By the Wind Grieved

By the Wind Grieved
“O lost, And by the wind grieved, Ghost, Come back again.” Thomas Wolfe

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Memoir and the Open Heart

In a post from May of 2013, just a few months after beginning to chronicle my experience as a memoir writer for hire, I likened my role to that of therapist. Both endeavors involve asking questions to guide the subject to deeper recollection, which will then enable him to assign meaning to memories.

I was reminded of this analogy when reading a profile a couple of months ago in The New York Times on David Ritz, credited memoir ghostwriter to such musical stars as Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, and Etta James, among others. (Author of the article, Nate Chinen, dubs Ritz "confessional bard of rhythm and blues.") Reading how Ritz found his calling is fascinating in itself, as are his colorful tales of working with such luminaries and his reflections on an amazingly prolific career. (This year alone he has five new books.)  But what really hit home for me were his comments on a critical (THE critical) aspect of memoir writing: the willingness of the subjects to open their hearts.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Switchbacks (and New Horizons) on the Publication Trail

Photo by

If not the cruelest month, December was a real doozy on the personal and professional fronts. The result is that I am again about to be reported for neglect to the Blog Oversight Agency. But not to despair. Though I managed not one word in this space, my writing goals creep apace with the new year. A quick recap:

In early December the plans for publication of my client's book came to a screeching halt. While he and I were both grateful to Martin Sisters Publishing for the chance to publish there, at the very last moment my client decided to heed the advice from his new publicist and turn the book over to a professional editor/agent. The good news for me is that I will have the opportunity to get my writing before yet another seasoned professional, and to learn from her the process by which a personal story becomes a more commercial product. Once her edits come back to me, I will share the insights I glean from her expertise.

At the same time, I delved into preparation to upgrade my blogging. I had already been exploring WordPress, the favored platform of many writers I follow. Then, in November a blog post about free WordPress templates by publishing guru Jane Friedman caught my eye. I went on to take her webinar on the topic, offered through Writer's Digest (well worth the $89.00!). I look forward to unveiling the new site in the spring.