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surviving childhood abuse

Surviving Childhood Abuse: A Writer’s Experience

Congratulations to Denise Brown on the publication of her book, Transcending Darkness: A Memoir of Abuse and Grace. I recently had the opportunity to interview Denise about her experience writing her book on surviving childhood abuse.  I am pleased to share her experience. To read Part 2, click here. To read Part 3, click here.—DL

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

Denise Brown: Transcending Darkness is a memoir about the abuse that I experienced during my childhood. Abuse led me on a path of self-destruction. This path encountered God and his mercy in unexpected ways.  It sounds like a crazy story, but I began writing my memoir when I was in college after having an incredible dream. An angel brought me to visit three teenage girls who were suffering emotionally. Each of them had been reading a book and were crying. I realized that the book was giving them a glimmer of hope for their futures. Then the angel revealed to me that it was my book that I had not yet written that they were reading, and that I was being given the choice of helping them or not. After that, I couldn’t get the dream out of my head! I began writing what would become Transcending Darkness a few days later.

DL: Can you tell us how long it took from the time you conceived the book to the time you had it published? How many years did you spend in active writing? Were there long breaks in between active writing periods? If so, what happened to get you writing again? Writing about surviving childhood abuse must have been difficult. emotionally

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Become good at memoir writing

Become Good at Memoir Writing

Twice a week or so, the Memoir Writer’s Blog posts a new article. I write about a variety of topics and most of them are not in sequence with what I have written previously. My only logic is to help you become good at memoir writing —better and better with every post.

I write in the Memoir Writer’s Blog as fancy takes me. Most readers, as I am guessing, probably do not prefer to learn in a structured manner and have to wait for the next article in the sequence.  What I write today may very well be the very topic s/he needs to keep going even if the memoir writer had not known that before reading the post on The Memoir Writer’s Blog.

There is a way of sequencing the articles to some extent.

Is there a best way to read the Memoir Writer’s Blog?

Read the Memoir Writer’s Blog as a way to create a context for you to delve into your memoir on a given day—today perhaps. Any one of the many posts can serve you as an entry point into the day’s creation.

Perhaps it is early in the morning (or at least it is time for you to write so you are early in your writing period for the day). You turn your computer on, sip your coffee or tea, wonder about your day and about what you might write. You know you are going to write a portion of your memoir—or perhaps it is a memoir you are writing of one of your parents or of your spouse. Soon your RSS feed informs you there is a new post from the Memoir Writer’s Blog. You are not quite ready to start writing so you dawdle a bit and read the post. It is about technique—perhaps on beginning a section or perhaps about creating vivid character. Well, it makes sense and you decide to implement the suggestion. Or…

Perhaps you are feeling overwhelmed. You have been at this writing so long! Is it really worth continuing? You begin reading today’s post. It is a piece of memoir, the piece about when my mother’s aunt left to go back to Canada and suddenly you realize how much you want to tell the story of your aunt who died when you were twelve and how you loved her and you begin to write that. It is out of sequence but you know you can connect it later to the rest of the story. Or perhaps, before you set in to write, you turn to more of the stories of my mother—and are pleased to find so many excerpts from her memoir.  You want to see how I have handled her story or perhaps simply to live for a while in another era before you begin to write about your aunt. Or…

Skill-specific posts in the categories help you become good at memoir writing

Perhaps you have been questioning whether you have enough skill in presenting action effectively and you turn to the categories of the blog and, sure enough, you find there a category labeled “action” under technique and you click on it. You discover several articles on how to create more effective action. In fact, you are reminded that action is not synonymous with “interesting” but that action like character and setting has to be better crafted. Or…

Perhaps it is not motivation or craft that is stopping you but the process itself. You have been having trouble with the pre-writing function and you check the blog categories and find several excellent articles on pre-writing and, before you do anything today, you read (or re-read) these articles on The Memoir Writer’s Blog. They ground you, and you move on to the writing you wish to accomplish today.

It is now clear to you that this blog, the Memoir Writer’s Blog, is an effective tool to learn to be a much better memoir writer. You turn to your spouse or perhaps your friend and say, “I’m getting a writing education from the Memoir Network’s blog. That’s why I turn to it whenever I commence to write.”

Then you forward a link to the Memoir Writer’s Blog to someone you know who is writing. You know the post you are alerting your friend to will have the same effect on him/her it had on you.

So that’s how I hope you read the Memoir Writer’s Blog.

What’s in the Memoir Writer’s Blog for you?

1. Regular, even daily, inspiration and motivation to write.

2. Education in both craft and process that will permit you to write the best memoir you are capable of. You can become good at memoir writing.

Become good at memoir writing.

You can, of course, read the Memoir Writer’s Blog for entertainment, as a way of making a diversion for yourself so you don’t have to do the work that is the focus of the Memoir Writer’s Blog, but I hope you won’t do this. It’s not the way to become good at memoir writing.

We usually publish two posts per week on a variety of topics in the Memoir Writer’s Blog. Keep coming and keep checking the categories and tags for topics that will help you to succeed. Subscribe via the FOLLOW at the bottom right of the page where you find this entry. When you do, you will receive a notice of every new post.

Keep writing. Let this be the year you write and publish your memoir.

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set-goals-brainstorming-2398562_1920

22 Memoir-Writing Goals for 2022

Did you find yourself wandering along with your memoir writing in 2021 and not achieving your memoir-writing goals?  Do you have a sense that you might have accomplished a bit more writing than you have? At this time of year, it is traditional to review how the past year went for you and to create […]

ghostwriting a memoir

Making a Home at the Howe Street Apartment

When my parents came down, they lived in a tenement on Lisbon Street. My father worked at Dulac’s which was nearby, and while the mills were by their tenement, my mother did not seek outside work but kept house.

memoir success

Memoir Success: Approaching Neverland

Memoir Success

Over the years, I have worked with many writers to help them create and shape their memoirs. It’s my pleasure to bring to your attention once again the success of one such writer: Peggy Kennedy from San Ramon, California, for whom I had the pleasure of providing coaching and editing help that led to her memoir success

Many readers of this blog have been writing for a while and some are despairing of finishing. There is hope. After a number of years of preparation, Peggy Kennedy’s memoir of growing up in a family with a mentally-ill mother, Approaching Neverland, saw print. (Ordering information at bottom.)

While the information below is from over a decade ago, I believe this memoir success story is dateless. Approaching Neverland did well—and so can you. A review in the magazine the Midwest Book Review gave it five stars. Originally fearful of speaking before an audience, she was a guest on a number of radio and television programs. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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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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