memory

The Sixth Sense

The Sixth Sense

  When I talk about the six senses in memoir writing, occasionally someone asks me, don’t you mean five? The Famous Five they mean are sight, sound, smell, taste and touch. A writer makes a story come alive when generous use of the Famous Five is splashed fragrantly onto an otherwise sense-less page. The reader […]

Fifteen Great Memoirs to Read

  Empathy relies on a willingness to step into the shoes of another person and leave our own world behind. We do this when we read memoir. When we understand what moves another, we are taking a giant step towards felling barricades. Barricades of racism, poverty, mental illness, zenophobia and all the other phobias. Indeed, […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Little Big Man

Little Big Man

(April 30 is the day the Canadian government has chosen to commemorate the acceptance of 60,000 Boat People into Canada in the early eighties when North Vietnam took control of that country under communist rule. This short story is a piece of historical fiction by David Hughes http://straightspeak.com  Memoir, the focus of my blog, is generally true stories; […]