Memoir as Revenge

What should we do when we want revenge in memoir?

 One thing I would caution you not to write about or do is revenge. It is never okay to write for the public with the motive of revenge. Write your own revenge thoughts in a/your journal for yourself to vent your feelings. Revenge seems to come back to you one way or another: the other will see it and be unnecessarily angry, even justifiably angry, or you’ll move past those feelings and wish you hadn’t published such anger. It’s ok to feel that way as part of your beginning healing process but to write it in first person may hurt you in the long run. And the other.

Write a short story fiction about the incident or short story somewhat fictional tale and send these out for publication. Keep the true facts and people and incident private if the motivation is to hurt someone else. Continue reading “Memoir as Revenge” »

Bhanu Kapil and Voice/Memoir and Counseling

Bhanu Kapil was in town from Naropa University and did a performance piece as a red bundle on the floor. With words from her voice on tape we saw her life as a living body, a body downed by migration and loss. She shows through the small movement of her body through the
cloth that she is alive and moving but barely so, a human under assault.

The idea of a voice from the body is one that we all need to consider. How would our story be told from the body? Are you cut off as many are? Would you need to use your body to be in present time and it would have to be your practice? What words are left out of your narrative if your body is barely alive? Joyous, liberty, spunk? What verbs are not being used? Continue reading “Bhanu Kapil and Voice/Memoir and Counseling” »

Counseling Medical Problems Give Meaning to Memoir

In the last few months I have worked using hypnotherapy and counseling to help with the emotional part of pain and illness. We never create illness but there is always an emotional component and this is the component we can lighten or eliminate. There was a student who started to be afraid to fly and needed to do so for her research. Using hypnosis there were two stark memories of losing someone suddenly. Not to plane crashes but instantly. The sorrow and fear had transferred to flying. Continue reading “Counseling Medical Problems Give Meaning to Memoir” »

The Sense of An Ending by Julian Barnes

I changed my mind and it feels good to do so. I didn’t enjoy the lackluster voice of the protagonist in The Sense of An Ending until I sat down and read it for a length of time; sometimes reading a chunk of a book at one time makes a difference to me in how I can register a book’s tone and voice. Well, I  settled in with in and came to like this 60’s man who was really an ordinary “every man” who took what life gave him and made it enough. Not pro-active until the end. The book became an alternative to Catcher in the Rye with the same sensibility. Continue reading “The Sense of An Ending by Julian Barnes” »

Reading and Writing Helps Memoir

Read for Benecia Literary Arts and audience seemed to like the female touch in Salt and Paper: 65 Candles. Cooperative, peaceful, spiritual, living life with meaning of contribution and higher calling.

Reading Julian Barnes for a book group led by Pat Holt, former SF Chronicle’s book review. We’re thinking of what would make a modern classic where woman are portrayed realistically as powerful as they often are. Enough of the put downs of women and what is womanly. Julian Barnes book is The Sense of an Ending and is about memory. Continue reading “Reading and Writing Helps Memoir” »

Writing and the Egrets

Went on a walk in Alameda, CA, about thirty minutes from where I live on the marsh in Emeryville, to see the egrets nesting. Although we have egrets here, I understand there are about twenty places in this San Francisco Bay area that they actually build a nest and lay their eggs. They nest in colonies and the trees they pick and return to year after year are often called colonized trees because many nests are built in one tree or an several close by trees. Continue reading “Writing and the Egrets” »

Alison Bechtel’s New Book Are You My Mother?

Just saw Alison Bechtel at San Francisco’s Booksmith Height Street. (What a neighborhood to remind us of the 60’s and the “flower children” we once were.) It was a crowd of all ages and orientations and the store actually felt warm and inviting with the energy of the crowd coming from folks that wanted connecting. This is what Alison does for us. She helps us connect with her experiences of family and allows us to appreciate the truth in what we have lived, rather than the illusions of our defense. Continue reading “Alison Bechtel’s New Book Are You My Mother?” »

Adrienne Rich

The passing of poet, Adrienne Rich is a milestone. A time that has come to an end when she is among us to talk of sexism and with the courage to “tell her truth” . She was always the voice of the oppressed and the one of few women let through the “old boys network” to have her work be part of the poetry canon. I believe her talent but also her great intelligence found a way to her acceptance. I met her once in San Francisco at a reading for Diving into the Wreck. She was a wordsmith for sure. Continue reading “Adrienne Rich” »

Visaul Art As Poetry

I have talked before about how all the arts feed into an artist’s sensibility. I went to the play RED at the Berkeley Rep which was a two man show of Mark Rothko and his assistant. Rothko had an interest and talents in music, writing, philosopher and was, of course, one of the leading artists of Abstract Expressionist. In his large works of color blocks he wanted to show an absolute, uncompromising purity. His signature works were large single colored rectangles over a hovering ground. Continue reading “Visaul Art As Poetry” »

Dialogue in Memoir: An Element of Fiction

Most who write memoir have an important story to tell of surviving hardship or letting us go on an amazing adventure with them into new worlds of some kind. We know that the best memoirs come to life on the page because the author uses elements of fiction, such as dialogue.  At the same time, a memoir writer wants to be honest and write what only happened. No stories of abuse that didn’t happen and no mountain not climbed. However, to use dialogue is a tricky venture. Continue reading “Dialogue in Memoir: An Element of Fiction” »