So not only did you teach me about writing memoir, you also taught me about reading and thinking about how others write memoir. Thank you so much! Rebecca
Showing posts with label writing memoir. Show all posts
Showing posts with label writing memoir. Show all posts

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Gread Reading at John C. Campbell last night

For the first time in a while, I went out to a reading last night. Nadine Justice, author of I'm a Coal Miner's Daughter, But I Cain't Sang, was delightful and the audience loved her. She has a sense of humor that comes through in her writing. 

Mary Ricketson, one of my very favorite poets, always brings me to tears when she reads poems about her only child, her son who is super smart and won a scholarship to MIT or one of those big colleges. I feel I've watched him grow up from a boy by reading and listening to Mary read her poems about him. 

I told her last night that, although I've not had a child, she touches my maternal instinct or maybe it is my growing up with a mother like Mary. I saw my mother go through all the angst of teenagers making mistakes she couldn't prevent, seeing hurts she couldn't heal, and just giving them all the love a mother can give. I know Mother prayed for her children. I was one of her main worries. Always wearing my emotions on my shoulders, I came to Mother to ease my pain when I was hurt. 

Mary's son is grown and on his own now, but her poems about him continue to show a strong bond between mother and son.
The Journal of Kentucky Studies has published one of Mary's poems, her first in a literary journal. That was the first literary journal that published one of my poems. In fact the editor, Gary Walton, has published a number of my poems over the years. And I am grateful.

Nadine's book, which I watched develop from the beginning, has memorable stories about her own childhood with a mother she couldn't relate to, and a father she adored. In her memoir about her life growing up in the coal camps, then her travels overseas, and her failed marriages, I see another strong woman like Mary. Nadine has two daughters and I'm sure she has prayed many times for her children. I find her book extremely interesting and by the mail she has received, others find it a good read, too. 

Anyway,  I am so glad I went out to hear these fine writers share their work last night. I appreciate all those who came and really appreciate the Folk School for hosting Netwest each month.

And thanks to Linda Smith who schedules the readings.


Saturday, September 22, 2012


My week at Table Rock Writers Workshop held at Wildacres retreat, one of my favorite places, turned out to be an excellent experience. 

This was the first time I had been to a week-long event for writers, and I had trepidation about going. As most of you know, I am a night person, so being at breakfast at 8:00 a.m. upset my internal clock. This did affect my mood all week. Not feeling social, as I am normally, I missed some good fun and networking. But I got downstairs to the class with Darnell Arnoult by 9:00 a.m. every day.

We had the largest number of students of any class held that week, so I met interesting writers from various places in North Carolina but also from as far away as Oregon. Many thanks to Georgann Eubanks, creator of Table Rock Writers, and the Candy Meir Scholarship fund, for making it possible for me to attend the workshop.

Darnell gave us good writing exercises. With one of them, I found the beginning of a story I had planned to tell, but just never knew how to start. Darnell is one of my favorite instructors. Although I have taken her classes in the past, she continues to open my eyes to new and better ways to tell a story. She taught a memoir class, but she admits she reads fiction. I own her novel, Sufficient Grace, and I highly recommend it. 
Darnell Arnoult

Darnell's advice to anyone who wants to write well is to read, read, read. Read good writers, and see what they do that you would like to do. As I tell my students, read like a writer.

I came home with new ideas for my memoir, for teaching and for reading. Three authors Darnell recommends and I plan to read soon are Harry Crews who writes about my native area, more of Rick Bragg whose work I love, and Larry Brown. 
What writers do you recommend? Do you have favorites?