All posts filed under: Memoir Monday

GHOST WEEK: Is writing about family a kindness or intrusion? Kat Chow’s SEEING GHOSTS: A Memoir about her mother, race, culture, immigration, more, plus a writing prompt

By Leslie Lindsay “[…]The archaeologists of memory, unearthing places we have wavered in going. Like all books that haunt us long after reading, SEEING GHOSTS is a courageous act of excavation and salvage.” –Ocean Vuong, New York Times bestselling author of ON EARTH WE ARE BRIEFLY BEAUTIFUL ~WRITERS INTERVIEWING WRITERS~ GHOST WEEK ALWAYS WITH A BOOK|MEMOIR MONDAY Featured Spotlight: SEEING GHOSTS: A Memoir Kat Chow is a writer and journalist, a former NPR reporter, and the founding member of the Code Switch team. Her work has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, and on RadioLab, among others. She is one of Pop Culture Happy Hour’s fourth chairs. She received residency fellowships from the Millay Colony and the Jack Jones Literary Arts Retreat. She lives near Washington, D.C. SEEING GHOSTS (Grand Central Publishing, August 24 2021) is her highly anticipated first book. ABOUT SEEING GHOSTS: A powerful and haunting portrait of grief told through the prism of three generations of Kat Chow’s family. Always unusually fixated on death, Kat worried constantly about her …

Is a ghost a commitment? What do we inherit? Laraine Herring talks about her new memoir, A CONSTELLATION OF GHOSTS, speculative work, epigenetics, ravens, and more

By Leslie Lindsay A truly unique slant to a traditional genre, A CONSTELLATION OF GHOSTS is just that–a cacophony of voices from the past, present, and maybe future–surrounding strong themes of life, death, grief, ancestry, shunning and estrangement. ~WRITERS INTERVIEWING WRITERS~ ALWAYS WITH A BOOK|MEMOIR MONDAY Leslie Lindsay & Laraine Herring in conversation Author, lover of cats, creative writing professor, grief counselor, illustrator, book coach (focusing exclusively on women over 40), and founder of Hags on Fire, a ‘zine for women to write about aging through perimenopause, menopause, and croning, Laraine Herring is multitalented and constantly juggling. A CONSTELLATION OF GHOSTS is her most recent memoir. ABOUT A CONSTELLATION OF GHOSTS: A CONSTELLATION OF GHOSTS (forthcoming Oct 19 2021 from Regal House Publishing), is unlike any other, inviting you to think deeply about your ancestors, loss/death, your body, and more. Like a murder of crows or an unkindness of ravens, A CONSTELLATION OF GHOSTS is just that: a boisterous and magical exchange of voices in the dark, from within and with…out. It’s a bit poetic in a sense, but …

Diana Kupershmit talks about her unbearable decision, second chances, parenting a child with special needs, photography, and more in her moving memoir EMMA’S LAUGH

By Leslie Lindsay An elegantly raw, and often brutal memoir of a mother’s loss, but also a deep gift of second chances, growth, and more. ~WRITERS INTERVIEWING WRITERS~ Always with a Book|Memoir Monday Leslie Lindsay & Diana Kupershmit in Conversation Convinced of her inability to love her “imperfect” child and give her the best care and life she deserved, Diana Kupershmit gave her first-born up for adoption. But as with all things that are meant to be, Emma found her way back home. Diana is a social worker, mother, and photographer. EMMA’S LAUGH is her debut memoir. ABOUT EMMA’S LAUGH: The Gift of Second Chances: In this hugely moving and harrowing examination of a life, love, and loss, Diana Kupershmit takes a tragic–and seemingly–unfair situation and turns into a EMMA’S LAUGH: The Gift of Second Chances (SWP, June 2021), about her first-born’s rare, genetic condition, and the gifts she bestowed on the family.Like most eager new parents, Diana imagined a perfect child when she gave birth for the first time to Emma, at the age of …

Claire Phillips talks about A ROOM WITH A DARKER VIEW, her mother’s struggle with paranoid schizophrenia, how sharing your darkest moment might bring light and hope to yourself–and others, more

