Writing Life Blog

Writing Love

Love is arguably the emotion that matters most. We are born loving, reaching out blindly for our mother’s love, and continuing to search for love our whole lives, bending toward its warmth like a flower swiveling its face towards the sun. Love is universal, but the...

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Pictures of Childhood

In my elemental system of memoir, January is an Earth month, and Earth represents the childhood ground of our being. So here it is, January, and I’m thinking about my childhood. Over the holidays, my mom pulled out an oversize Brooks Brothers suit box brimming with...

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Playing with time: the work of the memoirist

Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year in the northern hemisphere, always gets me thinking about the fleeting passage of time. It’s a cliché to say that life is short, but once you get to middle age, that’s indeed how it feels.

One of the gifts of writing memoir is that you get to play games with time. In lived experience, a day can seem short or long, but it’s always the same number of minutes and hours ticking away. Not so in narrative.

As Virginia Woolf showed us so beautifully with her novel Mrs. Dalloway, which takes place over the course of a single day, when we set out to tell a story, we can do all kinds of tricks with time. A crucial hour can be slowed down and looked at from multiple viewpoints, all its facets separated out and narrated with full complexity, including the flashbacks of memory that give our minute-by-minute lives temporal depth and breadth.

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Writing Memoir in our #MeToo Moment

As a memoirist, I’ve had to think long and hard about some of the #MeToo issues that are now buzzing around the public sphere. When you write memoir, you generally don’t get too far before you run up against thorny questions of how much to reveal about your past,...

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Changing the World, One Story at a Time

I recently joined my oldest friend, Audrey Kalman, at Book Passage in Corte Madera, California to lead a writing workshop called “Birthing Your Truest Stories.” The theme seemed right to us because it integrates Audrey’s work as a birth doula and writer with my work...

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Writing Life

In writing life we seek, as Shakespeare put it, “to hold a mirror up to nature”—to call into words the intangible aura of significance that, whether we realize it or not, illuminates every moment of our lives. It’s a calling that offers deep, sustaining nourishment for the journey of life.

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