pieced together from often-told stories, news articles and family notes. The hurt at being his “replaced” daughter faded and I came to understand just how brave a man he really was.

 

Judy L. Mandel is the author of the IPPY award-winning memoir, Replacement Child. She will be a workshop leader at the upcoming WRITE YOUR MEMOIR NOW! workshop retreat, sponsored by NAMW, October 3-5 in Connecticut. She will join NAMW President, and award-winning author, Linda Joy Myers and memoir teacher and author Jerry Waxler for the in-depth memoir retreat. Check now for early bird discount and special bonus!

Writing a Healing Memoir/Spiritual Autobiography Workshop—6 Session Summer 2014

linda-joy-myerswith Linda Joy Myers

We all grow up with the weight of history on us. Our ancestors dwell in the attics of our brains as they do in the spiraling chains of knowledge hidden in every cell of our bodies. ~Shirley Abbott

In this workshop, we silence the noise of everyday life and dig into memories, tune into writing our stories, and learn the skills needed to write a satisfying memoir—to get all the way to “The End.”

It’s important to write freely without worrying about your inner critic or being published just yet—though that may be your ultimate goal. In order to get your memoir done, you need to feed your creative spirit, and have accountability to help get your stories on the page in a first draft.

The workshop:

  1. Send that week’s story to your classmates through email.
  2. Workshop members read and write feedback through email—reflecting on what works; offering feedback about what could be different or clarified.
  3. At class time, we gather by phone to talk about the stories—discussing what comes up as you write, your inner critic, doubts and dreams about your stories, and questions about structure. Find out in person on the call what you want to know from the group that will help you continue and develop your work.
  1. I guide the group, offer writing tips, and teach techniques that help you keep writing and learn how to grow as a writer.

Six sessions this summer, to keep your writing going!

Member Price: $250.00

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Non-Member Price: $260.00

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Dates

6-19

6-26

7-10

7-17

7-24

7-31

Finding Your Voice in Memoir | Memoir Intensive TeleWorkshop

judymandelA 4-week Memoir Workshop Intensive by Judy L. Mandel  by phone and email

June 10, 17, 24, July 1
4 PST, 5 MST, 6 CST, 7 EST

$125 for non-members

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$110 for members

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Often when we start writing our memoir, we struggle to find our own unique way of telling the story—our voice. It can be as elusive as a shadow, as hard to capture as a dream. Once we find our voice, the way our writing sounds most like our inner self, our story is much easier to shape. Finding the right voice for your memoir is very much like falling in love; hard to describe but powerful.

What you will learn:
• How word choice, cadence, and sentence structure contribute to creating the mood in the world of your memoir
• Not to be afraid to experiment with different ways of writing
• How free-writing can free your inner voice
• How to think about your life in terms of meaningful scenes or vignettes
• How to examine different memoirs in terms of voice, and how to apply that to your own writing

How the class will work
We will have four 60-minute telephone sessions. In each session I will share information that will help you develop your own voice for your memoir. You will also have an assignment for each class that will relate to your memoir development that you will send on to everyone in the class at least a day before our session to give everyone a chance to read it.

We’ll use the second half of the class to comment on each others’ work in a constructive and supportive manner. We will also address your specific issues with defining and using a consistent voice within your memoir. I will also be happy to talk to you individually about your work via email or phone during the duration of the course.

Bio
Judy L. Mandel is a workshop leader, writing coach and editor. She is the author of REPLACEMENT CHILD – A MEMOIR (Seal Press, 2013). Judy’s essays and articles have appeared in Connecticut LIFE, ASJA Monthly, Complete Wellbeing Magazine, Connecticut Authors and Publishers Newsletter, and The Southampton Review. Judy is now writing a novel as well as teaching memoir writing as part of  National Association of Memoir Writers.

Free Events at the National Association of Memoir Writers

Pile-of-Books

By now, writers are aware that the publishing world is undergoing a volcanic eruption that has changed the landscape forever.  Ten years ago, when I published my first book Becoming Whole, it was “against the rules” to give anyone the hint that you were self-published. It was a dirty word then and generally understood that any self-published book was just not any good. Those of us writing and developing our books to the highest level of professionalism, which most writers did, were not in agreement with this assessment, but we wore it around our necks anyway. It carried an uncomfortable weight, and was something we had to either defend or deny.

Many of us got around the problem by starting our own publishing company–which I did with three friends. We hired the best designers of interior and covers, bought 10 ISBN numbers, created a DBA and publishing company name, got copyeditors and proofreaders–all of it. I learned about Bowker and what it does, and the Library of Congress rules. Printers, the thickness of paper, matte vs. glossy covers, shipping. It was a huge uphill climb and exhilarating. It was also a ton of work in a field I knew nothing about. And, I had to act as a publisher with Lightning Source, now called Ingram Spark, which is geared toward self-publishers now, but then I felt I was an imposter. I was a writer, mostly, but I was also determined to not be fettered by the publishing world’s gatekeepers at the time. 

I’m so excited to be part of the new conversation about publishing now! My last three books were published by She Writes Press, a hybrid publishing company that took the work I had to do by myself before and produced a professional set of books, two of which are finalists in the ForeWord Review Book of the Year contest. 

