A memoir can be a story, a history, a comment on society or a combination. It can be instructive, amusing, heart-breaking or all three. In every case, however, it is personal - which explains its popularity, both for the writer and the reader.
Our Roundtable on Memoir brings together three amazing writers who have different backgrounds, styles, and reasons for writing in this genre. It will be an interesting evening!
The idea of writing a memoir is terrifying to me. Why would I expose my naked soul to the public in a book?
At the same time, most, if not all writing is a form of memoir, because we bring our experiences, our education, our cultural, and personal orientation to everything that we write. We are observers not only of the world around us, but of ourselves.
This is probably a good description of my collection of essays, “The Desert Remembers My Name.” My more recent book, The Deepest Roots: Finding Food and Community on a Pacific Northwest Island, is more sociological in nature. But I am part of the pack! Examining my own relationship with food and community as much as that of everyone else.
E.C. Murray is the author of the memoir, A Long Way from Paris, named a KIRKUS Best Book of the Year. She traveled to Paris to be a writer, but instead was transformed herding goats in the mountains of Southern France. Her short story memoir, “The Urban Goatherd," garnered her a Pushcart nomination. A writing instructor at Seattle Central College and Tacoma Community College, her freelance articles range from Lady Gaga to Paralympics, from parenting to traveling.
With a Master’s degree and two writing certificates from the University of Washington, she founded and publishes The Writers Connection,www.writersconnection.org with writer resources and interviews with Elizabeth George, Debbie Macomber, Erik Larson, Garth Stein, and David Guterson and more. She also published Life Kind of Sucks, with tips for people feeling blue.
While I'm primarily a fiction writer, my memoir, The Lyncher in Me, was published through Borealis Books in 2008. The memoir grew from the shocking discovery that my beloved great-grandfather served prison time for instigating a riot in 1920 Duluth, MN, a riot that led to the lynchings of three black men falsely accused of raping a white woman. The memoir served as a way to not only uncover and examine the story around this terrible event, but the story of my own family, and the aftershocks that this terrible secret had on the generations to follow.
I'm also the author of the 2017 novel, Ash Falls (Ig Publishing) and have had short fiction published in Hot Metal Bridge, Mud Season Review, East Bay Review and Switchbackmagazines, among others. In 2015, I earned my MFA from the Rainier Writing Workshop. Currently I'm an assistant principal on Bainbridge Island.