Reckless Grace: a new and important memoir

Let's welcome Carolyn diPasquale who's on a WOW! Women on Writing tour with her new memoir, Reckless Grace: A Mother's Crash Course in Mental Illness. And Carolyn has generously written an essay for us about whether women can age with grace. Here's Carolyn: Can Women Age with Grace? “Your hair is so attractive. What color do you use?” a woman standing behind me in Dunkin’ Donuts asked when I was in my early forties. “Thank you,” I smiled, “but I don’t color my hair. This is natural.” Her eyes grew. “Really?” My takeaway from that exchange was that I looked old: My hair didn’t match my face. When I was in my fifties, portly silver-haired gents started checking me out. This took me aback as I used to attract the hotties. It also proved that brunette hair or not I was looking my age. My mind might have sidestepped these gentle cues. At sixty and still without one gray, I was waiting in line at a phlebotomy clinic when an elderly woman shuffled in. I let the white-haired, … [Read more...]

Writing a memoir? Stick to it!

Yesterday I participated as a panel member discussing "How to Develop Your Memoir with Appeal to the Widest Possible Audience" at the Genre-LA Creative Writing Conference. Unfortunately the room was not full, but the four of us on the podium spoke from our experience writing, editing, and marketing memoirs to get an interested and inspired response from those who did attend. I think the most important point we made was in answer to this question: Defining a memoir’s theme or focus can be overwhelming – how can aspiring memoirists choose which events, memories, or moments to include, and which to leave out? My answer to that would be: Don’t write a complete autobiography. Pick a subject that’s timely and universal. For example, my memoir, Leaving the Hall Light On, is about our son’s mental illness and suicide and how our family survived it. And right now mental illness and suicide are in the forefront. Suicide of young men especially is an epidemic though women are more … [Read more...]