Ariel Shanberg, director of the Delaware Valley Arts Alliance, and I discuss the craft of writing memoir at the book launch of Sayonara Cowboy.

For me, the publication of Sayonara Cowboy has sparked new friendships and rekindled old ones. I’m surprised so many say they’ve considered writing a memoir.

Want to talk about writing, and especially about memoir? Count me in!

If you’re serious, I recommend two books as MUSTS for your reading list: Lisa Dale Norton’s Shimmering Images: A Handy Little Guide to Writing Memoir;  and Roy Peter Clark’s Writing Tools—50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer.

Here’s Norton’s lovely riff on memoir:

“I believe writing memoir is the most effective way to change the world… If  we write bighearted, compassionate stories, we have the chance to model forgiveness, to get beyond the old tales of past events; we have the chance to change the way people perceive their experiences.”

If that doesn’t get you to the keyboard, I don’t know what will. Here’s my take on the matter in Sayonara Cowboy:

“Imagine memories inside old scrapbooks, warped and collecting dust in an old woman’s attic. I want to save them from being gnawed by insects and time. When you peel back memory’s skin, you must claim all of it while you can, even when it hurts. This is how you reconcile your shames and remember what was good, beautiful, and loving. This is how you find out who you are, and who you intend to become. This is the story I want to tell you.”

How about you? As my friend Ramona Jan, founder of Yarnslingers (look it up), says, “Everyone has a story to tell.” Is it time to tell yours?