Workshop: Writing from dark to light.  This year’s memoir workshops concentrate on overcoming grief, but other types of memoirs will be handled (see the full description after the 2017-2018 Schedule and Fees blog).

Bill’s Quick Take on the Memoir Workshop

Memoirs have recently become a very popular genre, so much so that publishers are fussy about accepting another one.  These aren’t the old-fashioned memoirs–family memorabilia of people, places, and events–all chronologically arranged and boring for non-family readers.  They’ve become outlets for self-exploration, definition, and spiritual discovery.  For example, many memoir writings stem from purging never-faced demons caused by sexual molestation or death of a loved one.

In my case, writing Can’t Stop Falling, a Caregiver’s Love Story  became a means of self-preservation.  I started keeping a daily journal three years into my wife’s physical decline and eventual demise, and then kept rewriting it.  Doing this helped keep me steady.  It could be called a literary grief memoir… something that reads a bit like a novel, traces my steps into and out of despair, and hopefully serves as inspiration to other caregivers facing similar tragedy.

Such memoirs are obviously intensely personal, yet distinguished from an autobiography in being a slice of life, not an attempt to reconstruct or invent an entire life.  These days, literary grief memoirs are becoming common and are often very well written and interesting to read.  This kind of writing obviously opens wounds, but it should ultimately decrease, not increase, morbid self-absorption.