Featured NAMW Member – Dyane Harwood
- Friday, 28 April 2017 08:06
Dyane Harwood’s compelling memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder shares her struggle with postpartum bipolar disorder, a rare form of bipolar disorder. The first book to address this postpartum mood disorder, Harwood recounts how she grew up affected by mental illness in her family. Her beloved father, a gifted violinist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, had bipolar disorder and suffered from crippling depressions and bewildering manic highs.
During her childhood, Harwood learned how bipolar disorder could ravage a family, but no one suspected that she’d become mentally ill until her baby was born. Within a day of her daughter’s birth, Harwood’s thoughts became a manic maelstrom, and eventually she dropped into the morass of bipolar depression.
Struggling to survive the highs and lows of her brain’s turmoil, Harwood wondered if mental health would always be out of her reach. From medications to electroconvulsive therapy, from “redwood forest baths” to bibliotherapy, she explored both the traditional and unconventional
realm in between her harrowing psychiatric hospitalizations.
In “Birth of a New Brain” Harwood reveals how she ultimately achieves stability. She learns that despite having a chronic mood disorder, a new, richer life is possible. “Birth of a New Brain” is a chronicle of one mother’s perseverance, her burgeoning hope, and her grounded advice for others battling mental illness.
Dyane Harwood holds a B.A. in English Literature from the University of California at Santa Cruz. A writer for two decades, she has interviewed the authors Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison, Anthony Bourdain and SARK. In 2007, Harwood was diagnosed with postpartum bipolar disorder .Her memoir is the first book to discuss a woman’s experience with this rare form of bipolar disorder and overlooked postpartum mood disorder.
She founded a Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) chapter and facilitates support groups for mothers with bipolar disorder. Harwood lives in Ben Lomond, California with her two daughters, husband and Scotch collie.
Featured NAMW Member – Rena Graham
- Wednesday, 15 March 2017 08:29
INFALLIBLE: A Modern Mystical Memoir tells the story of an ambitious young interior designer, living a life of freedom and novelty, in 1980s San Francisco. She thought she’d left her past behind and attained the glamourous new life she’d fought hard for. Then the violence started: four seemingly random attacks in two years, the last almost fatal. These coincided with some of the worst violence San Francisco had also endured: the Jonestown massacre in the jungles of Guyana by local cult leader Jim Jones, the double murder of George Moscone and Harvey Milk and the subsequent White Night Riots. Was there a connection between her mugging, attempted car-jacking, street attack and stabbing and the violence that rocked The City she dearly loved?
Searching for help after exhausting conventional medical and legal sources, she met a one-armed astrologer who told her she had the most difficult chart he’d ever seen. His uncanny level of prescience and clear-headed guidance helped her move forward in life and heal the deep trauma she’d suffered. But what of the thirty difficult years ahead that he tried to prepare her for? What would she believe and which of his prophecies would come true? How did her belief influence the fate he saw for her? Would she eventually engage the future he saw for her, one so different from the one she strived to achieve?
Rena’s voice is as distinctive as the tale she’s chosen to tell. She plumbs experiences that could have sidelined others to bring the reader universal questions regarding belief and fate. Written from the mature, reflective voice of someone who lived and evaluated those years, this is a book for anyone who might wonder at their own odd destiny. Bold writing, telling dialogue and provocative characterization are highlights on this dramatic, yet humorous debut memoir.
Rena writes short and long form creative non-fiction and is a graduate of The Writer’s Studio at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, BC. Originally from the U.S., her work’s been published there and in Canada, where she currently makes her home. Cobalt Review, The Bookends Review, and the upcoming inaugural edition (spring 2017) of Chroma Magazine have all featured her work. She’s also had pieces shortlisted in Malahat Review’s Open Season awards and The Writer’s Union of Canada Short Prose Competition. Her work as an editor and ghostwriter helps writers and non-writers get their personal stories on the page.
January Roundtable Discussion – FREE to All
- Tuesday, 13 December 2016 11:52
What I Learned about the Courage to Write and Publish my Memoir Accidental Soldier
January 12, 2017
4 PM PST 5 PM MST 6 PM CST 7 PM EST
What kind of crazy person would trade college life for serving in the Israel Defense Forces at the tender age of 18? As a dual American-Israeli citizen, I was trying to make my life work as a college student until I realized that if I didn’t distance myself from my neurotic worrywart of a mother, I would become just like her.
Accidental Soldier: A Memoir of Service and Sacrifice in the Israel Defense Forces is the story of how I dropped out of college and volunteered for the Israel Defense Forces in an effort to change my life. The story shows that by stepping out of my comfort zone and into a war zone, I discovered courage and faith I didn’t know I was capable of.
As a first-time memoirist, I put myself out into the writing world in many ways, and learned what it takes to come full-circle with the writing and publishing process. I’d love to share the “highs” and “lows” of my journey with you. It is my hope that learning about my wins and successes will give you a road map to see your book as a marketable journey of creativity.
- It was a challenge to translate some of the “foreign” experiences of serving in the Israel Defense Forces for the United States audience. Through doing this, I discovered that my book was marketable here.
- I discovered it took courage to build my author platform creatively.
- I learned the importance of marketing my memoir to a niche audience and what that meant for choosing the right publisher
- There were unexpected challenges and successes with the publicity and marketing as I did a book tour for my memoir in the United States and in Israel.
- I’ll discuss how writing my memoir inspired me to support other writers and authors
Dorit Sasson is a copywriter, content marketing strategist, speaker, and author. She is the founder of “Giving Voice to Your Courage” podcast and website. She mentors authors and writers on how to build a more visible and engaging platform – creatively and with courage! Her groundbreaking memoir Accidental Soldier: A Memoir of Service and Sacrifice in the Israel Defense Forces is a finalist for the next Generation Indie Book Awards, Best Books USA Awards and Santa Fe Literary Awards. It’s a widely read handbook on how to become more courageous in life.
Listen to the recording below:
June Roundtable Discussion – FREE to All
- Tuesday, 10 May 2016 16:19
Inventing the Memoir: Truth Can Be Stronger Than Fiction
4 PM PDT 5 PM MDT 6 PM CDT 7 PM EDT
When I first started writing my memoir, I was nervous that it wasn’t interesting enough. After all, I was only 33. What life experience could I possibly cobble together to create a memoir? Mine was a story about being unhappily married and divorced and fat, and nothing else really. There’s no big plot twist, no tragic deaths. So when a publisher showed interest and asked me to change my story to fiction, I didn’t hesitate. I rewrote the book four times as fiction. I killed my best friend, let my ex back into my bed, and essentially undid all of the progress I had made in real life during that year. What I realized was this: people stopped relating to the material as strongly as they did when it was memoir. As memoir, when I would read excerpts, I would have women and men approach me afterwards and tell me that they too have felt the heft of weight on their chest, the worm of self-loathing in their brains. What’s interesting about my memoir, is that it’s true. As memoir, I was embracing the reader. As fiction, I was holding the reader at arms length.
*You are never too young to write a memoir; everyone has a story buried somewhere inside.
*The strength of memoir lies in our ability to tap into the universal truth that connects us.
*Tips for writing that universal truth, finding truth in identity.
*Why memoir is different than fiction.
Amye Archer holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Wilkes University, and currently teaches at The University of Scranton. Amye’s full-length poetry collection, Bangs, was released in 2014. She has also published two chapbooks: A Shotgun Life and No One Ever Looks Up. Amye’s work has appeared in Nailed Magazine, PMS: Poem Memoir Story, PANK, and various journals. She currently lives in Northeast, PA, with her husband, Tim, and their twin daughters Samantha and Penelope.
Listen to the recording below: