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Archive | Types of Memoir

There used to be one type of  memoir, and it was mostly—although never exclusively—reserved for the rich and famous.

Much has changed.

The one kind of memoir genre that prevailed was written by famous people about the important events in history that they had taken part in. Mostly, these accounts were about how wonderful they were and how important their roles in history had been. Often, these memoirs were about excoriating their political or business rivals and actually provided little emotional or psychological insight into the protagonist other than s/he was a “good guy.”

Today, we have more kinds of memoir types—or genres—than we could have imagined even only several generations ago. This Memoir Writer’s Blog category devoted to types of memoir is proof of that.

Today’s memoir genres—and I’m including only the subcategories in this category—include the following:

In beginning to write a memoir, you need not have a clear sense of where in the types of memoir your story is likely to fit. Some writers‚ such as Kate Christensen who began to write her Blue Plate Special with a sure sense that it would be a foodoir, know from early on what it is they are writing. Other writers, however, begin by simply writing.

When Mary Ellen Ellwell began her With No Extraordinary Power, she had no idea where the writing would bring her. Eventually she realized that, of all the types of memoir,  what she most wanted to write was a professional memoir. She had been head of a National Council of Social Work Education and, in that capacity, had sponsored the adoption of the BSW which today is accepted as a gateway degree but which she had to champion over many year to get it accepted in the profession. For more on this author, click here.

Below are posts, listed chronologically, by writers who have had interesting life journeys that took them to physical and emotional arenas they had not dreamed of as young people. Links to their books are available in the articles.

If you are interested only in subcategories, click to the links in the bulleted list above.

In conclusion

If you would like to explore writing our own book, to examine and record your experience, click here.

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Going Up in Flames: My Dream Shop Was Burning to the Ground!

This excerpt is from Business Boy to Business Man the memoir of Robert Verreault as told to Denis Ledoux. The memoir was published in 2013.

During the summer, I took a longer supper break and, after returning to the shop — where I had over a hundred and fifty employees — I might stay until the second shift went home at 11. The evening of July 18 was no different.

When I was young, I used to take care of emergencies at the shop myself, but no more. My summer camp’s telephone number was unlisted, and I had given it only to family and friends so I usually had a lot of quiet when I was there.

That night, however, the phone startled me awake at about 3:30. In the darkness, as I reached for the lamp, right away, I had a bad feeling. A middle-of-the-night call was not a compressor gone wrong. It was something much more serious. Could it be one of my parents was sick? Or, my wife’s? We had a lot of salesmen out on the road. Had one of them been in an accident? I stumbled through the camp to reach the phone in the large family room. When I answered, I heard a woman, announcing herself as a telephone operator, asking if I would take a phone call from a police officer. “He said you would want to be disturbed,” she added.

I said immediately, “Yes.”

Had the police caught a thief in the shop? But, what would a thief want with conveyors? I knew, of course, that was not what a thief would have come for—a thief would have been looking for cash in the office.

But it was not a thief the officer was calling me about. What he said next shocked me.

“The Diamond Machine plant is on fire, Mr. Verreault.”

“What?” I shot back stunned.

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The Memoir Network

Working in Saudi Arabia

DL: The following is a guest post by a write who co-incidently bears the family name of Guest—Colin  Guest. It presents his first days working in Saudi Arabia. The excerpt is form Follow in the Tigerman’s Footsteps / The Memoirs of a Serial Expat. Click here to learn how you, too, can send a guest post in to us.

On my arrival at Jeddah Airport, now called the King Abdulaziz International Airport, Harold was there to meet me. As it was lunchtime by the time we arrived on site, Harold took me straight to the canteen. As we walked in, I noticed two seated English guys having lunch. On seeing me walk in, one looked up.

“Do you have my passport?” he asked. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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Memoir writing - different parts of self

How to Write Different Parts of Myself in My Memoir or, A Vignette on Diversity—Inner Diversity

DL: When I sent a call out for vignettes on diversity, I had not thought of intra-psychic diversity but here came a piece from Sue Lebel Young based on this very modality! Sue is a long time subscriber to this e-newsletter. Here is her post answering “how to write different parts of myself in my memoir.”

