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#74357 - 01/27/06 06:42 PM Because I Remember Terror 'Father' I Remember You, Sue Silverman
Dotsie Offline
Founder

Registered: 07/09/08
Posts: 23647
Loc: Maryland
Ladies, I am so excited to introduce our February Featured Author. Sue was one of the first women to submit her story when I launched BWS over three years ago. I met her through the National Association of Women Writers. She has so much to offer. I can't wait until February 1st to get started.

Here's her message to you:

Hello Boomer Women! I’m delighted to spend this month with you and am very appreciative that Dotsie provides this important forum for all our voices.

To me, that’s writing is all about as well: voice.

Growing up, I never had a voice. I could never tell anyone that my father was sexually molesting me. I didn’t know the word “incest,” the word “danger,” the word “rape.” And because, as a child, I couldn’t speak the words I most needed to say, it seems inevitable that I grew up to be a writer, as if, throughout those years of silence, I hoarded words and images until it was safe to reveal my truths.

I speak now. I write now.

In my first memoir, Because I Remember Terror "Father" I Remember You (winner of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs award series in creative nonfiction), I focus on this incestuous childhood. In my second book, Love Sick: One Woman’s Journey Through Sexual Addiction (W. W. Norton), I more fully explore the recovery, as this memoir revolves around the 28 days I spent in rehab. Writing memoirs allows me to organize my life, see connections, reflect upon events, discover the metaphors that guide me.

But, of course, there are other forms and genres in which to reveal the stories we most want to tell. Now, in fact, just a few days ago, my first poetry collection was published. The title is Hieroglyphics in Neon (Orchises Press). In it, yes, there are some autobiographical poems—but all the poems are emotionally autobiographical.

In addition to writing, I teach in the low-residency MFA in Writing Program at Vermont College and am associate editor of the literary journal Fourth Genre: Explorations in Nonfiction. I am also a professional speaker on the subjects of child abuse, family dynamics, and addictions. For more information, please visit me at www.suewilliamsilverman.com.

[ January 27, 2006, 06:05 PM: Message edited by: Dotsie ]

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#74358 - 02/01/06 07:49 PM Re: Because I Remember Terror 'Father' I Remember You, Sue Silverman
Dotsie Offline
Founder

Registered: 07/09/08
Posts: 23647
Loc: Maryland
Hi Sue! Welcome to the Featured Author forum at BWS. I'm excited to get started.

Do you mind telling us what you went through mentally before choosing to write your story? I am only talking about the choice to write, not your emotional past (obviously). Some writers have a life-time burning desire, others have dreams or visions. How about you?

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#74359 - 02/01/06 09:07 PM Re: Because I Remember Terror 'Father' I Remember You, Sue Silverman
Sue William Silverman Offline
Member

Registered: 01/18/06
Posts: 71
Loc: Michigan
Hi, thanks for the question! I went through a lot of avoidance before starting to write my story! It's strange because, for years (even during college and after I graduated), I SAID I was a writer, but I wasn't putting any words down on paper. But yet I felt like one for so long, way before I began. This may be because, even as far back as 4th-5th grade, I was an avid reader--and reading "good" books, too. However, more specifically, before I called myself a "writer," my first loves growing up were ballet and piano. Probably, I started out wanting to be a ballerina. Finally, though, I got the nerve to write...and realized that I needed to write!

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#74360 - 02/01/06 09:18 PM Re: Because I Remember Terror 'Father' I Remember You, Sue Silverman
Princess Lenora Offline
Member

Registered: 11/11/04
Posts: 3503
Loc: Colorado
Hello Sue, I am so glad to have you at BWS! Boomer sisters: I had the pleasure of meeting Sue at Vermont College last August when I was in her creative non-fiction writing group. Sue is obviously an excellent writer and mentor. However, I took a liking to her long before meeting her in person, just after I had read both her books (you can see reviews I wrote in the forums here at favorite books and announcements.) One of the ways Sue influenced me as a writer is this: I had written my book, but I kept my book a secret. Incest surviors are accustomed to keeping secrets. Imagine doing the work of writing and publishing and then not telling anyone! Then, I stumbled upon Sue's books and her work as an advocate, and her words and work gave me the additional courage I needed to move forward to break the silence. No matter what your topic is, Sue can teach you so much about writing: metaphor in memoir is but one of her many specialties.

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#74361 - 02/01/06 10:13 PM Re: Because I Remember Terror 'Father' I Remember You, Sue Silverman
Sue William Silverman Offline
Member

Registered: 01/18/06
Posts: 71
Loc: Michigan
Hi, Lynn, thank you so much for your very kind and supportive words! Yes, because women are "taught" (at an early age) to be silent, to not tell secrets, I think it can be difficult for women to find the courage to "speak," or write--for our voices to be heard. Please know how much I admire YOUR courage to write your powerful book. By the way, I wrote an article (posted on my website, see "Short Works")called "Confessional and finally Proud Of It," about my journey of writing and publishing my books. It fact, women writers CAN be misunderstood by the (mostly male) media...another reason why the Boomer Women Speak website is so important: a safe place for women to share their experiences and stories.

