Magical Memoir Moments

Little Heathens–Perfect Memoir for a New Depression?

“Ralph Waldo Emerson could have learned a thing or two about self reliance from my great-great-grandparents,” asserts Mildred Armstrong Kalish near the beginning of her book Little Heathens:  Hard Times and High Spirits on an Iowa Farm in the Great Depression. I knew I would love this book when I read those lines, and I…

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Resistible Memoirs

Poor George Bush.  First his dog Barney bit a reporter.  Then he choked up when he said goodbye to has staff.   Things are so bad, in fact, that publishers are telling him to wait to write his memoirs. You can read all about it in the International Herald Tribune here.

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A New Earth and the Quest for the Essential Self

Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose was a runaway bestseller earlier this year, due in large part to the enthusiastic embrace Oprah Winfrey gave it on her show and in the ten-week internet classes she conducted with Tolle beginning in March, 2008.  The book sold 3.5 million copies in the first…

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An Op Ed–Memoir Style–About Socialism

I was hoping that Newsweek would want to take this article for “My Turn,” but since the election is tomorrow and the time will have passed for the relevance of this essay, I offer it here to you.  What good is a blog if you can’t self-publish? I love when old categories are rearranged as…

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The Spiral Staircase: Spiritual Memoir the Second and Third Time Around

Karen Armstrong’s life story illustrates the hero’s journey described in my previous post.  Her memoir’s title follows the traditional pattern of separation and hints at the initiation and return that happens within the pages of the book: The Spiral Staircase: My Climb Out of Darkness. Armstong builds her book on the scaffolding provided by T….

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Blogging and the Memoir Community Online

By Shirley H. Showalter There are more than 150,000,000 bloggers.  I joined the enormous online ocean less than six months ago, and I learn a new swim stroke every day.  Authors are beginning to find this site, and I am beginning to locate memoir authors, teachers, and speakers.  I thought I would point out three…

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Memoir, Formula, and the Hero's Journey

I subscribe to Garrison Keillor’s The Writer’s Almanac, which comes into my inbox first thing every morning.  I enjoy starting the day with a poem and some interesting facts about writers and writing. The October 12 entry introduced me to Lester Dent, a writer I had never heard of before.  Here’s the text that caught…

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Is Memoir Becoming Mandatory for Politics?

Candidates rise or fall depending upon how voters feel about the stories they tell and the stories others tell about them.  That’s why in recent years political conventions often feature films with the candidate as the hero, and hastily-written biographies usually crop up on Amazon and in the bookstores.  John Kerry was savaged by a…

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Contests and Memoir

I have always enjoyed biography, autobiography, and the personal essay, but my study of memoir as a subject is only two years old.  It started when I saw a 2007 literary contest announcement in the local newspaper, The Kalamazoo Gazette.  The three categories were poetry, short story and memoir. That choice was easy, since my…

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Max DePree, Leader, Mentor, Memoirist

A few weeks ago, my husband Stuart and I traveled to the “west coast” of Michigan, first to Saugatuck, where we had a lovely visit on a rainy day to the Wickwood Inn, and then to Holland, where Stuart explored the downtown and I visited Max DePree, the man who has been my mentor for…

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