A Note to my Students: Dare to Write the Un-Seemly and the Not-to-be-Seen
(Written to the members of The Memoir Club, 2016)
I am struck by something in all of your work. It is when you dare to describe the very hardest thing that the writing seems to expand, to grow into something larger than it was, and to become, in fact, beautiful. It is through and as against the darkness that the capaciousness of the writer’s love, and the contrasting happiness shines. By taking literary care, by devoting oneself to writing richly and honestly about racism, sexual violence, abandonment, struggle, disappointment—summoning the courage to write the “unseemly” and not-to-be-seen—that your writing becomes compassionate and true, like a gift.
Please find time for your wonderful, nourishing work.
“The memoirist grows up: As a memoirist writes she transforms as wordsmith and woman,” shewrites, September 2017.
“Whose admiration do we really value?“ shewrites, November 2016.
“Diving into the Wreck: The Bravery of my Students,” The Writer’s Guide, November 1, 2013.
“How can I get my memoir published?” Women Writers, Women’s Books, October 25, 2013.
“Tips of the Trade: 5 Ways to be Book-Promotion Buddies,” shewrites, July 2013.
“Writing is a Humiliation Banquet,“ shewrites, May 2013.
“White Cat-Black Cat: The Question of Truth in Memoir-Writing,” The Writers’ Guide, August 23, 2011.
Lecture on memoir writing for the Vermont College of Fine Arts, June, 2010.
A lecture that considers the challenge of making a story out of the mess of one’s life.
Memoir, Mother, Mirror, Myself Summer 2016. Published in Voices: The Art and Science of Psychotherapy.