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Be confident with your story

Be confident with your story | memoir writing | Scoop.it

"In today's world of self-publishing, an author needs to speak about his/her memoir with confidence, otherwise, it will be just that much harder to garner publicity and fans and broaden one's network. In this way, authors need to be their best promoters and platform builders regardless of the format of how they are publishing."

Gene Bodzin's insight:

Relax. Life is not a competition. We all have the same starting point and the same end. But there are stresses in between, and showing our naked selves to the world brings out a batch of them.

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memoir writing
a look at how we remember and write about the past
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Four ways to fix celebrity memoirs

Four ways to fix celebrity memoirs | memoir writing | Scoop.it

"As far as literary value goes, celebrity memoirs rank somewhere between romance novels and airport thrillers--they're generally trash."

Gene Bodzin's insight:

An attempt to put a band-aid on gossip and apologetics, to give some weight to the books based on them.

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So you want to be a writer

So you want to be a writer | memoir writing | Scoop.it

"The desire to write comes easily; writing itself is technical and hard."

Gene Bodzin's insight:

After all the theory of writing comes the real business. Most writers would be better advised just to read one line from Sir Philip Sidney: "Fool," said my Muse to me, "look in thy heart, and write." To get published -- now that's a whole nother story.

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Be confident with your story

Be confident with your story | memoir writing | Scoop.it

"In today's world of self-publishing, an author needs to speak about his/her memoir with confidence, otherwise, it will be just that much harder to garner publicity and fans and broaden one's network. In this way, authors need to be their best promoters and platform builders regardless of the format of how they are publishing."

Gene Bodzin's insight:

Relax. Life is not a competition. We all have the same starting point and the same end. But there are stresses in between, and showing our naked selves to the world brings out a batch of them.

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The importance of story

The importance of story | memoir writing | Scoop.it

"For every story, there is a unique human being doing the telling, there is the story itself and its subject matter, and, very importantly there’s the recipient – the listener or the reader. Story is, as Aristotle said, a way of creating a shareable world.".

Gene Bodzin's insight:

To understand the essence of what we are, we organize the past -- the people who influenced us, the events that impressed us, the ideas that changed us -- into a story. To convey our essential self, we tell that story.

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Freewriting a unique supplement to brainstorming

Freewriting a unique supplement to brainstorming | memoir writing | Scoop.it
One important benefit I think students can gain from freewriting is that it can help get past the part of yourself that says you can’t write. We all have that “inner critic” that is cynical and softly says that you are terrible at writing. 
Gene Bodzin's insight:

You cannot write by intention. You must have something to say. Focusing on the blank sheet of paper or the blank screen cannot be nearly as useful as focusing on the inner motivation, the impetus for writing. 

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What Jorge Luis Borges knew about knowing

What Jorge Luis Borges knew about knowing | memoir writing | Scoop.it

"If we were vigilant enough, exacting enough, if we were taught the right mnemonics, if we were offered the right prompts, if we lived uncommon lives and understood ourselves entirely, could we remember everything?"

Gene Bodzin's insight:

A fascinating insight from an amazing story.

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Alzheimer's challenges notions of memory and identity

Alzheimer's challenges notions of memory and identity | memoir writing | Scoop.it
The startling result was that memory wasn't a front-runner when it came to what sustains someone's "true self." Instead, the winner was morality. A person who had trouble learning new information or forgot childhood memories, for example, was regarded as less fundamentally altered than one who became cruel or selfish, or even one who acquired positive moral traits, such as honesty or forgiveness.
Gene Bodzin's insight:

Our relation to others is based on how we see ourselves and how we see them.  This, of course, depends largely on our memory. But a large part of how people with Alzheimer's change has to do with their own memories of self. This study examines the factors that makes those people less recognizable.

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To tell and not to tell

To tell and not to tell | memoir writing | Scoop.it
Can a novel that will affect the author’s closest relationships be written without any concern for the consequences? Will the story perhaps be “edited” to avoid the worst? Or is awareness of the possible reaction part of the energy feeding the book?
Gene Bodzin's insight:

Writers of fiction are as flummoxed by the things that stand between them and the truth as are memoirists. Everybody who writes life stories, disguised or not, must cope with the possibility that somebody who matters might be offended. Dealing with that possibility is part of the art of composition.

