When a memoir isn’t all about you: Jerry Waxler examines memoir-biographies

Jerry Waxler of the Memory Writers Network studies memoirs. He examines how they are structured, what techniques were used, what works well. I like how he comes at it from a therapist’s perspective, providing a philosophical and almost scientific look at an author’s journey and how it was written. Very insightful. He gives us ideas to chew on while we read memoirs or write our own stories. By the way, Learn to Write Your Memoir and Memoir Revolution are among the books Jerry Waxler has written.

I found one of Jerry’s recent posts to be particularly interesting—and not just because he mentions my mother’s story, Cherry Blossoms in Twilight. A great many memoirs are not just about the author. A story can also feature another person who is a key part of the journey. We tell their story, too, meshing it into ours. Sometimes the story is all about the other person! Jerry’s post uses examples to explain how some memoir authors have incorporated a second story into a combination memoir/biography, or in some cases given a voice to someone who wouldn’t, couldn’t, or just didn’t write their own story. Read These Memoirs Are Similar to Biography to learn about this kind of storytelling and maybe find a few new books to read.



About moonbridgebooks

Co-author of Cherry Blossoms in Twilight, a WWII Japan memoir of her mother's childhood; author of Poems That Come to Mind, for caregivers of dementia patients; Co-author/Editor of Battlefield Doc, a medic's memoir of combat duty during the Korean War; life writing enthusiast; loves history and culture (especially Japan), poetry, and cats
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