Memoir: Conversations and Craft
Memoir: Conversations and Craft is a celebration of memoir, and a journey to its heart and soul. It aims to entertain, enlighten and engage the reader and writer of memoir.
Why did I write this book?
I decided to write Memoir: Conversations and Craft because I couldn’t find the book I wanted on memoir, to use when I taught workshops. What I did have on hand was 20 years of hand-outs, class room notes, and writing prompts related to memoir and non-fiction writing of all sorts. As well, I had my thesis on memoir from my Research Master of Arts degree, which I completed in 2012, from Mount St. Vincent University in Halifax, NS.
Why not put it all together in a book?
A year or so later, the book was done. I had freshened and updated all the material, along with the now-fat bibliography, which included memoirs, non-fiction, reference books, online links and more. Up until the last moment before turning it in to the publisher, Pottersfield Press, I was adding in new and delicious life stories, such as Beverley McLachlin’s Truth Be Told: My Journey Through Life and Law, and Monique Bégin’s Ladies, Upstairs! My Life in Politics and After. I consider the bibliography to be one of the best features of the book.
Who should read this book?MCC was an adventure and a deep pleasure to write. As a freelance journalist for 30 years, I was delighted to interview the seven distinguished non-fiction and fiction writers who are included in the book. Some were serious; some were amusing; all were thoughtful and generous in their provision of insights and strategies. I wrote MCC for readers of memoir who seek more knowledge of the genre, and for practitioners of the genre, whether they are emerging writers or more experienced ones.
How is the book arranged?MCC is divided into three sections: Understanding Memoir; Creating Memoir; and The Audacity of Memoir. Between the seven chapters of Section One are seven interviews with leading memoir authors: Linden MacIntyre; Edmund Metatwabin; Donna Morrissey; Claire Mowat; Lawrence Hill; Diane Shoemperlen; and Plum Johnson.
Each interview is followed by a Craft passage which reflects back on the content of the interviews, and suggests different writing exercises or considerations for the memoirist. The Appendix includes writing tips; writing prompts and lists; a musing on the ghosts of our past; and finally some thoughts on the voices of our ancestors.