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First Mine for gold, then Write Memoir

Hello, all you writers and authors and artists from across the board. I recently read a great little book by Abigail Thomas, Thinking About Memoir, so I wanted to share my thoughts with you about this book and add it to my new Book Review blog category.

Thinking About Memoir (AARP)By the way, my reviews aren't confined to the memoir genre. From the inception of my blog, which wasn't that long ago, one of my main purposes was to give voice to a wide range of nonfiction and fiction writers as well as artists in general who have caught my eye and my spirit. If you'd like me to post a blog about you and your work, please contact me and we'll go from there.

I believe the inspiration we get from each connection we make with art, whether through books, paintings, sculptures, theatre, dance, or music breathes life into our beings as we discover new ways to view our world.

Abigail Thomas' book, Thinking About Memoir, is oriented towards crafting the story of one's own life, whereas my guide book, Give the Gift of Story: TellTale Souls' Essential Guide to Tap Memory & Write Memoir in Five Acts (yes, that's a mouth full!) is all about looking at someone other than oneself - it's about honoring a loved one with a bio-vignette that captures that loved one's character. Both of our books, however, are meaningful guides to writing in general; they speak to a wider audience than memoirists to be sure.

Book Review: Great things come in small packages, so Abigail Thomas gets kudos for a job well done. She is honest, funny, and tells on herself, which, I believe, is the best way to teach.

Thomas' rambling style of instruction isn't so much about technique as it is about giving us stimulating exercises that sometimes seem to come out of nowhere, but result in remarkable insight on how to write memoir well.
The guide, at just 108 pages, is so packed with activities that a writing instructor could use it for a semester-long course and still not exhausted all of Thomas' unique ideas. Let's suffice it to say she's a delightful task master. From the beginning when she asks us to write three word sentences so we have nowhere to hide and our writing won't take up extra space to asking us to write two pages of what we don't remember sheds a lot of light on her brand of Thinking about Memoir.

If we aren't afraid to dig deep, zero in on details, write an honest account, make a habit out of writing, and learn to invent our own structure, this book is a gold mine.

  • The Story Woman encourages everyone to write a bio-vignette about a loved one and become a TellTale Soul.