We expected MAYBE 8 audience members for our lunth-time June 30th talk at Massanutten Regional Library. However, as the time grew closer to 1pm, the numbers increased to 35! It was clear–these people all wanted to hear what it’s like to share a personal story to the world, and tips on how to prepare on doing that.
Shirley Showalter and I are extremely different people and presenters.
Shirley’s book, Blush, is a narrative memoir about growing up Mennonite in Lancaster County, PA.
My memoir, Memory Chose a Woman’s Body, is about the effects of abuse, depression, and what it really means to be a survivor.
I’m 32. Shirley is 65.
I’m a poet. Shirley is an essayist and narrative memoirist.
I write about abuse, depression and resilience. Shirley writes about an idyllic childhood with few if any threats to her safety and lots of instruction and examples of kindness.
But, both stories are equally important, and equally change the world around us.
I won’t go into detail of what we fully presented, because we will probably offer this again elsewhere, but it was a success. The audience connected with us. After we were finished presenting, the Q & A time offered the audience the ability to ask the questions we all want to know when writing a memoir. Shirley and I answered truthfully, and through completely different perspectives.
But, one question I’m always asked…how far should I go to hide/mask the identity of those I’m writing about?
My answer is always this: What happens when you add more water than the kool-aid you are adding it to? It starts to taste like water. A memoir is no different. It just becomes too watered down when there isn’t enough of the truth.
I sold nearly every book I’d brought there, and received some very meaningful hugs and comments before my time at the library was over. This event was a confirmation that I am changing my piece of the world.
This event was a pure success. You can find my book available for loan at Massanutten Regional Library in the poetry section, at Amazon, and Barnes and Noble. I hope to see you at future events.
© 2014 Angela M. Carter
Author photo by Stuart Showalter