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Real-life 'Wolf of Wall Street'

Real-life 'Wolf of Wall Street' | memoir writing | Scoop.it

"You have four seconds to establish three crucial things -- you're (1) sharp as a tack (2) enthusiastic and (3) an expert in your field -- or they tune out." 

Gene Bodzin's insight:

A life is the beginning. The story grows out of it, then it becomes a narrative to polish, then somebody else takes over and decides that it will make more money if it's told differently. Soon, what actually happened can almost seem irrelevant. 

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The biographer's confessions

The biographer's confessions | memoir writing | Scoop.it

"The biographer searches for order, while the memoirist must embrace a muddle—and leave the blank spaces blank."

Gene Bodzin's insight:

A look at how the principles of memoir and biography differ. They are not as different as they appear to be at first glance: many memoirists have discovered that writing can impose order in retrospect to a life that until then seemed chaotic.

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Writing beyond good: Creating emotional resonance

Writing beyond good: Creating emotional resonance | memoir writing | Scoop.it
One of the reasons we writers are so damnably difficult to live with is that while the world outside our writing room may be placidly carrying on, we are laughing and crying and wincing and cursing the world we’re creating on the page; there isn’t an ‘off switch’ once we rejoin the real world.
Gene Bodzin's insight:

There are techniques to help the reader feel the emotions that made you write. Here are some of them.

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Reanimating the memories

Reanimating the memories | memoir writing | Scoop.it

"Writing from photographs seems as though it should produce the same effect, sharpening the way we convert experiences and events into prose. I suspect that it also changes not only what we write but how we write it. It’s no coincidence that the rise of the selfie coincides with the age of autobiography."

Gene Bodzin's insight:

Technology diminishes the need for memory in many ways. Most of them result in weaker powers of remembering. But photographs can make it easier than written notes to recall events for a first draft. 

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A nutshot most tasteful

A nutshot most tasteful | memoir writing | Scoop.it

"I feel, too often, that young artists, upon being criticized, begin as mildly discouraged or frustrated and then go flying headlong into an internet hugbox where all criticism is bad and no one can hurt them again. "

Gene Bodzin's insight:

After the pain of writing comes the pain of rejection. It's all part of the process. Success is not always related to what other people say about your work.

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“They’re Irish! They’re Catholic!! They’re Guilty!!!”

“They’re Irish! They’re Catholic!! They’re Guilty!!!” | memoir writing | Scoop.it
One does not have to be a writer to compile a memoir. Whatever one commits to paper or voice recording should be done in one’s own style. 
Gene Bodzin's insight:

For most would-be memoirists, no advice may be more important to follow than just to get the words out. Everybody with a past has memories. Few people actually tell the stories.

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Operators are standing by

Operators are standing by | memoir writing | Scoop.it

"The novel is dead. The memoir is dead. The short story is twitching. The author is getting ripe. Who can keep up?"

Gene Bodzin's insight:

Been reading web sites like this for a while, hoping somebody will give you the magic bullet that will make the world salivate for your writing? Your wait is over. 

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A message from your brain: I'm not good at remembering what I hear

A message from your brain: I'm not good at remembering what I hear | memoir writing | Scoop.it

"Our auditory memory isn't as robust as we might like to think it is. We think that we are great at integrating all the senses, but the experiment shows that tactile and visual memory easily trumped auditory memory."

Gene Bodzin's insight:

Remember the old telephone game, with each person trying to repeat what the last person said? Here's the reason why the story gets garbled along the way. And also part of the reason why rumors are notoriously unreliable. We do not remember what we hear as well as what we see or touch.

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Memories can go astray when we step outside our bodies

Memories can go astray when we step outside our bodies | memoir writing | Scoop.it

"We need to be able to experience something to be able to recall it later."

Gene Bodzin's insight:

Talking to somebody you see on a smartphone is not the same experience as talking in person. And you are less likely to remember the event. The moments we spend staring into technology are moments we rob from future memories. 

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Karl Ove Knausgaard: the latest literary sensation

Karl Ove Knausgaard: the latest literary sensation | memoir writing | Scoop.it

"Memory is pragmatic, it is sly and artful, but not in any hostile or malicious way; on the contrary, it does everything it can to keep its host satisfied. Something pushes a memory into the great void of oblivion, something distorts it beyond recognition, something misunderstands it totally, something, and this something is as good as nothing, recalls it with sharpness, clarity and accuracy. That which is remembered accurately is never given to you to determine."

