Angela Leese, Memoir Writer

I am going to write a memoir. Not an autobiography but a memoir because, as I read earlier, you can only write one autobiography but many memoirs. This one will be about how anxiety has infiltrated my life, from the time I was little until today. I probably won’t be posting any of that here – the first draft is just for me – though I will be continuing to post about what’s current going on in my life and may post every now and then about my general progress. Working title: Worrisome One.

So, like I always do, I started with research. Because I’m not capable of just diving into something without doing tons of research first. (Second memoir idea, how I love rules. When they’re not too restrictive.)

I bought a new book on writing, deciding that reading Writing Down the Bones for the fifth time would probably not provide me as much insight as seeing what someone else had to say about it. I decided on A Year of Writing Dangerously: 365 Days of Inspiration and Encouragement by Barbara Abercrombie. I’ve been working through the vignets the last eight days and am really enjoying that the daily pages force you to slowly read the book, rather than just plowing through it like I did my first few times through Natalie’s book.

I also Googled something like “how to write a memoir” because, well, why not? I found some really great articles, after throwing out the ones that are obvious click bait, fake how-tos, and blogs that feature a handwriting-like font that’s impossible to read.

  • Writing a Memoir from Linda Joy Myers – love number 4: When in doubt about what to write, select a scene, a significant scene, and write it.
  • Salon’s Guide to Writing a Memoir – tips from some of the best memoir writers out there (I just read my way through Stitches by Anne Lamott which isn’t really a memoir but, whatever. I like her writing.)
  • Memoir Writing for Dummies – yes, from the people with the bright yellow books but it’s quite a good list.
  • Rules for Writing a Life-Changing Memoir – I’m going to try to ignore the “it has to be interesting” rule as I draft things or I’ll lose my voice and start to write what peoeple would want to read rather than the truth.
  • How to Write Your Memoir by Abigail Thomas – Ignore the website it’s on and read her tips. Apparently this is where the quote I loved in Abercrombie’s book (credited to the original writer) was from: But the jumping-off place isn’t always so obvious. You can’t always find the way in. Sometimes you need a side door.

Have you ever thought about writing a memoir or, somehow, are you a memoir writer who ran across my blog? What scares you most about writing a memoir? What parts seem (or actually are) easy?

Book Review: Confessions of a Latter-Day Virgin

Confessions of a Latter-Day Virgin by Nicole Hardy

Why are you reading this book?
I saw it at the library and the title intrigued me. I didn’t even read the synopsis until we were in the car, leaving the library.

What is the first line?
“Sex isn’t everything,” my mother says lightly from the kitchen of my new condo.

Describe the book in haiku form:
struggling to find
a life between Mormon and not
she makes her own rules

What will you do with it now?
keep for reference
xxx keep and loan out to friends/recommend they download xxx
keep to read again & again & again
throw it away/delete from the Kindle

Anything else you’d like to say?
I read a good number of memoirs and they often feel so shallow or only focus on one tiny part of someone’s life. This book focuses on everything the author dealt with, trying to balance the teachings of the Mormon church and what she believed herself. Also, her writing is just funny enough that you’re not always bogged down in he overall serious tone of the story.

(This is the first of the 15 books to be read this next year. Up next, most likely, is Outlander, as I really enjoyed reading the sample last night.)