A Big Time for My Little Book

by marionroach on July 13, 2011

IT’S BEEN A great time for my irreverent little book on writing. Today I will be on the wonderful NPR show, Talk of the Nation. I’d love you to listen it, of course, though you can hear it again this evening via the wonders of digital recording. Want to know how?

It’s easy. It’s right here on the NPR site.

Also today, the ever-wonderful Gotham Writer’s Workshop has published their newsletter in which they say the loveliest things. How’s this for a quote: “While there have been other writing books, there’s been nothing like Marion Roach Smith’s The Memoir Project.  Her book is a disarmingly frank, but wildly fun, distillation of all the unsentimental lessons that teach you to write with purpose.” I am delighted. You can read the rest, here.

The book is getting other great coverage, including being named one of the top ten reads of the summer by Boston’s public radio station, WBUR, and by being wonderfully featured in the Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express News. You can see that fine feature piece here.

One of my favorite write-ups is in the Philadelphia alternative weekly, CityPaper, who loved the book, leading off the review by stating, “Marion Roach Smith’s guide to memoir writing made me want to do two things: learn more about Smith and write a memoir. I’d say that makes it a roaring success.”

Have you got your copy? You can buy it here as a paperback, here as an ebook or, if you’d like me to read it to you, go to Audible.com’s site for the book and let me whisper in your ear.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Ginny July 13, 2011 at 3:37 pm

I was listening to NPR today and by caught your interview. The topic of writing personal storeies truly resonated with me because I was recently pretty violently choked recently by my older in the presence of my dying mother while she was in hospice. My mother has since died and so have my mother’s younger sister and another one of my siblings: all within a span of three weeks. I think I should capture this event in writing but I don’t know how to start. I have a tendency by nature to talk in tangents so I’m overwhelmed by the the thought writing a concise and compelling personal story. Any interest in blogging with me a bit so I can get my feet wet?

marionroach July 14, 2011 at 12:13 pm

Hi, Ginny. Thanks for listening in to NPR. My best advice is to start at the beginning of the action. It’s a great, dramatic place to begin. For more memoir writing advice, please come over to http://www.marionroach.com, which is where my current memoir tips have migrated. Unfortunately, I’m full up with my blogging responsibilities, so I’m not available to co-blog, though I do have full faith that you can write your tale.

Pamela July 14, 2011 at 3:58 pm

Dear Marion,
I was fortunate to catch your TOTN interview online today. I loved it, especially your advice to “keep your taxes off your desk”. I also think you have one of the best laughs I’ve ever heard.

Though I’m in the process of writing a book of fiction, I continually get requests for essays from my three year old blog to be published in book form. I’m just now beginning the bouncy journey to find an agent who might catch that vision. Your focus on “what is it about” was of particular interest to me as I’m attempting at present to gather past essays into a definable collection.

And thanks for the “500 words a day” kick in the pants!

Wishing you the best,

marionroach July 14, 2011 at 4:29 pm

Hi, Pamela.
Many thanks for finding me on TSP, where we love our sister-writers. And thanks for the comment about my laugh. It’s big and loopy, I know, but it’s mine-all-mine. Ha! I’m going now to check out your blog. Write on, sister. And do come back for more.

Julie Jordan Scott August 8, 2011 at 6:58 pm

I bought your book the other night at my local bookstore. The opening pages had me laughing and crying… hell, your name had me laughing and crying. I said to my daughter, Emma, “Look, she has the same name as Granny.” to which my thirteen-year-old who listens far more carefully than I realize responded, “She even spells it like a man, too.” Granny hated being Marion rather than Marian.

For the past several years I have longed to place my face inside a card catalog for a long, deep inhale.

I’m jealous of the relationship you have with your sister.

I cried when I finished your book today. This hasn’t happened for a long time.

I’m grateful I found your book.

Diane August 12, 2011 at 4:07 pm

I came across your book a couple of weeks ago at my local, soon-to-be-gone Borders. Today I started reading it, and it has made me laugh and think and recommit to writing . . . and I’m only half-way through the book! I feel lucky to have accidentally found it. I facilitate reflective writing sessions for nurses at a local hospital, and I can see the ways in which their most powerful writing reflects what you identify as the key ingredients of good memoir writing.

I am drawn to reading memoirs for the reasons you talk about, including a “thirst for understanding this life.” I have a friend, on the other hand, who hates memoirs because she hates the my-life-has-been-worse-than-yours business. Based on what you have written about the differences in writers’ approaches to telling their stories, it would seem that she and I are reading different memoirs. I’ve just ordered your book for my friend. Now I will try to find a podcast of your NPR interview and I’ll visit your website. I’m glad you’re out there doing the work you do.

marionroach October 13, 2011 at 11:27 am

Dear Julia:
Many thanks for your lovely and kind comments.
Ooooh: inhaling the card catalog. Now that would be my new drug, as well.
Don’t be jealous of my relationship with Margaret, she drives me crazy, I promise. Ha!
I am delighted you like my little book. Please come see me here for all-memoir, all-the-time instruction and fun.

Hi, Diane:
I think you and your friend are reading different memoirs. I am deeply honored that you are buying my book for her, and hope she takes away a greater love of the genre. For more memoir writing and instruction, please come see me here, my new home for all that.

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