I have a book about my struggle with and eventual freedom from what I am calling FOOD FRENZY.  The book is called FOOD FIX: OLD NOURISHMENT FOR NEW HUNGERS.

How to Write Different Parts of Myself in My Memoir Can Be Interesting

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Folks gather for the book launch party

Book Launch Tips: Business Boy to Business Man, by Robert Verreault

The book launch party was a lovely experience—one that brought to those of us who were involved in creating the book a strong sense of (forgive the overused term!) closure. Writing a memoir is a long haul and it is refreshing to have an event as one might a wedding or a funeral to gather […]

work with and through pain

Work With or Through Pain: Writing Painful Memories

In this video, Work With or Through Pain: Writing Through Painful Memories, I talk about writing through painful memories. Pain is often a barrier to memoir writing. Who wants to revisit difficult times? Although delving into the past is a generally pleasant experience and promotes healing and growth, it can also be painful.

the painful truth

Tell the painful truth in a memoir, or why washing family laundry in public is difficult

It is not always easy to tell the painful truth in a memoir—in fact, it usually isn’t.

Anyone writing a memoir must face the challenge of how to tell the truth of his or her story at the same time as one does not want to cause harm or pain. I have written elsewhere about telling the truth in a memoir. Those posts have been more on the objective level—the theory of telling the truth.

A Sugary Frosting has brought me face to face – personally – with the challenge of telling the truth. I’m not a great fan of “silly me thinking I knew how to tell the truth before I had to face the challenge!” so this is not going there. No, this piece is simply an application of what I  already knew and have written about.

A Sugary Frosting is a book that I co-authored with Martha Blowen, my deceased spouse. The title to the book came from Martha’s journals. There was an entry in which she referred to her childhood as being A Sugary Frosting with life “having to be sweet and sticky.” This definitely was part of the painful truth. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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personal memoir

Seven Reasons for Writing a More Personal Memoir

You want to write your memoir, but you resist getting too personal, going in too deep. In short, writing a more personal memoir.

Your guarded secret that you wanted to have your own business one day or your hope that your father would apologize eventually for his denigration of you—this has happened and it has had a great impact on you. Your even deeper secrets—the sexual orientation that you dared not reveal or your negative self-concept—surely this can’t be the subject of a memoir. How would you live this down? Isn’t it better to stick with the facts and dates? And aren’t these inner realities too personal to impose on others?

1) The more personal your memoir the more universal it is.

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memoir writer's experience

How to Write a Successful Memoir: One Memoir Writer’s Experience

Congratulations to author Dennis Blue who received the 2019 Christian Indie Award in the business category for Through the Eyes of a Fisherman. Dennis is truly one of those authors who was a pleasure to work with. He brought much thoughtfulness to bear on his task, and we are so proud to see his efforts rewarded. I recently had the opportunity to interview him about his experience writing his recent books, Running the Good Race and Through the Eyes of a Fisherman.  I am pleased to share his “One Memoir Writer’s Experience.” —DL

Talking with Dennis Blue about his writing

Denis Ledoux: Can you tell our readers what your book is about and why you were impelled to write your book? What was driving you to spend the time, energy and money to get this book out into the world?

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my first memoir draft

Writing a First Memoir Draft Was Daunting

At age 54, I wrote the first 56,500 words of my first memoir draft of my book, Showbiz Survival Memoir.

It was cathartic writing a first memoir draft and getting it out of me. Honestly, it was a bit grueling though, — emotionally and even physically — to relive some of the most painful times in my life. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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finding the time to write a memoir

Do You Have a Foodoir in You?

The continuing popularity of books about food and cookery is well demonstrated by the vast range available—just look along the cookery and food shelves in any bookshop or at the long lists available online. Many are collections of recipes by well-known chefs and bakers, but there is also another genre which combines memoir writing with recipes or food-related experiences. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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