The first of mine that comes to mind is ‘The Turf Club’. I had heard the story of my father drinking at a local pub since I was a girl But I wasn’t present at the event, so I had to rely on my imagination to structure it. I wrote it at Borgo San Fedele … Continue reading What is a Favourite Story – of Yours?
Author Lee Kofman says: ‘Memoirists write directly about what matters to them, whereas fiction writers may sublimate their experiences and passions.’ The first half of her dictum is certainly true: memoirists are concerned with what matters to them. Whole books are devoted to the second part of Lee's hypothesis. But let’s look at memoir for … Continue reading The Intimacy of Memoir
Do people ask you how your writing is going? I’m sure we all get asked that. Who knows what the right answer is. One acquaintance of mine enquired further: ‘But are you penning or writing?’ he said. I didn't know the difference. ‘Well,’ he replied, ‘ C. (his partner) tells me she's been writing during … Continue reading Writing or Penning?
Writing in a journal is not for everyone. But then again, neither is writing. For those of us who do like to write, journaling can be appealing. Of late, I have returned to the practice of free-hand writing in my notebook. It’s been a hopscotch couple of years as the pandemic endures. Maybe because it’s … Continue reading Journaling
Flannery O’Connor writes, ‘ … anybody who has survived his childhood has enough information about life to last him the rest of his days.’ If you, like me, write about your family – unavoidable in memoir - how do you do that without hurt? One of my brothers, upon hearing that I was writing about … Continue reading Putting the Family in Memoir
I wrote this post for the Elwood Writers blog in October 2021 - view here. The post is in answer to Helen McDonald's questions to us about why we write our individual blogs, and who our intended audience is. Why I Write my Blog I set up the Writings and Musings blog because I wanted to have … Continue reading Why Writings and Musings?
Wiradjuri writer, Tara June Winch, gave this advice to entrants for Australia's SBS Emerging Writers' Competition in which she is a judge:"When you read your story aloud, when you edit and read it again and again, your work becomes the fire pit reflected in your eyes.' To read more about the competition, View here. The … Continue reading Slow Writing
What is the inciting incident that sparks a memoir? This question might apply to fiction writers too. It is any turning point in a life. For memoirists, Kaylie Jones says it's the moment 'the rock came through the window’; the day one's life went ‘careening out of control’. The inciting incident is a great place … Continue reading The Inciting Incident
In a writing workshop, teacher Kaylie Jones encouraged us to give ourselves permission to write. Busting myths, she said, is what the writer must do. The right to write might be more pertinent to the memoirist than it is to the fiction writer, as for us there is less distance between ourselves and the story. … Continue reading The Right to Write
Among other skills, US teacher Kaylie Jones runs memoir-writing workshops. At the first one I attended, she explained that the good memoirist uses the omniscient Eye to watch over the more personal ‘I’ of the narrator. In seconds flat, she was at the whiteboard drawing an eye in the sky that observed and informed the stick … Continue reading The Eye watching the ‘I’