Magical Memoir Moments

This photo, taken at the Sir Edmund HILLARY Museum at Mt. Cook, New Zealand, last February, was the germ of the idea to write a letter to Hillary.

Waking Up to the News In Lake Wobegon and What I’m Learning About Op-Eds: the Backstory

Today is Hillary Clinton’s 69th birthday. I’ve been thinking about writing a letter to her ever since last February when I visited the Sir Edmund Hillary Museum in New Zealand. I tell the backstory of how I published an Op-Ed about her birthday in the Minneapolis StarTribune.

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Interview with Carol Bodensteiner, Memoirist Turned Novelist

Meet Carol Bodensteiner. Pershaps you already have. Fellow writer Janet Givens refers to her as my twin! That’s because both of us wrote memoirs about being country girls and growing up on dairy farms. But only one of us is a blonde. 1. Your first book was about growing up on an Iowa dairy farm…

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Three Reasons to Read Your Memoir in New York City

Some writers leave the provinces and yield to the siren call of the city in their youth. My favorite author Willa Cather did that. She was published by Alfred A. Knopf, a powerful imprint designating quality, so powerful it has survived many mergers and is part of Penguin Random House, one of the Big Five…

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Are You a Pantser or a Plotter? Approaches to Memoir Writing and Life

Among writers, the question is this one: Are you a pantser or a plotter? When I first heard this question, I immediately linked it to my graduate adviser at the University of Texas at Austin. After I passed my Ph.D. exams, he said, Just think of finishing your dissertation this way: put your seat in…

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Your Chance to be an Author! Tell a FriendStory

Some of the people who read this blog are authors and bloggers. Other people who read this blog have a closeted desire to write. They need a little push. So, here’s a perfect opportunity for both kinds of people. Miranda Beverly-Whittemore, an author friend, started a blog a year in advance of her next novel Bittersweet being published. Bittersweet is…

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To Know as We Are Known: David Crumm's Five Tips for Interviewing

Being interviewed can be a daunting experience. Sometimes the interviewer isn’t prepared, hasn’t read your book, or is just looking for a way to stir up controversy to increase ratings. But sometimes an interviewer has not only prepared but has lived inside your book in such a way that he or she has actually climbed…

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Sing Out Like Susan Boyle: Five Lessons to Help You Find Your Signature Story

Nothing is more beautiful than an authentic voice that comes straight from the heart and soul of another human being. I can’t think of a better illustration of this fact than Susan Boyle’s first appearance (2009) on the TV show Britain’s Got Talent, which electrified the audience and, eventually, the world. Even if you’ve watched…

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How to Leave a Legacy. Hint: It Goes Beyond Your Book

  The most piercing thought any of us have is that some day we won’t be here. Some day, instead of sitting here looking out at the Shenandoah Mountain, I will be gone from this earth. Someone else will be looking through this window. In the words of poet Jane Kenyon, “all morning I did/the…

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Thriving in Leadership: One of the Best Ways Ever to Write a Book

Since leadership is not the subject of this blog, I haven’t told you yet about a great leadership book writing project I’ve been part of. Now, however, the book is being published, so I want to focus on a part of the experience that is relevant to this blog — the writing process. Like all…

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350 Posts! Can You Believe It?

The end of July and the first half of August are always celebration times in our family. We celebrate three birthdays and a wedding anniversary in the span of eighteen days. Four years ago, my son Anthony delighted me with the birthday gift of setting up a WordPress blog for me.  The blog today has…

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