Archives for September 2012

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Too much “backstory” in Memoir?

While illustrating features of memoir writing, JerryWaxler, esteemed writing coach, therapist, author, and speaker graciously wrote a six week commentary using various aspects of my newly published book, Ragdoll Redeemed: Growing up in the Shadow of Marilyn Monroe. Part four was entitled, “Will the examined life become a memoir subgenre?”

http://memorywritersnetwork.com/blog/ragdoll-novotny-4/

Waxler says writing too much “backstory” or the “panorama of a life violates a central mandate of the memoir genre, “assuring rejection by traditional publicists.” I’m grateful for my ignorance regarding the “rules” for memoir genres which, generally speaking, focuses on a short or specific period during the writer’s life versus an autobiography which focuses on a much longer span of the author’s life.

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What is Enough?

I would love to live

Like a river flows,

Carried by the surprise

Of its own unfolding. John O’Donohue

I’m a master at completing to-do lists and accomplishing short and long term goals. Goals, with various difficulties, have pulled me forward in life giving my life purpose and meaning. I know how to maneuver down life’s river over rugged rocks and through impossible obstacles. What I haven’t seemed to learn is how to relax and let the river carry me. Grief and transitions have a way of dragging you through the river bed until you learn to let go, or continue getting your knees skinned-sometimes even shredded.