Tag Archives: memoir

Create Your Own Mythology: On Usain Bolt’s 9.58

Under review: 9.58: Being the World’s Fastest Man, by Usain Bolt with Shaun Custis (2010, HarperSport, 287 pages) As the Sochi Winter Olympic Games lurch to a close, it’s instructional to remember that, for Summer Olympians, the past two weeks … Continue reading

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Episodia 2.2: Writing About Our Secrets

Last weekend, I spent an evening in the woods with a group of strangers in search of owls. It was a cold, eventless quest, punctuated by the unanswered hooting of our guide and the sporadic cry of distant foxes. Every … Continue reading

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Publication Starts the Story: On Jim Bouton’s Ball Four

Under review: Ball Four: Twentieth Anniversary Edition by Jim Bouton (465 pages, 1990, Wiley Publishing) A memoir’s publication date usually serves as a finish line. The events within have already taken place well, well in the past; their cathartic release tends … Continue reading

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Memoir as Weapon: On Keyshawn Johnson’s Just Give Me the Damn Ball!

Under Review: Just Give Me the Damn Ball!: The Fast Times and Hard Knocks of an NFL Rookie by Keyshawn Johnson with Shelley Smith (1997, Warner Books, 216 pages) The Sports Memoir: Choose Your Own Adventure There’s something inherently cathartic … Continue reading

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Episodia 1.16: How to Structure Your Memoir

Sometimes memoirists can feel as if we have very few choices about our stories. Bound by truth and memory, we can often conclude there’s not much room for our creative selves to have a say. But here’s a secret—we don’t … Continue reading

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The Winged Seed

The Winged Seed Li-Young Lee BOA Editions, April 2013 200 pages $16.00 Reading Li-Young Lee’s The Winged Seed reminded me of an argument by economist Tyler Cowen. Cowen cautions against our propensity to impose narrative on everything. He claims that … Continue reading

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Episodia 1.6: The Five Pillars of Place

As a writer, reader, and a creative writing teacher, I am—for now and forever—a staunch proponent of the place-based narrative. When we think of stories, we tend to focus on those bound to particular characters or events. And yet, some … Continue reading

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What Happened to My First Draft

I have this memoir that’s coming out next year. I had never written a memoir before so it was more fraught of a writing experience then I had expected. I rewrote the first fifty pages nine times before I could … Continue reading

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Let’s Pretend This Never Happened

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir Jenny Lawson Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam, April 2012 336 pages $25.95 From humble beginnings (blogginnings?), Jenny “The Bloggess” Lawson has built a new media empire writing for mommy blogs, reviewing porn in … Continue reading

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Racetracks in America, For Example

When I was writing Track Conditions, a memoir about my mostly drunken experience as a groom to Swale, the 1984 Kentucky Derby winner, a strange thing happened to my body—it went back to the way it looked during the time … Continue reading

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