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#187611 - 08/03/09 02:12 AM Re: Welcome Sue Silverman: Memoir Writing Expert [Re: Sue W. Silverman]
meredithbead Offline
The Divine Ms M

Registered: 07/07/03
Posts: 4894
Loc: Orange County, California
Welcome Sue! I've heard so much about you and have been really looking forward to this! I'm a poet and essayist who has been 1 essay away from completing my memoirs for almost a year now. No, I don't think I'm avoiding this, but I get involved in too many projects simultaneously and can never figure out where the time goes.
_________________________
My handcrafted jewelry:
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#187622 - 08/03/09 12:19 PM Re: Welcome Sue Silverman: Memoir Writing Expert [Re: meredithbead]
Wisdom&Life Offline
Member

Registered: 12/14/04
Posts: 724
Loc: Chesapeake, VA
Sue, it means alot to me that you are here. I am in awe of what you are saying so far and it's only just the beginning.

I am so glad you said this:

Quote:
A memoir can be about any aspect of one's life: what was it like growing up on a farm in Kansas? What was it like growing up in a military family that moved every few years? What was it like to suffer from a serious illness? What was your journey through a divorce?


I've had so many journeys in my life and it just so happens you mentioned Military Family. That happens to be one of my journeys. I feel very blessed to have been a Military brat. I had seen and experienced so much culture growing up. Life was an adventure for me, and I believe this has plenty to do with the explorer in me. There is so much more to life as a military brat, and I haven't seen too much of the adventurous and positive side of growing up in a military family. One quick example, my High School Graduation and Prom was held at the Heidelberg Castle. That wouldn't have happened to me if I wasn't a brat.

Anyway, off I go to to get the book and now I think I am going to take my lunch hour early because I am anxious to read it, LOL.

Cheers and Blessings,
Cathi
_________________________
Proud member of National Association Of Baby Boomer Women!
www.nabbw.com

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#187630 - 08/03/09 02:02 PM Re: Welcome Sue Silverman: Memoir Writing Expert [Re: Wisdom&Life]
Dotsie Offline
Founder

Registered: 07/09/08
Posts: 23647
Loc: Maryland
I highlighted so many sentences and paragraphs in this book. I just loved it. So I'm going to kinda review some of the pieces that spoke to me so you can get some fun feedback.

When speaking with your therapist:

"Which means, in my mind, that I'd be writing a story about a woman whose life is embarrassing, humiliating, shameful."

My comment is that I read both of your memoirs and devoured them. I can't imagine how many women you've helped by writing your story. What you wrote about may have felt shameful to you, but do you know how many other women have felt the same about their lives, but never opened their mouths until reading your words which had given them permission to heal?

Loved this:

"...living in houses that felt like prisons." Says so much in seven words.

Also liked when you were getting ready for a class you were teaching. While putting on clothes that gave others no idea of what you've lived through (clothes tell nothing, though we think they reveal something about us), you write:
"Any visible residue of a chaotic childhood is rinsed away."

I'm reading another memoir, Manic, by Terri Cheney. She is bi-polar and the people in her life (except for a very few) have no idea about her illness. The sentence above rings so true for her life too because she often talks about the way she dresses to make statements about hiding her secrets. Her mood often dictated what she wore, but it wasn't telling enough to those around her.

A few people I know have fairly recently been diagnosed as bi-polar so I've been reading quite a bit about the subject the past couple years.

This memoir is well written, but she jumps around from childhhod to college days, to her 30 and 40s too much. I wish she'd written with a time line; either starting now and going back, or beginning with childhood suspicions and growing with them. Her story has given me so much compassion for people living with bipolar. She's very good at sharing how you just race away with your emotions and honestly have no control.

Anyway, glad you are here, and I have so much more to share about your book.
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#187655 - 08/03/09 04:24 PM Re: Welcome Sue Silverman: Memoir Writing Expert [Re: Sue W. Silverman]
Sue W. Silverman Offline


Registered: 05/15/09
Posts: 33
By the way, I'd love to know what some of you are reading--whether memoirs or not.

