Memoir Conversations #2: April 3, 2009

by Matilda Butler on April 4, 2009

Post #14 – Women’s Memoirs, Conversations – Matilda Butler and Kendra Bonnett

In Memoir Conversations this month, Kendra Bonnett and I answered 11 questions posed on this website for our teleseminar. Kendra organized them by the themes they raised:

1. Handling traumatic events (such as abuse) in one’s life
2. Determining what constitutes the “true” story when different family members remember the events differently or when there are no remaining family members to help recall events
3. Finding meaning in your life that is worth writing about
4. Remembering relevant sights and sounds
5. Finding a voice for a memoir that is currently unconnected (but interesting) events
6. Protecting the innocent–and not so innocent–included in a story
7. Understanding the role of memoir versus autobiography
8. Considering publishing basics

and we both provided answers during the live call.

As promised, we are posting a recording from our 55 minute call and posting some of the websites mentioned.

For those interested in writing about traumatic events (#1 above), we recommend that you post your questions and tune in for our live interview with bestselling author Donna VanLiere on Tuesday, April 14 at 1 PM EST/10 AM Pacific/712-432-0600 access code 998458#). Donna’s memoir Finding Grace has just been published. Donna will be glad to answer your questions about writing a memoir that needed to address her childhood abuse. Be sure to post your questions in the Comments field of Donna’s guest blog on below. Click here to get to the specific blog post.

Second, we highly recommend another resource. Linda Joy Myers is a therapist who has long worked with women dealing with issues of trauma and abuse and uses writing as a healing technique. She is also the founder of the National Association of Memoir Writers. She is conducting a free teleconference that begins on April 23 at 1 PM EST/10 AM Pacific. It is entitled “Writing as Healing Teleconference.” To find out more information and to register, visit her website

While answering the question about recalling the five senses (#4 above), Kendra mentioned an online class that we are teaching through Story Circle Network (SCN) called “The Craft of Memoir Writing: Using the Five Senses to Bring Your Story to Life.” The class meets via conference call on three consecutive Thursdays beginning April 16. In choosing a topic for this course, we felt that if there were only one skill you could learn to significantly improve your writing, it would be the effective and creative use of the five senses. The course includes 3 conference calls, 2 video lessons posted on our website in a password protected section, 3 writing assignments, and writing critiques. The cost of the course is $60 for SCN members (membership is $35 per year) and $85 for non-members. To find out more about the course and to enroll, click here.

And finally, everyone who listened to our call (including those of you who elected to listen to the recording) has been given a special discount code that entitles you to 25% off the cost of our newly released 5 DVD set: The [Essential] Women’s Memoir Writing Workshop. This code will only be good until April 10. During this time, you can get the DVD set for $99 instead of the regular $132. We tell you the code at about minute 27 of the Memoir Conversation recording posted below. If you miss it, just put your cursor in the white area of the audio player and drag it from left to right. This lets you rapidly advance the conversation so that you can get to the coupon code. Then, click here to put the DVD set into your shopping cart where you will find a box for entering your special discount code.

Now, here’s our Memoir Conversation. There is a lot of information that we hope will be helpful to you as you write your memoir. Keep writing!

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Jennifer Olson April 5, 2009 at

Thanks guys for the conference call last night. It was great. I got a lot more out of it than just hearing the answer to my question. I’m fired up and ready to write!!!

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