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What I Saw on Christmas Day

Editor: This lovely tribute about the passing of a care facility resident on Christmas Day was written in 2013 and reflects the previous year. The author’s husband, Henry Gosselin, has since passed. This is what I saw on Christmas Day while sitting on the couch with my husband at the Vicarage by the Sea, the […]

why I'm motivated to write

Why I’m Motivated to Write My Memoir? This is how I process life.

I’ve been reflecting on why I’m motivated to write my memoir and realize that I come back to my writing every day because I cannot stay away. It is how I process life. Writing helps me understand what has happened and how I feel about it. My dad’s Norwegian stoicism and our family’s isolation caused by his alcoholism prevented much communication with anybody, in or out of the family. I turned to writing to “talk” to someone. I wrote letters to any relatives and pen pals who would write back, and who I felt were my friends.

As I now write my memoirs, every memory I write about teaches me something new about myself and how I’ve become the person I am. When I started my memoir, I began to forgive myself for self-defeating behaviors I could not overcome. Re-living events buried for years has brought tears, but it has helped me let go and be a less fearful, ashamed, and workaholic person. Writing is the best thing I do for myself.

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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 […]

Successful Book Launch

Preparing for A Successful Book Launch

Note: This is the 3rd article in a series of 4 on the writing process of A Sugary Frosting published in 2016. 

Post 1: I Finish A Sugary Frosting: Notes on the Memoir Writing Process

Post 2: Mechanics of Writing a Memoir: It’s not all Inspiration

Post 3: Preparing for A Successful Book Launch

Post 4: Better Book Production is Possible

Preparing for A Successful Book Launch: I’m finished writing the text for my next book, A Sugary Frosting/A Memoir of A Girlhood Spent in a Parsonage. What follows is a synopsis of what I am doing to promote the book so that its natural audience is aware of it.

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Lachine Massacre

Franco-American History and The Lachine Massacre

The following post on the Lachine Massacre, drawn from my work in progress Here to Stay, a history of my 17th-century Canadian ancestors, has been republished on a racist, race-baiting site. I have asked them to take it down, but they have not done so.

I did not give them permission to use the post to attack Native Peoples. I do not endorse nor condone the racist tone of the site and do not give permission to any racist site to reprint our articles.

This post was intended to be a piece of history – and in no way a derogatory comment on the Iroquois. Both sides had their share of cruelty and savagery.

While the Iroquois attack was brutal and devastating, I have written the same about my ancestors’ attacks on the English in New England: Deerfield, Massachusetts, and Portland, Maine.  These are just two sites that were savagely attacked by the French and their Algonquin allies. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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formal research

You Need Formal Research

Interviewing family members and friends is clearly a form of research, but interviews alone are usually not enough to give your stories the depth they require. For that, you need formal research.

Gathering stories at family events

5 Steps to Gathering Stories at Family Events

Gathering stories at family events—interviewing—is one of these basic steps you can master for writing your memoir. Following these basic steps, anyone can succeed at writing interesting and meaningful memoirs.

As a memoirist, you must always double-check the information you already have, and seek new material to flesh out your stories. Reunions, weddings, funerals, birthday and holiday celebrations rate well on both of these tasks: scattered relatives, each of whom has a piece of the family history to share, are in one place at one time. Gathering stories at family events is an opportunity not to be missed.

Gathering stories at family events

When it comes down to it, people love to tell their stories. The family historian’s job is to ask the right questions to get to the heart of the story. Here are five simple guidelines, extracted from both Turning Memories Into Memoirs and The Photo Scribe to facilitate gathering stories at family events. These suggestions will streamline the process for would-be lifewriters: [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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family stories you don't agree with

Writing About Family Stories You Don’t Agree With

How do you write about family stories whose interpretation you don’t agree with?

We all have family stories that we have heard over and over again. When they are told in family gatherings, no one expects any contradiction. After all, the stories are the accepted “truth” about someone in the family. The problem is that you don’t agree with the meaning people ascribe to it.

How do you write about these family stories you don’t agree with? There’s no problem when you are in agreement with the storyline and the interpretation, but what do you do when you are not—especially what do you do when you are out of sync with other relatives in the way you interpret the story?

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family stories

Mine Your Family Stories

There is a rich lode of stories that you can tap into quickly both for their historical content and for what they tell you about how members of your family wanted their young to be. These are “family stories.” [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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Retiring to Memoir Writing

Retiring to Memoir Writing: Justine Powell Kuntz

Editor’s note: We came across this guest article published by Justine Kuntz back in 2013, and were so taken with her story of retiring to memoir writing that we decided to publish it again. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did and that it inspires reflections on your own life and memoir.

Eight years ago as a retirement project for church, I introduced memoir writing at St. Gregory’s Episcopal Church in Boca Raton, FL. Earlier, after twenty-two years of teaching English, I chose to flee the regimen of teaching and accepted a position in the business world. The new position required learning more about computers than what I had used in the classroom but that turned out to be a blessing in disguise when I fully retired nine years later. While in business, I had missed teaching, so developing a curriculum for memoir writing made me feel at home once again and helped ease me into retirement and doing what I loved most—teaching.

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