Tag Archives: Memoir

How One Author Combined Personal Essays Into a Coherent Memoir

It is the height of hubris to edit an award-winning creative nonfiction author who also happens to be your mentor. But I decided the brilliant proposed title of Sue William Silverman’s guest post–”E Pluribus Unum: Out of Many (essays) One (book)”–wouldn’t translate well in a tweet. So I’ve imposed a more utilitarian title on this […]

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Are You Talking to Me? Use of the Second Person

Perhaps it’s because I don’t like being told what to do. Maybe it’s because I don’t like to reflect on some of the things I’ve done. But as a reader I generally do not care for the use of the second person. I’ve been forced to rethink my position after reading Sue William Silverman’s masterful […]

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Why I Left my Literary Agent

It was the hardest professional decision I ever made. Harder than leaving a stable think-tank job to join a start-up as its CEO. Harder than walking away from that successful start-up four years later to answer the call of an art-committed life. After three years of labor, with the finished memoir in hand, I chose […]

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How I Failed to Avoid the Post-MFA Slump

I have a confession to make. It has been six weeks since my last serious effort at creative writing. One thing I’ve learned from interviewing artists is that even the best of them sometimes find themselves in a slump. And we can be very supportive of each other in these times, as I discovered when […]

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Rebecca Skloot on Producing Creative Nonfiction

Readers are embracing creative nonfiction like never before, even if they may not know that what they are reading is defined as such. That is forgivable, as writers, editors and instructors in the creative nonfiction space are still struggling with defining creative nonfiction, or CNF. Perhaps more accurately, they are struggling to define its boundaries […]

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What Drives Some Memoirists from Truth to Fiction?

I remain obsessed with “truthiness” in memoirs. I know I’m not alone; my March post on the subject generated 187 comments. I believe I have arrived at three key principles for writing a memoir that is worth reading without truthiness. It is as follows: 1. Believe in your story. 2. Rely on your writing to […]

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MFA Nugget: The Secret to Including Drama in Your Creative Writing

MONTPELIER, VERMONT: If you think this post on enhancing dramatic moments in your creative writing is going to feature craft tips, think again. Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA in Writing instructor Lawrence Sutin has some amateur psychology and insightful philosophy to guide you; that is, he did in his lecture here at my final residency, […]

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MFA Nugget: What the Heck is a Postmodern Memoir?

MONTPELIER, VT: I would never miss a lecture by Vermont College of Fine Arts instructor Patrick Madden. Like his essays, his lectures provoke curiosity and reflection. And like his essays, he remains frustratingly elusive when it comes to the simple takeaways that so work in a blog summation. But in this lecture on the “postmodern memoir” […]

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A Two-Year MFA in Writing Reading List in One Post

“So I would imagine you have to do a lot of reading in an MFA program,” I am sometimes asked. The answer is yes, and appropriately so: some believe the best way to learn to write is to read a lot, and to read critically. So what have I been reading the last two years […]

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When the End of the Road is Just the Beginning

I just now, moments ago, finished the first draft of the last chapter of my book-length memoir. I am alone in my basement, full of joy and excitement and wonder, but I am not alone, because I know that the readers of this blog are with me. I still have a ways to go on […]

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