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#74362 - 02/01/06 10:39 PM Re: Because I Remember Terror 'Father' I Remember You, Sue Silverman
jawjaw Offline
Da Queen

Registered: 07/02/03
Posts: 12025
Loc: Alabama
I want to add my welcome to what I know will be a long, long list of others. We are very honored and excited to have you here with us.

One of my questions to you (I won't hog your time here) is about your speaking. Did this venue for you just naturally follow after the birth of your first book, or was it a progressive thing. Also, when you speak, is it always within certain groups? Certain subjects?

Thank you in advance and WELCOME! May your voice become the voice for someone out there reading these post who has lost their own...JJ

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#74363 - 02/01/06 11:04 PM Re: Because I Remember Terror 'Father' I Remember You, Sue Silverman
overthehillchick Offline
Member

Registered: 05/20/05
Posts: 31
Loc: Virginia, USA
Welcome, Sue! I was lost on another thread, but I finally found it.

It's funny but I have just started a memoir about finding my father. It's an interesting story that after 52 years, I get a phone call from a man in Florida (I'm in Virginia) who tells me he is my first cousin. As in wowzers. I am keeping track of everything that's happening on my blog but going in more detail for this book I've just started on. I still haven't met my father yet, but I know where he is. I'm corresponding by email and phone with my "aunt" and "first cousin"...they are my only lifelines to find out why my father disappeared after I was born.

Anyway, can you tell me, since the James Frey incident, do you see a future for memoirs? I heard somewhere that the market has just about closed down because of it, but I'm not sure how true that is.

Also, are there traditional publishers that you know of that take this sort of thing if you aren't agent-represented? I'm in the process of securing an agent for another book I've written, but nothing has come of it yet. But, I'm curious, what NY publisher still takes unagented submissions pertaining to memoroirs?

Thanks, hon!

Dorothy

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#74364 - 02/01/06 11:23 PM Re: Because I Remember Terror 'Father' I Remember You, Sue Silverman
Sue William Silverman Offline
Member

Registered: 01/18/06
Posts: 71
Loc: Michigan
Hi, JAWJAW: Thanks so much for your warm welcome! Yes, basically, the speaking kind of took on a life of its own after my first book was published. Before publication, it never occurred to me that I'd become a speaker! I mean, I gave the usual readings at bookstores when it was published, and I thought that would be it. But then, various groups began inviting me to participate in conferences, etc. Mainly, I speak at child abuse prevention conferences and some professional organizations that work with sex addiction. Also writers conferences, of course. Too, I speak at colleges and universities: to their creative writing departments, to women's studies programs, as well as divisions of social work and psychology. Thanks for asking about this! Sue

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#74365 - 02/01/06 11:36 PM Re: Because I Remember Terror 'Father' I Remember You, Sue Silverman
Sue William Silverman Offline
Member

Registered: 01/18/06
Posts: 71
Loc: Michigan
Hi, Dorothy, Thank you so much for posting here. That's an amazing story about your father. And it means a lot to me to hear some of your own journey. It also sounds as if it will be an important book. To my mind, I'd suggest you keep writing and not worry about the James Frey incident. I mean, we have to write our stories, regardless. I actually haven't heard anything about the nonfiction market "closing down" because of it. I figure that publishers HAVE to publish or they go out of business, so I wouldn't be overly concerned. In fact, I've heard that the market for fiction is "slow"! And, as I say, they've got to publish and earn money, and not everyone is going to write a cookbook or an exercise book...if you know what I mean. So keep writing! That's the most important part, anyway. In terms of an agent, my sense is that you pretty much need one in terms of the "big" NY publishers. However, there are many small publishers and university presses that are excellent. You can find a list of all of these in the library by using the reference book "The Literary Marketplace." (It lists everyone and includes the kinds of things they publish. It also lists agents.) I hope this helps. Again, just keep writing! That IS important! Does this answer your question? If not, please let me know. Sue

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#74366 - 02/02/06 12:34 AM Re: Because I Remember Terror 'Father' I Remember You, Sue Silverman
Princess Lenora Offline
Member

Registered: 11/11/04
Posts: 3503
Loc: Colorado
Hi Sue, I also felt like a writer long before I put words to paper. Talk about avoidance! What got you out of your ballet slippers, off the piano bench and onto the page? What is your writing discipline like now? Do you wait for the mood to write to strike, or does the mood to write strike once you start writing? Thanks!

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