Also, I'd love to know what you would like to write about if you were going to write a memoir. You know, what are some of the themes or issues that you'd explore? Or, of course, if you're already at work on one, I'd love to know more about it.
_________________________
author, "Fearless Confessions: A Writer's Guide to Memoir"
www.suewilliamsilverman.com

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#187657 - 08/03/09 04:28 PM Re: Welcome Sue Silverman: Memoir Writing Expert [Re: Sue W. Silverman]
Sue W. Silverman Offline


Registered: 05/15/09
Posts: 33
Hi, Meredithbead: Yes, I know about that being too busy! To be honest, I haven't written in about 2 or 3 months. Just too busy, too--so I hear what you're saying.

So, here's a deal for you. I'm about one essay away from finishing my new book, too, so maybe we should make a pact that we'll each finish our respective essays at least before the end of the year!! How does that sound?!
_________________________
author, "Fearless Confessions: A Writer's Guide to Memoir"
www.suewilliamsilverman.com

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#187659 - 08/03/09 04:34 PM Re: Welcome Sue Silverman: Memoir Writing Expert [Re: Sue W. Silverman]
Sue W. Silverman Offline


Registered: 05/15/09
Posts: 33
HI, Cathi: that IS so ironic that I happened to mention writing about being a member of a military family!!

And I absolutely love the idea of your prom being held in a castle! Wow. That's amazing. Yes, that would make a wonderful essay, or a chapter, say, in a longer work, a memoir about growing up in your military family.

So, yes, writing memoir is, to some extent, exploring how these events in our lives--whatever they are--impact who we are. That kind of exploration or journey is what I find incredibly interesting, both as writer of memoir AND as a reader! It's clear that you have a fascinating story to tell!

Thank you so much for your kind words!!
_________________________
author, "Fearless Confessions: A Writer's Guide to Memoir"
www.suewilliamsilverman.com

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#187660 - 08/03/09 04:57 PM Re: Welcome Sue Silverman: Memoir Writing Expert [Re: Sue W. Silverman]
Sue W. Silverman Offline


Registered: 05/15/09
Posts: 33
Hi, Dotsie,
Thank you SO much for that beautiful support. And I appreciate your bringing out how important that idea of journey is: of moving from shame to that place of being able to speak out.

Now, looking back and taking stock, I can see how empowering that's been. Yes, I do receive many emails from other women thanking me, in effect, for telling their stories, too. I am always touched and moved by women sharing their stories with me.

That's one thing I do love about memoir: how it brings people together. You know, even if our stories are different, we can all relate on some level.

In other words, even if your background is different from mine, still, many of the underlying feelings are the same. And that's the connection, I think. In this way, even if I'm writing about incest or sexual addiction, I'm also writing about loneliness, alienation, body image, loss, relationships with men (and other women).

So what's important to me is to connect with other women in terms of these more universal human emotions.

And I can see why the book "Manic" would be invaluable to you. I haven't yet read it but look forward to doing so. Thank you for letting us know about it.
_________________________
author, "Fearless Confessions: A Writer's Guide to Memoir"
www.suewilliamsilverman.com

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#187673 - 08/03/09 10:04 PM Re: Welcome Sue Silverman: Memoir Writing Expert [Re: Sue W. Silverman]
meredithbead Offline
The Divine Ms M

Registered: 07/07/03
Posts: 4894
Loc: Orange County, California
Quote:
So, here's a deal for you. I'm about one essay away from finishing my new book, too, so maybe we should make a pact that we'll each finish our respective essays at least before the end of the year!! How does that sound?!

Sue, you're on!

I've written about 12 poems in that time, which is a respectable number for me. I'm neither fast nor prolific, which is OK. This year has been hard to write because of the economy -- I'm a one-woman business who is working twice as many hours this year just to stay afloat.

You ask what we've written or are writing:
http://www.meredithlaskow.com/4.html
_________________________
My handcrafted jewelry:
limited edition designs
more jewelry, plus bead supplies

Poet and essayist

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#187674 - 08/03/09 10:20 PM Re: Welcome Sue Silverman: Memoir Writing Expert [Re: meredithbead]
Sue W. Silverman Offline


Registered: 05/15/09
Posts: 33
Excellent! It's a deal. This will now spur me on to finish up, too.