So here at NAMW, the publishing revolution, along with the Memoir Revolution, dubbed so by our own Jerry Waxler, are big topics of discussion. This week I’m pleased to have with us two self-publishing experts–expert because they did the work of researching how to publish on a shoestring, and put in the time to do their books well and with great care to detail. 

Sharon Lippincott and Boyd Lemon - medium sized

Sharon Lippincott and Boyd Lemon, our April Roundtable guests, have a huge cache of resources to help you learn more about self-publishing–from writing, to online organizations, to editing. Please join us live so you can ask questions, and as always, when you sign up, the downloadable audio is yours to keep as a resource.  

 

April Roundtable Details

Topic: Self-Publish Your Book on a Shoestring 

Experts: Sharon Lippincott and Boyd Lemon

Date: April 3, 2014

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

Sign up for this month’s Roundtable by clicking here

 

Spring 2014 Telesummit Slide

Spring 2014 Telesummit

It’s that time again! Please join us for our FREE Memoir Telesummit May 9. This event is always very popular, and still Free to all who sign up. 

 

 

 

This Spring, I’m so please to offer you four amazing experts in the field of

writing, publishing and marketing for our Memoir Telesummit

Angles of View–Writing and Sharing your Memoir

Back again with us is the talented and vivacious Sue William Silverman, author of three books. Just released is her third memoir The Pat Boone Fan Club–My Life as a White Anglo-Saxon Jew. She will talk with us about how to think about your memoir career, and the possibility that you will write more than one memoir. 

 

And when you write that book–what will you do? Will it fly off the shelves like books do in the Harry Potter movies? There is magic in getting your book into the right hands, and part of that magic lies in learning all you can about marketing. 

Our guest, the well-known book marketer expert John Kremer will talk about the basic, and advanced steps you need to know about to make your memoir a bestseller!  

 

In this era of fast everything, the flash essay and fiction has become popular–but it takes a certain angle to make your piece not just be a cut up version of a longer story. Our guest Christine Houser, owner and inspiration for FlashMemoirs.com will talk about the secrets of how to create brilliant flash memoirs that give you a chance for publication and even a prize.

One of the most challenging tasks in memoir writing is creating a plot–after all, we know what happened when, don’t we? But a memoir is more than “this happened and then that happened.” We’re so happy to welcome back Martha Alderson, best selling author of several books on plot. She’s going to talk about how to pre-plot your transformation in your memoir. She’ll guide us to find the moments that make your book sing–those moments of transformation that bring readers to your book and give them a takeaway they can use in their own lives.  

 

Remember, the Memoir Telesummit Angles of View–Writing and Sharing your Memoir is May 9–from 10 AM PDT to 3 PM -and it’s FREE! Tell your friends and sign up for the downloadable audio set to keep.

We look forward to seeing you at these free events to educate and inspire you to write and publish your memoir!

Have a great week!

Linda Joy Myers 

President

National Association of Memoir Writers 

 

 

 

 

Family Troubles: The Hazards and Rewards of Writing About Family | Joy Castro

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April Member Teleseminar

April 18, 2014

 11 AM PDT    12 PM MDT    1 PM CDT    2 PM EDT

 

 I’m pleased to welcome Joy Castro this month as our member teleseminar presenter. I highly recommend her memoir The Truth Book, and Family Troubles–Memoirists on the Hazards and Rewards of Revealing Family. She gave a powerful presentation at the AWP Conference in Seattle last month, and I loved meeting her in person. It’s always inspiring to meet the “real” people I have gotten to know in their memoir.

We’ll be discussing the ethical and emotional pressures that infuse the process of writing memoir about family.  While William Faulkner famously said that good writing was worth “any number of old ladies,” most memoirists are more sensitive to our family members’ privacy, dignity, and feelings.  How do we write memoir that holds true to our own vision while not gratuitously exposing our family members?  Is it possible–or even desirable–to try to protect them from our literary explorations?

What you’ll learn:

  • We will explore the hazards memoir writers face when writing about family
  • What some of the textual techniques are for preserving family members’ privacy
  •  We’ll talk about strategies for if, when, and how to share manuscripts with family members
  • We’ll discuss the important personal and literary rewards of wrestling with the difficult challenge of writing memoir.

Bio:

 

Joy Castro is the author of the memoirs The Truth Book (2005; U of Nebraska, 2012) and Island of Bones (U of Nebraska, 2012); literary thrillers Hell or High Water (St. Martin’s, 2012) and Nearer Home (St. Martin’s, 2013; short story collection How Winter Began (U of Nebraska, forthcoming).  Winner of a Nebraska Book Award and an International Latino Book Award and a finalist for the PEN Center USA Literary Award.

Joy edited Family Trouble:  Memoirists on the Hazards and Rewards of Revealing Family, (U of Nebraska, 2013).  Her work has appeared in Fourth Genre, Seneca Review, Afro-Hispanic Review, and The New York Times Magazine.  She teaches literature, Latino studies, and creative writing at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

 

 

 

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