.......books: writing the memoir / journaling.......... .Talent Development Resources --..home page...site map


At first I began to write in my journal -- my thoughts, fears, anxieties -- finding words to express each emotion I felt.  It was through this process that I began to understand the true purpose of writing.

It is above all else to develop a form of communion with our inner life. A way in which we know ourselves. What we think. What we feel.

Cathleen Rountree.  The Writer's Mentor: A Guide to Putting Passion on Paper

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Judith Barrington. Writing the Memoir : From Truth to Art 
"Many of us long to write a memoir, perhaps because this form seems almost halfway between nonfiction and fiction, or because it offers us the chance to be as creative as we wanna be for a change. Barrington's book offers some thought-provoking guidelines to the would-be memoirist, such as how to handle writing about living people, when to name names, moving around in time, and finding the right form for your personal story. Nicely written, with plenty of examples and an intelligent, flexible approach." [review by Susan Perry, PhD from her site]

Sheila Bender  Writing Personal Essays: How to Shape Your Life Experiences for the Page  
[Booklist review:] "Sometimes it is difficult to face the truth. It is even worse to write it down. Fortunately, this book shows how to interpret life's powerful memories, overcome the fear of placing private truths before an audience, and, finally, form those experiences into personal essays. Bender uses classroom-tested methods to help professional and amateur authors master eight classic essay structures, including description, definition, narration, and persuasion."

Bloom, Lary. The Writer Within: A Guide to Creative Nonfiction   "... offers numerous examples of how Sunday supplement pieces evolve, along with specific tips, such as, "Go there" to get the details that make all the difference in a good story. He also reminds us that it can take longer to find the proper focus for a good piece than to write it, and that you can't always tell what the story really means until you've written a version of it and realized, "That's not right." [review by Susan Perry, PhD from her site]

Eldonna Bouton   Loose Ends, A Journaling Tool for Tying up the Incomplete Details of your Life and Heart  
[review by Jan Forrest, author, "Coming Home to Ourselves":] "..a deceptively simple, yet powerful tool for personal and spiritual growth. Author Eldonna Bouton takes us by the hand with genuine warmth, compassion, and just the right dose of humor; gently guiding us toward closure of past hurts and pains. Through Loose Ends we can move forward to a new, brighter version of ourselves."

Lucia Capacchione  The Creative Journal : The Art of Finding Yourself  
[reader:] "..clearly sets out how to uncover your many layered self through writing and drawing exercises and you don't need to be an artist to do them! Also a manual for discovering a creative self within you along the way. There are many examples of other people's journals which encourage the reader to let their child within take the pen or crayon and let go without inhibition."

Jan Forrest   Coming Home to Ourselves: Journaling Toward Wholeness
[reader:] "... has been a perfect tool for my group of women friends who enjoy getting into in-depth conversations on personal growth. The author touches on topics and situations that seem to be pertinent to every one of us. Her manner of communicating through print seems to open up long-locked doors, helping us look inside and discover who we really are...and how very "worth it" we are to know."

Barbara Ganim, Susan Fox   Visual Journaling : Going Deeper Than Words 
[publisher:] "Journaling with images instead of words is a powerful way to access your deep inner wisdom, even if you can't draw. A six-week plan of exercises and interpretative activities teaches readers a lifelong practice that can reduce stress, anger, fear, and other negative emotional states and conflicts."

Merrill Joan Gerber. Gut Feelings: A Writer's Truths and Minute Inventions
In these highly personal essays and powerful tales that verge on memoir, Merrill Joan Gerber opens to us her life and work as a writer. She is candid and unflinching in revealing the truths and inventions of a writer's vision and the use of life as the raw material of art. Her personal essays range widely, from the mysteries of love and marriage to painful encounters with suicides and family deaths. Gerber writes of her apprenticeships with celebrated writing teachers Andrew Lytle and Wallace Stegner and recounts her ghostly (and ghastly) experiences during a month at Yaddo, the famous retreat for artists. Gerber includes three pieces in the book - originally published as stories-but which blur the line between fiction and memoir, demonstrating Gerber's contention that the deepest secrets in life beget the most passionate fictions. [Amazon.com]

Marianne Hieb. Inner Journeying Through Art-journaling: Learning to See And Record Your Life As a Work of Art

G. Lynn Nelson. Writing and Being: Embracing Your Life Through Creative Journaling
With powerful, practical step-by-step writing exercises, a wealth of examples, and stories of personal transformation through journaling, Writing and Being demonstrates that intentional, guided journaling is a profound way to discover one's authentic self. Beyond mere diary writing, these creative journaling methods help readers chart a path for a better future. The book begins by providing tips for the logistics of journal keeping, and includes suggestions for getting started. It then explores the entire writing process and explains the distinctions between private writing and public writing.

Tristine Rainer Your Life As Story : Discovering the 'New Autobiography' andWriting Memoir As Literature
[publisher:] "Blending literary scholarship with practical coaching on how to craft short or long life narratives, Rainer traces the history of autobiography from Egyptian inscriptions through its recent evolution on the bestseller lists. Aided by examples from such writers as Maya Angelou, Russell Baker, Richard Rodriguez, Maxine Hong Kingston, Mikal Gilmore, and Carolyn See, among others, Rainer demonstrates how to write character portraits, how to remember what you thought you had forgotten, how to unify a story with thematic conflict, how to write scenes with dialogue and employ other fictional devices, how to use humor and perspective, and how to move through time. The author shares her remarkable techniques for finding the essentials of story structure within your life's scattered experiences. She also shows that autobiography need not be a linear, heroic quest, but may be assembled like a quilt, the pattern gradually emerging."

William Zinsser. Inventing the Truth : The Art and Craft of Memoir
The first edition (1987) evolved from a series of New York Public Library talks, for which the mandate was not to lecture about the genre of the memoir but to explain how a specific memoir came to be written. In the book's 1995 edition, Russell Baker, Annie Dillard, Alfred Kazin, and Toni Morrison were joined by Jill Ker Conway, Eileen Simpson, Henry Louis Gates Jr., and Ian Frazier. This time around, Zinsser has added a rich and charming reminiscence by Frank McCourt (Angela's Ashes).

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.interview -  Andrea Ashworth   author of memoir: "Once in a House on Fire"

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