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becoming an American

Becoming an American—Why Not?

DL— Stories about immigration and citizenship form the backbone of our great American story as much today as in past times.  My ancestors were among the millions who came here in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Here is an excerpt about becoming an American from We Were Not Spoiled, the memoir of my mother Lucille Verreault Ledoux as told to me. For many more excerpts of my mother’s life, click here.

Memoir Writing

Joseph Verreault

My father had not come to the US to stay, but that’s what happened. After working here for a number of years first to support himself and then his growing family and eventually buying an apartment building that was his family’s home, it must have seemed obvious to him that this is where he would spend the rest of his life. So, why not give in to becoming an American citizen? Thinking this way, he was able to make the decision be an easy one. He was a practical man with a lot of responsibilities.

Becoming An American

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write a memoir

Write a memoir: practical how-to information to ace it.

Over the years, I have both worked with people to help them write a memoir and have heard from people who have done the work of writing theirs.

Often these people had never written anything before—not memoir, not fiction, not creative non-fiction. They did not think of themselves as writers. One day these people—as you are now doing—decided it was time to write a memoir. They set about to compose a lasting record of their personal and family stories in writing. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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memoir interviewing

Memoir Interviewing: how to prepare for one and carry it off!

Memoir interviewing is an integral piece of research. Although you may assume you can depend on your memory when you write your lifestories—memory isn’t always as reliable as you want it to be. Interviews with relevant family members and friends can supplement your memory and broaden the perspective of your memoir.

Below are some notes on how to prepare for the best memoir interviewing you’ll ever undertake!

1) Select whom you will be memoir interviewing.

If your time is limited, or your family is large and offers many choices, it will be all the more important to identify a manageable number of knowledgeable relatives and friends to interview.

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memoir writing tips

Five Memoir Writing Tips Nancy Pelosi Ought to Know Before She Pens A Memoir

When Nancy Pelosi sits down to write her memoirs what ought she to do to make the writing interesting? Hint: fame and power in themselves are not enough to intrigue a reader. Here are five memoir writing tips to know.

Writing her memories of her years in Washington will be challenging to Nancy Pelosi but not as hard as some people think. If she is willing to follow the five simple steps I will outline below, she can succeed at writing an interesting and meaningful autobiography. (More and more people—in fact, many who at first think they couldn’t—are succeeding at exploring and honoring their pasts in this way.)

These five memoir writing tips to know are among the most powerful—and easiest—to implement in personal and family history writing.

Good luck—to Nancy Pelosi and to you!

1) Make a Memory List.

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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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writing your first draft

5 Better Ways to Describe The People in Your Memoir 

Without other people, our lives and our memoirs risk becoming dull. Although ideas are pivotal for many individuals, relationships are even more commanding. We are intrigued with who other people are and how they function. “Who’s that? What are they doing? Where did they come from?” These are question we want answered. To write a strong story, capitalize on this interest. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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bolandviga3

The Personal Memoir: Keep the “Me” in your MEmoir

Editor’s Note: The Personal Memoir: Keep the “Me” in your MEmoir was originally published on Bookbaby Blog and is used with the permission of the author. This piece was originally published on this blog in 20017. Comments are still being accepted. Without the “me” in your memoir – the fragile and imperfect person who lived the […]

She wrote her healing memoir.

A Journey of Healing via Memoir Writing With Susan Yerburgh

Denis Ledoux: I had the pleasure of working with Susan Yerburgh for several years as she articulated her message in Shadows & Light: A Journey of Healing and Empowerment and used it to continue her own healing journey. Because of the significance of her writing and life experience, I am delighted she agreed to do […]

writing about non-events

Writing about Non-Events: They Belong in Your Memoir Writing

When writing about non-events, it can seem like they don’t belong in a memoir. But, often, non-events can have been more difficult than the “events” that do challenge us.

What are Non-Events?

While having coffee in a restaurant recently, I saw a man and a 14- or 15-year-old boy whom I took to be his son walk in together and order. Then, carrying their trays, they sat at a table near me. At first, they were both silent, and then the boy began to speak. He spoke quite a bit. I couldn’t hear the words, but he seemed to be talking about something that had happened to him. The man occasionally nodded his head in response, but I heard him talk only once. The boy kept speaking. His head and arms were involved. He evidently expected responses which, other than via a nod, were not forthcoming.

Perhaps I fantasized elements of my own life, but I imagined the boy wanting his father to answer, to engage in an exchange with him but nothing of the sort happened. At one point, as the boy was speaking, his father got up and went to the trash basket and dumped the contents of his tray in and waited for the boy to come do the same. Seeming to understand that the meal was over from the father’s point of view, the boy got up and dumped his things into the trash also and the two walked out together.

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