Thursday, January 15, 2009

Writing Memoir

In September, Doug and I attended the AARP National Event Convention in Washington, D.C., and we had the privilege of meeting Abigail Thomas, the author of her memoir A Three Dog Life, which was named Best Book of 2006 by the Washington Post. Ms. Thomas held a workshop on writing memoir at the convention and presented her book Thinking About Memoir for sale. At her book signing, Doug and I briefly told her about the unique situation that brought us together and how we first met. Her response was "Oh, you HAVE to write that!" And I agree. So -- I am writing it.

I tend to lose focus in my writing and in everything I do, actually, and so I have several writing projects started, to include two novels, several stories, and one memoir. The memoir has been waiting for me to get back to it and I have decided that it is time I did. I plan to get this done and published, even if I go with self publishing.

Abigail Thomas' website is
For those of you who are AARP members (or maybe you don't even have to be a member), she has a group about writing memoir on the Online Community section of their website.

No matter how mundane we believe our lives to be, we all have a story to share - about growing up, coming into adulthood, marital ups and downs. These stories are great fodder for developing memoirs that are interesting, satisfying, and inspiring! A few of the memoirs and non-fiction accounts of people's lives that I have read and enjoyed are:

Private Front and Center by William Fletcher (this was a memoir written by a soldier who fought in the Civil War)
Light is the Color of Suffering, by Melissa Green
The Glass Castle, by Jennifer Walls
The Bookseller of Kabul, by Asne Seierstad (this is not a memoir, but a journalist's account of the day-to-day life of an Afghani family that she lived with)

Has any of you written a memoir, and if so, can you offer any advice or suggestions for the writing and publishing process?


  1. I would love to someday, Aleta. I have not written anything other than keeping journals for years.

    George and I have a great story of our meeting. I'll email it to you sometime. I'd love to hear how you two met.

  2. Good for you, Aleta.

    I am writing fiction, so I don't have any experience with memoirs, but there are two things you should check out.

    The first is the book WRITER’S MARKET, the 2009 edition. Some libraries have it in their reference section. It is worth buying, though.

    The second is preditors and editors. It is the "writers beware" site. So when you have something to send out to agents/editors, you won't be scammed.

    Many literary agents have blogs linked form their websites. You can find the websites in WRITER'S MARKET.

    Good luck.

  3. My ideas are still cooking in my head. Both fiction and non-fiction. But I have to tell you that my favorite is "They Took to the Woods" by Louise Dickinson Rich. When I grow up I want to write like Louise!

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