Gene Bodzin's insight:

People sometimes wonder how the world would react to Jesus returned to life. Well, it hasn't happened. Instead, Proust seems to have returned to life speaking Norwegian, and he is a best seller.

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Science says your soul is like a traffic jam

Science says your soul is like a traffic jam | memoir writing | Scoop.it

"Memory is also culturally determined: Research has shown, for instance, that Americans tend to retain a particular type of memory, focusing on events that are more personal and individual. In China, by contrast, events of grand cultural or historical significance are more likely to be remembered.

Gene Bodzin's insight:

We are all desperate to make sense of life, and to do so -- if we are imaginative enough -- we fabricate stories that hold together and give us a cohesive picture of "the self." Absorbing this research will give us new respect for people who believe they actually communicate with each other..

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Attention, distractions, and memory

Attention, distractions, and memory | memoir writing | Scoop.it

“In the old days we used to think that IQ meant that you were efficient or inefficient at learning, … but that’s not true at all. So that was encouraging.”

Gene Bodzin's insight:

You can't remember anything if you don't notice it. Here's a study that shows the importance of focus and attention.

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Journaling for your health

Journaling for your health | memoir writing | Scoop.it

"When you write in your journal, you're usually speaking from the first-person viewpoint. But when you go back and reread your journal -- the next day, next week or next month -- it feels like you're reading what someone else has written, almost as if it were in third person. That can provide enough emotional distance to allow you to view your thoughts and actions objectively."

Gene Bodzin's insight:

What you write about the events in your life today can influence not only how you remember them tomorrow but your physiology as well. Researchers have found that probing and coming to terms with what happens to you has a positive effect on your overall well-being later. 

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Can a president rewrite his story?

Can a president rewrite his story? | memoir writing | Scoop.it

"The spotty history of presidential memoirs should cause future presidents to think carefully about how to approach their literary efforts and what they can realistically hope to accomplish. It seems clear that while a bad memoir can hurt a reputation, there is a limit to how much even a well-done book can accomplish. At the very least, they should realize that an authentic retelling, in their own voices, can help in the long run with historians."

Gene Bodzin's insight:

When people think of memoirs, their first thought is often of the apologetic historical revisionism commonly attempted by political personages. This is far from the kind of memoir that Joe Blow might write, in which he explores the past and comes to terms with what has happened. One case is image polishing; the other is an opportunity for personal growth.

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Persona, scene, and structure in memoir writing

Persona, scene, and structure in memoir writing | memoir writing | Scoop.it

"At least two distinctive and different voices from the same writer can tell the story in memoir: you 'then,' mired in the action, and you 'now,' the wiser person telling the tale."

Gene Bodzin's insight:

The elements of effective memoir are the same as those in much of effective fiction. The presence of the narrator (or a central character or characters) must be felt strongly; the reader must be able to visualize what is happening; and there must be a story.

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Memory definition and types of memory

Memory definition and types of memory | memoir writing | Scoop.it

We are typically not aware of what is in our memory until we need to use that bit of information. Then we use the process of retrieval to bring it to the forefront when we need to use it. Much of this recall happens without having to concentrate on it — particularly with common tasks such as shoe tying — but other types of memories take more effort to bring to the forefront.

Gene Bodzin's insight:

If you think somebody has a good memory, or if you have been accused of having one, it makes sense to know what kind of memory is being referred to.

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Why is it so hard for women to write about sex?

Why is it so hard for women to write about sex? | memoir writing | Scoop.it

To describe sex that actually happened—real sex has a charge you don’t find in erotica (a k a porn for girls)—requires even the boldest of writers to stare down the specter of modesty. If Nin did just a fraction of the things she describes in her diaries, which began appearing almost half a century ago, it would be plenty. With a narcissist’s zeal, she vanquished inhibition, as every sex memoirist must. If you’re in this business, you’ve got to forget about the existence of your mother—or the existence of anyone’s mother. 

Gene Bodzin's insight:

A memoir writer can reach a wider audience by exploring some uncomfortable depths and capturing the intense emotional truths that grew out of experience. For a variety of technical and psychological reasons, that is never easy. 

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