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#188344 - 08/15/09 09:11 PM Re: Welcome Sue Silverman: Memoir Writing Expert [Re: Sue W. Silverman]
Princess Lenora Offline
Member

Registered: 11/11/04
Posts: 3503
Loc: Colorado
Hi. I was following this thread, but I can't keep up. I did not want to just drop out, but rather let Sue know that several, and I mean several, nearly impossible situations are looming that I need to give my attention to. I don't want to state them here because I don't want to intrude on the purpose of the topic. I am glad we have the option to print a topic, so I can do that later! Thanks for being here Sue. See you later, Lynn

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#188504 - 08/19/09 02:05 AM Re: Welcome Sue Silverman: Memoir Writing Expert [Re: Princess Lenora]
Wisdom&Life Offline
Member

Registered: 12/14/04
Posts: 724
Loc: Chesapeake, VA
Some more great advise as usual Sue. Picturing the first sensation I felt on my feet is kind a funny scenario. It was when I was about 5, and we were on one of our summer vacations in Rhodes. My aunt took my brother and myself to the beach. I remember not wanting sand in my shoes so I took them off. What happened next was a big surprise to me! I didn't realize how bloody hot the sand would be, next thing I knew I was running like crazy probably getting sand on all the sunbathers as I passed them by. I didn't care, I was making a bee line to the water, which seemed to take forever to get there. Oh but once I did, it was heavenly. I even think this may have been my first experience with feeling euphoric. Thank God I had the experience with walking on sand in the later part of the day when it was sunset. Because I discovered the sand felt therapeutic and sensational when it was cooler.

I had been thinking about the benefits of memoirs. I get really irritated when someone will talk about how they overcame something or how they became successful. Yet they do not go into detail with how they reached that point. So when the reader is trying to achieve anything, thinking it's easy, the reader could get discouraged and think there is something definitely wrong with them.

An example is how I got out of a two year deep depression. Usually, you will hear something like this:

I went through a depression for two years and suddenly it dawned on me to do something to get out of the house and meet people. I applied for a job and they hired me. I went to work my first day and I have been very happy since.

A reader will look at that scenario and go, wow, maybe that is what I could do too. They go and they applied for a job and they never get a call, or an interview. They become more depressed and sink deeper.

The two year depression was triggered by something I had done that almost tore my family apart. I was living the shame and the guilt. I was so afraid to even lift a finger and all I wanted to do was sleep most of the time. It got to the point where I was almost agoraphobic. I knew what I had to do, but I was too afraid of failure. It took a death of a good friend to get me to snap out of it and even that was a slow process. I had gone to Northern VA to see her when she was in her death bed. I had run into some old friends of mine and I really had missed the life I had before. This friend of mine had a great fulfilling life. I didn't want to die one day wasting away like a lump on a log.

So I forced myself to look for a job in several places. I forced myself to fill out the applications. I had so much anxiety, and what ifs. Finally, I just had to tell myself, I am no worse off than I am now. I have nothing to lose.

On the day of my interview for the job I am currently at right now. I kept telling myself, I will go in there and be myself and answer some the questions. If they do not hire me, at least I know I've made a start and I'll try again. I have nothing to lose. This was one of my best interviews. While I was dressed decent, I was not dressed in a stuffy manner. I wore the jewelry I would normally wear and I sat the way I normally did. I figured, it's only fair that the employer sees what she/he will get. I said as much when I interviewed with the manager. He said, you seem so relaxed and I appreciate it. How do you do it? I said it was best to let him see me as I am and that way there will be no disappointments later on when he hired me. To this day, he still talks about the interview.

Anyway, that is the gist of what I went through. I believe a reader should see the downside and the difficult steps it took to get out of ones situation. Now my turn to ask...Am I making sense?

Sorry I haven't posted for the past week. I am facing some challenges lately. However, do not despair! This could be another memoir in the making!!!

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

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#188505 - 08/19/09 02:09 AM Re: Welcome Sue Silverman: Memoir Writing Expert [Re: Wisdom&Life]
Wisdom&Life Offline
Member

Registered: 12/14/04
Posts: 724
Loc: Chesapeake, VA
JawJaw,

I think if you were to wright a memoir of your childhood and how you passed the time looking at worms squiggling across the grass, it would have us mesmerized.

I just cannot imagine anything boring about you!!!

Nice to see you again my friend. Thank you for your encouragement.

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

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#188508 - 08/19/09 02:49 AM Re: Welcome Sue Silverman: Memoir Writing Expert [Re: Wisdom&Life]
Sue W. Silverman Offline


Registered: 05/15/09
Posts: 33
HI, Cathi,
I LOVE that story about your walking on the sand, and how the sensation changed from the morning sand to the evening sand, as it were. I really think you could write a little essay about that, and what the feeling of the sand under your feet meant to you. Those are some GREAT descriptions.

I likewise am drawn into your story about the job interview. It's fascinating, and I also think you could write an essay about that whole experience, moving from that depression into a strong woman who ultimately went out and got the job.

And I do agree with you that it's NOT helpful when a writer doesn't provide details as to how any adversity was overcome, or when it seems too unrealistically easy! Yes, you're right: in order to make an impact, the writer needs to bring the reader inside the experience. Exactly!

