Because of blogging, I’ve had a great time getting to know more people interested not only in genealogy and family history, but also in writing memoir and family stories, which is the ultimate goal of my research through my family archives.
So I was so thrilled when one of the most active memoir bloggers, Lynette Benton, (See Lynette Benton On Writing) asked if she could interview me about my interest in family history and memoir. If you haven’t seen Lynette’s blog, check it out. She offers all sorts of savvy advice, from the basics like finding the time to write, and providing writing prompts to get the juices flowing, to analyzing just what makes a memoir resonate for her.
The direct links to the interview in two parts are here (part I) Family History Writing
and here: Family History Writing Part II
Memoirs worth reading (among many) that I recommended include some that were mentioned on Lynette’s blog. Here’s the list of some of my favorites:
- Growing Up by Russell Baker
- The Color of Water by James McBride
- Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt
- The Road from Coorain by Jill Kerr Conway
- Fierce Attachments by Vivian Gornick
- Oh, the Glory of it All by Sean Wilsey
- Dry: A Memoir by Augusten Burroughs
- Lit by Mary Carr
- Lifesaving by Judith Barrington
- Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight by Alexandra Fuller
- The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
- Oh, Beautiful by John Godges
- Family by Ian Frazier
Lynette also asked me to recommend books to guide you through the process of writing your life story, memoir, or family history. Here are some that I’ve found helpful:
- Writing Life Stories by Bill Roorbach
- Writing Family Histories and Memoirs by Kirk Polking
- You Can Write Your Family History by Sharon De Bartolo Carmack
- Writing the Memoir: From Truth to Life by Judith Barrington (a kind of “How to guide,” replete with exercises to get those memories flowing
- Inventing the Truth: The Art and Craft of Memoir, edited by William Zinsser (several brilliant memoirists, including Kerr-Conway, Baker, and Frazier) discuss how they did it.
Lynette regularly has guest bloggers, published authors who share how they crafted their prose, created their characters, or kept going despite coming to hate their books! We all know that feeling.
Her book, Polish and Publish offers advice on the tools, tactics, and strategies to take your writing to the next level and ultimately get published. Take a look!
Thanks, Lynette. You can follow Lynette on twitter: @lynettebenton