memoir

The Memoir Revolution

The Memoir Revolution

In case anyone is still in doubt about whether or not we are in the midst of a memoir revolution, fully half the ten titles on this year’s National Book Awards (American) longlist for nonfiction are memoirs. But within that flexible category is immense variety: Between the World and Me is Ta-Nehisi Coates’s open letter to his […]

A Fine Farley Moment

A Fine Farley Moment

On July 22 of 1985, my journal has this remark: “Letter from Farley Mowat!” He was responding to one of mine, which I had felt compelled to write because I had recently been turned back at the US border at Pearson International. I’d said goodbye to everyone, had plans in Miami … it was a […]

I Remember

I Remember

Memory is the theme of Human Chain, a collection of poetry published by one of the world’s greatest poets, Seamus Heaney, in 2011. “What is the relationship between writing poetry and memory?” he was asked by a Toronto Star reporter. “Memory has always been fundamental for me,” Heaney replied. “Remembering what I had forgotten is the […]

Close Call on the Pacific Ocean

Close Call on the Pacific Ocean

Below is an incident I wrote  in 1972 after a four month sail from San Diego through the Panama Canal and up to Key West, under sail alone—no engine, in a 42′ trimaran, similar to the one shown. We were a crew of four: the captain and his thirteen-year-old son, and my partner and I. This […]

Truth Plus Memoir Equals Revolution

When you write a memoir, you share your truths, good and bad, with those whose eyes follow your words. It’s mind to mind. It’s enlightenment, and quite possibly medicine. Franz Kafka famously said, “A book should be the axe for the frozen sea within us.” Such a book is The Education of Augie Merasty: A […]

From Love Letters to Memoir

From Love Letters to Memoir

I stood by my table of books at Chapters in Peterborough earlier this month for a book signing, just inside the front door. Several people stopped by the table to talk about memoirs. Suddenly a familiar face with a dazzling smile appeared. Joanne Culley http://www.joanneculley.com who took my course on memoir writing four years ago, […]

I Was Named After Renate

I Was Named After Renate

(In the story below, Renata Hill is responding to one of my earlier blogs entitled Does Your Name Tell a Story? Hers does. Thank you, Renata, for sharing this story of remembrance here.) I was named for a childhood friend of my mother’s—a lost friend. In the early 1930’s, when my mother was no more […]