My Blog


What Do You Know?

What Do You Know?

Recently, a woman I know received a surprise in the mail. A relative of nearly 90 years old had sent a photograph she’d never seen before. It was an old black and white family photo that raised more questions than gave answers — and she already had questions, plenty of

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Naming Names: Truth in Memoir

Naming Names: Truth in Memoir

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Shakespeare shot Cupid’s bow many a time with the ageless romance of those lines, and he makes a good point: Whatever you may call someone, they are who they are, no matter

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Evoke the Era

Evoke the Era

Everyday pleasures. My neon green transistor radio. The stack of ’45s I played on my turntable—the Temptations, the Jackson 5. Monday nights watching Laugh-In. Bazooka Bubble Gum. Astro Pops. Fizzies. It’s a 1960s childhood. I flattened my thick wavy hair with egg shampoo and wrapped it around my head every

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Easy As 1-2-3

Easy As 1-2-3

What’s new? Whatever is new in your life makes a great writing topic. It’s where the energy is. Even if you’re already working on something else, try this: 1. Make a list of what’s new in your life right now — the standouts. Go for 3 to 5 topics. It

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Memoir Writing Is Beautiful, Hard Work

Memoir Writing Is Beautiful, Hard Work

Have you heard the Zen saying: Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water? Replace “before enlightenment” with “to be a good writer” and you’ll have the formula.

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Being a Ghostwriter

Being a Ghostwriter

A ghostwriter gets to walk in a lot of different people’s shoes. It’s like being an actor. I’ve been a professional singer, a scientist, a philosopher and theologian—and the list goes on. As a ghostwriter I have to sound like my client and then help them sound even better. Good

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Make Your “Fertile 50” List

Make Your "Fertile 50" List

It’s springtime in Texas, when the bluebonnets are in bloom and women from around the country come together for a conference in Austin to learn more about lifewriting. It’s the “Stories from the Heart” conference of the national organization Story Circle Network, “for women with stories to tell,” April 15

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Show Character

Memoir is about people and experiences. It’s about relationships, connection. And characters — the people in our life stories — are at the heart of it all. I see some of my students and clients writing memoir that can suffer from describing incidents one after another, neglecting the important fact

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Almost Ready for Release!

Almost Ready for Release!

“Girlhood in America: Personal Stories 1910 – 2010,” a book about girlhood through a century, is almost ready for release! I’ve been climbing that steep self-publisher’s learning curve and I’m finally cruising. When you sign a contract with a publishing house, you’re usually looking at two years before your pub

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Revising: See With New Eyes

Revising: See With New Eyes

It all starts with the first draft. A first draft gives you something to work with so you can get to where you want to go. It’s a necessary step, and hardly the last one.

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