By Leslie Lindsay  What if your mother were blisteringly intelligent and ambitious and yet…she devolved into a stew of paranoia, delusions, and more? ~WRITERS INTERVIEWING WRITERS|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ Memoir Monday: Mental Health & Motherhood This unflinching, insightful, and troubled memoir A ROOM WITH A DARKER VIEW: Chronicles of My Mother and Schizophrenia by Claire Phillips is ambitiously and intelligently told. Claire’s mother, Joy is an Oxford-trained lawyer diagnosed in midlife with paranoid schizophrenia. Here, the author takes a feminist lens and tells her story, recollecting her childhood–and her mother’s–an elegant, non-linear manner, arriving at the dark, and inevitable conclusion. We get a striking glimpse of Claire’s mother from her younger days, the stress of being one of the only practicing female attorneys at time when it was primarily men, her father’s aspirations and career as a scientist, more. Phillips leads us through dark hallways where portraits of delusional thinking and paranoia hang, like a specter. But it’s more than that: A ROOM WITH A DARKER VIEW touches on the broken mental health system, adult children as a caregivers, mental health homelessness, shame, and the universal worry: …

Maryanne O’Hara and I chat about LITTLE MATCHES, a gorgeous tribute to her late daughter, who suffered from cystic fibrosis, transformational healing, reiki, end-of-life doulas, & so much more

By Leslie Lindsay  What happens when your only child dies of a tragic genetic disease and you’re left to grapple with the meaning of life? ~WRITERS INTERVIEWING WRITERS | ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ Memoir Monday: Mental Health Awareness Month What happens when your only child dies of a tragic genetic disease and you’re left to grapple with the meaning of life? This is the overarching question that plaques novelist Maryanne O’Hara as she makes sense of the senseless loss of her adult daughter, Caitlin, following a near-lifelong battle of cystic fibrosis (CF) in her forthcoming memoir, LITTLE MATCHES (HarperOne, April 20 2021). Immediately, I was enthralled with the deep well of questions this wise writer posits to the reader: Where is she?Is she?Is there more to life than this life?Does consciousness survive death?Does my existence have any purpose?Does anyone’s? Of course, death is the only certainty in life and while that’s ironic (and a bit glib), there is so much life that happens in that interstitial space. This is why I think I love LITTLE MATCHES. Maryanne and her husband, Nick, …

Hugely moving and tragic memoir, EVERYTHING’S FINE about mothers, sons, & brothers…one with severe mental illness, a horrific tragedy, healing, more–Vince Granata and I chat about this and more

By Leslie Lindsay An extraordinarily moving memoir about a family ripped from balance at the hands of a severally mentally ill individual, EVERYTHING IS FINE (Atria, April 2021) is about grief, mental illness, mothers and sons, and so much more.  ~WRITERS INTERVIEWING WRITERS |ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ Memoir Monday: Mental Health Awareness Month An extraordinarily moving memoir about a family ripped from balance at the hands of a severally mentally ill individual, EVERYTHING IS FINE (Atria, April 2021) is about grief, mental illness, mothers and sons, and so much more.  I finished this book last night and I am so moved and yet, simultaneously disturbed. It’s one of the most gut-wrenching, heart-breaking, authentic memoirs I’ve read in a long time. This family will stay with me. Vince Granata recalls standing in front of his suburban home, chalk in hand, as he greeted his mother and father and three siblings (triplets) home from the hospital. The family had just doubled in size. He was ecstatic; finally: playmates, siblings. But twenty-three years later, one of those siblings–Tim–will develop severe mental illness–likely schizophrenia. He’s plagued by paranoid delusions, …

MEMOIR MONDAY: 2020 FAVORITES curated by leslie lindsay

By Leslie Lindsay Great list of memoirs that really hit home, in this year-end round-up as curated by your host, Leslie Lindsay.  ~MEMOIR MONDAY|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ 2020 YEAR-END ROUND-UP Memoir is one of my very favorite genres. I think it’s because I love inhabiting someone else’s world, even if just briefly. I learn a lot about myself, and the world around me. Plus, there’s always resilience and strength and a new lens in which one gazes from the world. I am often moved to write when I read a memoir–but not always. There’s something about digesting someone else’s words and stories to help the reader excavate her own. Also, there’s learning, at least for me, that goes on ‘behind-the-scenes’ when I read a memoir. I look at pacing, structure, and character. I notice things like imagery and word use.  It takes an incredible amount of guts write a memoir. It’s cathartic, sure. I think therapy is a lot cheaper and faster than say, the years and blood, tears, and sweat  from revisiting (often) traumatic …

