Who could be more qualified to mete out advice on writing memoir than someone who holds a Masters Degree in Creative Writing from Stanford, wrote her own award-winning memoir, Don't Call Me Mother, and worked for decades as a clinical psychologist? This legendary person is Linda Joy Myers, who in addition to all the other things she does, is founder and president of the National Association of Memoir Writers (NAMW), and a veteran teacher and coach of aspiring memoir writers.
Linda Joy's latest book, The Power of Memoir: How to Write Your Healing Story, was released in January by Jossy Bass. I'm excited about this book, because it's the book I might have written as a sequel to my own. It provides enough direction for a beginner to start from scratch, and for those who have already piled up a stack of stories, it provides a process for compiling the stories into a professionally polished literary memoir. It especially shines in the chapter on "The Power of Writing to Heal." The information in this chapter provides an exciting overview found no place else on the different arms of scientific research being done on this topic.
In the latest Heart and Craft of Life Writing podcast, Linda Joy explains how writing literary memoir and integrating the story arc of our lives can lead to much deeper levels of insight than we can ever get from a pile of disconnected stories. In this wide ranging conversation she also talks about using our words, our stories, to create art. She reminds us that revision is more than just a word. At its root, it means to re-vision, to see things freshly, in new ways. Writing memoir is a way of cementing the positive effects of a re-vision of your life and converting it to forgiveness and other healing perspectives. She cites the example of one of her students who spent months writing stories about her mother in an attempt to deal with her anger. Ultimately the woman was surprised to discover that she loved her mother deeply.
There is much more to learn from this fast-paced 13 minute interview. Click the link below to listen on your computer, or right-click to download for listening on another device.
Right-click to download file
After you listen, you can learn more about Linda Joy's work with the National Association of Memoir Writers on the National Ass'n of Memoir Writers website, and you can find her book on Amazon.
Write now: jot down some thoughts about a part of your life that seems worth deeper exploration. Remember, most of the value of writing a memoir is in the writing, not in becoming published, or even sharing what you write.