Telling Our Stories, Writing Our Lives

Originally published as a Berkshire Publishing newsletter in November 2016. It continues to be relevant, especially as I discover more examples of Valerie (Mrs. T. S.) Eliot's storytelling. Should we call it fabrication, mythmaking, or just plain lying?  Here's the latest example, from Alan Bennett's memoir Keeping On Keeping On: I only met her a couple of times, though was persuaded to attend her funeral if only because, through her family coming to our shop, I had known her longest—if in some respects least. She used to claim that she [...]

September 30th, 2023|Categories: Writing a Woman's Life|Tags: , , , , |

Deirdre Bair on Simone de Beauvoir, Sheila Weller on Carrie Fisher: celebrating women writing women’s lives

A year ago I was accepted into a group called “Women Writing Women’s Lives” (WWWL) in New York. I thus became part of a community of biographers and memoirists who write about women, and, for the first time in my life, a member of a women’s group. (That is, if you don’t count Girl Scouts, which I dropped out of after only a week - twice.) November 12th happened to be the official publication date for new books written by two of my friends, both greeted with much acclaim. Parisian [...]

December 6th, 2019|Categories: Writing a Woman's Life|Tags: , , |

The Mysterious Mr. Thayer

Once upon a time, an author looking for information had to advertise in the paper. She or he would place a notice in the New York Review of Books or the Times Literary Supplement, saying that he or she was working on biography of so-and-so and would like to speak to anyone who knew him or her. I tried to get a notice like that printed when Sophie Mumford was 96 and we were starting to put her notes and memories together for a book. It was 1996 and I [...]