Is there a WRONG WAY TO SAVE YOUR LIFE? Maybe our experiences are so widely varied that there is no wrong—or right way? Megan STIELSTRA talks about thiS, motherhood, feeling stuck, being seen

by Leslie Lindsay Raw, bold and ravishing memoir loosely hinged on the concept of fear. ~MEMOIR MONDAY|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ WRITERS INTERVIEWING WRITERS Book of the Year Award, Nonfiction, Chicago Review of Books, December 2017 Best Books of 2017, Chicago Public Library, December 2017 Best Books of 2017, Chicago Magazine, December 2017 Best Books of 2017, Heidi Stevens for the Chicago Tribune, December 2017 2017 Favorites, The Rumpus, December 2017 Best Nonfiction of 2017, Vol 1. Brooklyn, December 2017 Best Books by Women in 2017, Bustle, November 2017 Great Essay Collections of 2017, Book Riot, November 2017 Finalist, Book of the Year, Nonfiction, Chicago Writer’s Association, October 2017 Is it instinct, or distinct? I am not sure and I think both apply in THE WRONG WAY TO SAVE YOUR LIFE by Megan Stielstra (Harper Perennial, 2017). Here, we dive into so many topics that are forbidden at the dinner table: feminism, the perils of academia, the writing life, postpartum depression, childhood cancer, motherhood, sex. And fear. There’s so much fear under these words, it’s palpable. These essays–or stories–snapshots, …

The lovely & Talented Sonja LIVINGSTON talks about her astonishing memoir of growing up in poverty with a single mother and bevy of siblings in GHOSTBREAD

By Leslie Lindsay  A truly magical, glowing memoir of a life of poverty, told in the most lyrical, haunting prose that will stay with you long after you close the last page. ~MEMOIR MONDAY|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ AWP BOOK PRIZE FOR NONFICTION ADAPTED FOR CLASSROOM USE IN THE U.S.  A truly magical, glowing memoir of a life of poverty, told in the most lyrical, haunting prose that will stay with you long after you close the last page. I always have such a hard time reviewing books I absolutely loved. When I finished GHOSTBREAD by Sonja Livingston (U of Georgia Press, 2009), my husband asked, “How many stars?” And I said, “Five.” He nodded, slightly unimpressed. And then I followed up with, “Five GLOWING stars.” He was astonished. “REALLY?!” Yes, really. And I am not in the habit of handing out five-stars unless I really mean it. GHOSTBREAD is about living in the raw corners of Western New York. It’s about a single mother raising seven kids with five different fathers.Here, we are introduced to Sonja and …

Kendra Atleework talks about personal loss & shared loss, homesickness, what it means to leave a place & return, loving her high desert home, and so much more in her memoir MIRACLE COUNTRY

By Leslie Lindsay  A rare and powerful memoir combing aspects of travel, history, environmental writing with autobiography and told in luminous prose. ~MEMOIR MONDAY| ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ On the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevadas, a tiny town known as Swall Meadows resides. A bit farther south, a larger (but still small) town of Bishop lies cradled in the hands of Owens Valley California. This is the primary setting of MIRACLE COUNTRY (Algonquin Books, July 14) by debut author Kendra Atleework. I was initially drawn to MIRACLE COUNTRY because I have a ‘thing’ with land and geography, how it shapes one’s worldview, art, and essence.Having recently visited a high desert myself, I was intrigued and enthralled with this grittier, rustic side of life–from raging wildfires to blizzards and gale-force winds, this area witnesses it all. MIRACLE COUNTRY blends autobiography with environmental writing along with history. Here, we learn about the origins of L.A. (Owens Valley being just a few hours away), and how the Los Angeles Aqueduct was developed to usher water to the sprawling metropolis, rich with …