Great to hear from you!
Sue
_________________________
author, "Fearless Confessions: A Writer's Guide to Memoir"
www.suewilliamsilverman.com

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#188555 - 08/20/09 12:41 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
Sue, thanks for your feedback. I have put so much off for lack of confidence. I've always felt like you did when your therapist suggested to you to write a memoir. The "what's so special about me?", syndrome. The only thing I considered interesting was my grandmother's struggles.

I have to say, you've opened a door for me Sue to at least give this a try. Which is why I am more humbled you are here with us.

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

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#188567 - 08/20/09 10:48 AM Re: Welcome Sue Silverman: Memoir Writing Expert [Re: Wisdom&Life]
Dotsie Offline
Founder

Registered: 07/09/08
Posts: 23647
Loc: Maryland
Sue, I so realted to the following:

"Writing my life is a gift I give to myself. To write is to be constantly reborn. On one page I understand this about myself. On another page I understand that."

I think writers probably know themselves the best. Would you agree with that statement? I journal in the form of a letter to God. I continue to be amazed at what I learn about myself through writing. Parts of me are revealed that need work, and if I didn't take the time to write, I don't think I'd ever get to the bottom of some issues.
_________________________
Founder Emeritus of Boomer Women Speak and the National Association of Baby Boomer Women.
www.nabbw.com
www.boomerwomenspeak.com


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#188568 - 08/20/09 10:53 AM Re: Welcome Sue Silverman: Memoir Writing Expert [Re: Dotsie]
Dotsie Offline
Founder

Registered: 07/09/08
Posts: 23647
Loc: Maryland
Cathi, I enjoy your writing. I'd love to encourage you to keep taking little bits and pieces of your life and begin writing about them. Just see where it takes you...
_________________________
Founder Emeritus of Boomer Women Speak and the National Association of Baby Boomer Women.
www.nabbw.com
www.boomerwomenspeak.com


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#188570 - 08/20/09 01:04 PM Re: Welcome Sue Silverman: Memoir Writing Expert [Re: Dotsie]
Sue W. Silverman Offline


Registered: 05/15/09
Posts: 33
Cathi, yes, I totally identify with what you're saying and feeling, that "who would want to read about me" feeling. My sense is that many memoirists feel that way.

Ironically, however, when you see how popular memoirs are, those numbers tell a different story!! In fact, hundreds and hundreds of people want to read our stories!

Why? Because they identify with our stories. They better understand their own lives from reading about ours. Our readers feel not so alone. Because we're writers, we can give a voice to those who don't have one.

I receive so many emails from women thanking me for telling their story, too. That's so powerful.

And, ironically, it's not really that I (or any other memoirist) am so "special." Rather, it is because our stories are common, and, because of this, we give voice to this commonality among all of us. That's where the connections are. That's why readers read our stories.

Does that make sense? What do you think?

In other words, even if a reader hasn't had an incestuous childhood, she can still identify with my story. For what I'm ALSO writing about are things like loss, alienation, search for identity--universal themes.

Writing memoir is discovering these common bonds among us. And I am convinced that your story, too, would fully resonate with readers--that you would be giving a voice to those who don't have one.
_________________________
author, "Fearless Confessions: A Writer's Guide to Memoir"
www.suewilliamsilverman.com

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#188573 - 08/20/09 01:13 PM Re: Welcome Sue Silverman: Memoir Writing Expert [Re: Sue W. Silverman]
Sue W. Silverman Offline


Registered: 05/15/09
Posts: 33
Dotsie, yes, I totally agree with you! While I've been (thankfully) able to change behavior patterns through therapy, I've actually learned much more about myself through writing. It's as if every word, on some level, brings me more insight into who I am.

And of course this changes over time. It's like that quote you use from "Fearless Confessions"--on one page I know "this" about myself...on another page I know "that." As human beings, of course, emotions and insights are always in flux. Writing helps bring all of this, all of who we are, into sharper focus.

And, sure, this writing doesn't need to be manuscripts we want to publish. We can write for ourselves, we can journal, write letters to God. There are many forms writing can take. The important thing is to write! And, after the words are down on paper, then you can decide what to do with them.

I honestly can't imagine my life without writing, without words. I hardly know what I think until I write!
_________________________
author, "Fearless Confessions: A Writer's Guide to Memoir"
www.suewilliamsilverman.com

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#188630 - 08/21/09 05:13 PM Re: Welcome Sue Silverman: Memoir Writing Expert [Re: Sue W. Silverman]
Wisdom&Life Offline
Member

Registered: 12/14/04
Posts: 724
Loc: Chesapeake, VA
Dotsie, I didn't realize what I said before and I want to clarify something. I have always felt encouragement coming from the women on this board in regards to writing. I didn't want anyone to think I didn't from the comments I made to Sue.

What I love about you Sue and in reading Fearless Confessions, is the freedom I feel I have to write anything. I use to worry about grammer, and punctuations. I love the examples you show us. Not only that, I was fearful that I couldn't possibly remember everything and you touch on that too.

Sue, have you ever thought of starting your own publishing company? It was just a thought that occurred to me last night.

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

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