Thursday, June 25, 2020

Summer Reading: True Stories

I'm fortunate to call Cape Breton-based author Marjorie Simmins my writing mentor AND my friend, and I'm delighted to share her latest book. 
MEMOIR: CONVERSATIONS and CRAFT is an excellent resource for those who want to write a story from their life and are curious about how to get started, and for those who love reading those life stories and are curious about how they are created. 

Marjorie's conversations are with Canadian authors Lawrence Hill, Linden MacIntyre, Edmund Metatawabin, Donna Morrissey, Claire Mowat, Diane Schoemperlen, and Plum Johnson. 
Following each conversation, Marjorie walks through the craft, or process, discussed in that particular conversation. So there is in-depth information about why an author wrote, as well as practical writing advice and guidance. 

My copy of this book is dog-eared, and many of the pages contain hand-written notes. I read this book before I started editing my memoir, The Funeral Director's Daughter, again, and made this note at the start of Marjorie's conversation with Plum Johnson, who said, 
"There is an age range when one is in a home. I think especially around eight, nine, ten years old, it's such an influential time in one's life...Whatever home you're in at that age seems to take on this incredible significance."
I asterixed the first sentence and underlined everything because that was the age I lived in the first funeral home my father owned, and those years and that place remain vivid and clear in my memory. 

What also resonated with me was something Linden MacIntyre said: "I finally did the memoir and since I've published the memoir, I've published four novels. So something got cleaned out, something got cleared away." 
I'm wondering if perhaps that will be my experience, too. 

I share these personal examples to show there's something for everyone in this book. You might be amazed at what gems of ideas you find in this book, and what you might learn from hearing the diverse experiences of these writers. 

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