Well, to write 12 poems during that time is amazing and wonderful! That's a lot. I'm impressed.

And I hear what you're saying about the economy and being a one-woman business. Even during good times, there's probably a lot of time involved in that...so many balls to juggle.

I'm wondering if other women are finding it difficult to find time to write? Or--any tips on how to find time to write. What works for you?
_________________________
author, "Fearless Confessions: A Writer's Guide to Memoir"
www.suewilliamsilverman.com

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#187680 - 08/04/09 02:17 AM Re: Welcome Sue Silverman: Memoir Writing Expert [Re: Sue W. Silverman]
Wisdom&Life Offline
Member

Registered: 12/14/04
Posts: 724
Loc: Chesapeake, VA
Quote:
Also, I'd love to know what you would like to write about if you were going to write a memoir. You know, what are some of the themes or issues that you'd explore? Or, of course, if you're already at work on one, I'd love to know more about it.

Well, back in 2006 I had read a book called "The Summer of my Greek Taverna" By Tom Stone. He was an American writer living in Greece. One summer, a friend of his had offered him an opportunity to run his restaurant (taverna) during the summer season. Of course, I picked it up because it had taken place in the Isle of Patmos. This is one of my favorite islands.

Besides being a Military Brat, I am part Greek as well. My dad had met my mom when he was stationed in Rhodes. Because my dad wanted my mother to be closer to her family, he did everything he could to stay overseas as much as possible.

So I pretty much grew up outside the United States. My brother and I would spend our summers in Greece with out Grandparents. During this time, my family and I took advantage of traveling wherever we could just to see other parts of the world.

Anyway, after reading "The Summer of my Greek Taverna", it dawned on me, I could write my story in this fashion.

I came to this forum and had asked my boomer sisters for advise and they gave me excellent advise. I had taken a journal everywhere I went, and as I would remember something, I would write it down.

Then, a succession of crisis happened with my family and I had to put this project on the shelf.

There are so many stages in my lifetime, I had thought I would start with my upbringing in Greece and have it tie in with the Military Brat upbringing. Or vice versa.

I have worn many hats during the course of my life.

I started reading your book today Sue, and I am enjoying it very much. I like the fact, you included some writing exercises.

For a longtime, there was another story I wanted to write. It's about my Grandmother Maria (The Greek one). She had some struggles and endurances during her life. Her story is something you would see in the movies such as Eleni. Not the same story but a romance she had during the Second World War and the result was having my mom out of wedlock.

Because it was very taboo in those days, her family banished her, but not until they beat her black and blue. Abandoned and frightened, she took a boat to the Island of Tilos, this is where my mom's biological father came from. His mother took her in and took care of her. His mother took her in and took care of her.

Eventually, my grandmother's family took her in along with my mom.

I never knew all these details until I went with a cousin of mine to this island to get some answers. My mom had asked me to go because she truly was nervous. She never met her biological father and didn't even know what her father looked like. My grandmother must've been tormented because she couldn't talk about him.

This is where we found out how my grandmother ended up at that Island. Tilos is an island with a population of 400, a beautiful Island which I call "natural paradise". Within the hour of our arrival, we had met with some of the relatives. Even one of my mom's half brothers. It was exciting and tearful at the same time. I was so stunned to hear this story because I saw my grandmother in a different way. I made the remark, "This is incredible, this is the kind of story you see in movies!" After I made that comment, one of the cousins said to me, "Then why don't you write a book about this?"


The idea remained with me, and when I said something to my mom, she begged me not to. As for my grandmother's story, I can't disrespect my mom. So if there is a way of writing it and not feel like I am betraying my mom, I would love to hear it.


Wow, I don't think I have mentioned this to any of my sisters in the 5 years I've been coming here. I don't know where this came from, but I am glad I finally revealed this here at BWS.

I am definitely thrilled you are here.

I can't wait to see the outcome of the challenge between you and Meredith. Lynn, I can only imagine how thrilled you must be right now!

Dotsie, I feel your excitement and we owe you a big thanks for having Sue here!

Love and Cheers,
Cathi
Love and Cheers,
Cathi
_________________________
Proud member of National Association Of Baby Boomer Women!
www.nabbw.com

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