This Thanksgiving, I’d like particularly to express my gratitude to the 12 intrepid souls who spent the last 10 weeks with me in my Memoir & Mindfulness class in Ashland, OR. Their writing was brave and hopeful and true. They experimented with new styles and tools, stretched and shared and produced amazing stories. In this time of such divisive rhetoric, I am convinced that telling our stories is one of the most powerful ways to heal. When people come together and share their stories, they find commonality and form deep bonds. Watching these connections – person to self, person to person, person to the life force – build in a classroom is a memoir editor / teacher’s joy. A deeply felt thank you to you, my students and fellow memoirists.
On a personal note, I’m also grateful for the recognition that my soon to be published memoir, King of Doubt, is receiving. I just heard that an excerpted chapter won 1st place in the Oregon Writers Colony annual non-fiction story competition. Here’s what Final Judge, Christy Peterson, wrote about the chapter. “‘At the Wall’ succeeds on many levels. It paints a vivid image of a city and its inhabitants at a particular moment in time. Introspection and the action of the story remain in balance throughout. The clear, uncluttered story arc leads to a satisfying ending. But most important of all, the narrative includes room for the reader to participate in the character’s emotional journey. We care because we too feel frustration, isolation, and finally the warmth of human connection.” Thank you, Judge Christy. I’ll take that. Go, King, Go! The OWC is King of Doubt’s third award in the pre-publication period, plus an essay about the conception and writing of this book is included in the just published anthology, Magic of Memoir. (SheWrites Press, now available)