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 […]
Tag Archives | family stories
Note: This is the 3rd article in a series of 4 on the writing process of A Sugary Frosting published in 2016.
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.
In 2016, I finished writing the text for my next book, A Sugary Frosting/A Memoir of A Girlhood Spent in a Parsonage. The book was farmed out to a support group of readers drawn mostly from my mailing list. These readers wrote reviews on Amazon so that, when I launched the book, there would be a number of reviews to boost the book’s ranking on the Amazon algorithms. (Each reviewer received a signed copy of the hard-cover book.) This was a game of quantity not of quality.
These readers had also been finding recalcitrant errors in the text. These are mainly little grammar and spelling mistakes – often attributable to typos. I also hoped, if there are any sequencing mistakes (that is having something in the memoir occur out of time order – and I didn’t think this was the case) these readers would alert me.
This was the stage where I instinctively wanted to say “work done!” I even wanted to say “work well done.” But, the work of bringing the book to the attention of its readers was far from done. The days when writers wrote and marketers marketed are over. Today, writers, whether published traditionally or independently, must be marketers. And so…
Below is a synopsis of what I did to promote the book so that its natural audience was aware of it. I published the first items on my list in this post and the next four in the post that appeared the next week. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]
Note from the Editor:
On Wednesday of last week, I posted a blog article on the LaChine Massacre of 1689. The post was drawn from my work in progress Here to Stay, a history of my 17th-century Canadian ancestors. The 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.
It has recently been brought to my attention that my article was reprinted from our own blog, without my permission, to a race-baiting site.
I did not give them permission to use the post to attack Native Peoples and have requested that it be taken down. I do not endorse nor condone the racist tone of the site. And do not give permission to any race-based site to reprint our articles.
The LaChine Massacre of 1689 was another unfortunate incident in what can easily be labeled as a trade war between the Iroquois and the French. The French had disrupted the Iroquois trade patterns with superior French goods that was attracting the beaver fur trade away from the Iroquois.
Obviously, the French Iroquois conflict was more complicated than this—for instance, it involved the alliances the French made with the Hurons, traditional enemies of the Iroquois—but the trade war was a major factor in the antagonism.
By the time of the War of the Conquest, which American and English-Canadian texts call the French and Indian War, all the Northeastern Indians tribes (Including the Iroquois, save the Mohicans) had allied with the French—hence the name French and Indian War.
Thank you for your support in reading The Memoir Network blog and stay in the memoir conversation with us.
Sincerely, Denis Ledoux, The Memoir Network
DL: The Lachine Massacre happened 330 years ago today—August 5, 2019. This account of the tragedy is excerpted from Here To Stay, a 250-page as-yet- unpublished account of my 17th century Canadian ancestors, is the second most visited post on thememoirnetwork.com site. Who would have guessed? I am re-posting it for those of you who have an historical bent of mind or who might wonder how does a memoir writer write about the distant past. In this post, I refer to my francophone ancestors as Canadiens to distinguish them as a distinct group from anglophone Canadians who arrived with the Conquest in 1760.
In the evening of August 4, 1689, the night of before the Lachine massacre, a violent rainstorm hovered above the Saint Lawrence and the Island of Montréal. Lightning flashed repeatedly across the sky and deafening thunder resounded above the seventy-seven houses of the community of Lachine. As the Canadiens slept in their isolated farms, fifteen hundred Iroquois stepped ashore, undetected by the sentries who had sought shelter against the fierce storm. Hidden by the night, warriors fanned out in small bands and readied themselves to attack isolated farmhouses. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]
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—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. ]
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?
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. ]
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.
My second pregnancy was also easy enough. This time Albert was with me, and he and I could live it together. My mother had had most of her babies at home, but by the mid-1940s, women were…
The following cancer diary entries are from Martha Blowen and me, while celebrating Thanksgiving with the family after her diagnosis.