Monday, April 23, 2018

Pitfalls, Detours and Lessons Along the Writer's Way


Real and true stories bring us together in community. That’s the excitement, the fear and the challenge of writing.  

Last week I wrote a story which several readers thanked me for, saying they related to it on a deep level. There is no greater compliment for a writer. Unfortunately, the story did not sit well with someone I loved. So, I took the story down, asked the publisher to remove it from their website. A lesson learned.

Writing under a pseudonym or writing fiction is perhaps the better way to go if we love, value and honor the most important relationships in our lives. Each writer must decide this for herself. My situation was a sobering reminder of the risks inherent in writing and last week I put my writing on hold … took time to reflect. In the final analysis, I wrote that story to help others, but it ended up turning into an emotional minefield.


When I started the Women’s Writing Circle nine years ago, I hoped that one or two women would find in writing a place to share her story… to pursue her creative voice and vision, not just in service to herself, but to others. It’s a rocky road, filled with detours and danger and I was extremely na├»ve when I began this little endeavor! Since then, dozens and dozens of women have gained something from the Circle, they tell me. Now, I realize there is nothing “little” about this undertaking of offering a writing community, which must be built on trust and non-judgment. It must honor the fragility and vulnerability the writer brings to the "sacred container."

Understanding who you are, what you can and cannot write, what you will and will not write, is essential to offering an invitation to your readers to enter your world—and theirs.
As I advise my editing clients, your story must be authentic. It can’t be a disguise. How you do this, the genre you select, comes with time and experience and a gut feeling of what feels right for you.

This morning I felt a rekindling of motivation to write. It’s a way of life now, like breathing in the spring air or appreciating the beauty of a tree in full bloom. Tomorrow I leave for a writing retreat in Chester, Connecticut. The retreat is led by June Gould, a sensitive and generous facilitator; a teacher who cultivates writing as a vehicle to learning about ourselves and the craft. A small group of us will gather and share the connections brought forth through telling our stories.

This brings me to another reason I write, despite the unsuspected pitfalls and detours. There is an opportunity to connect and publish our stories in real and viral time. This week I received an email from Story Circle Network, reminding contributors to help get the word out about its anthology, a collection published on the group’s twentieth anniversary.









Story Circle Network’s anthology, Inside and Out: Women’s Truth, Women’s Stories is chock full of voices and stories, reflections and takes on a woman’s life.

As Story Circle Network founder, Susan Wittig Albert writes: "I rejoice in this collection, for they are the real, true stories of real women who write about the ordinary events of their ordinary lives.”

My story “The Wedding Dance” is part of this anthology. It begins: Our wedding reception was held at an old Victorian-style mansion with wrought-iron gates along Philadelphia’s Main Line. Many of you might recognize it as an excerpt from Again in a Heartbeat, which I wrote ten years ago.

What I also love about Inside and Out its cover. A partially opened door is featured, serving as invitation to enter … curl up and delve into those “ordinary lives.”

In the final analysis, only the writer can decide for herself how wide she wants to open that door ...  for herself  ... and, ultimately, her readers.


What pitfalls, detours and lessons has your writing journey entailed? Thoughts and comments welcomed.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Criticism and Confidence Along the Writer's Way





This past weekend I attended a story swap held at a small bookshop in Philadelphia. Few were in attendance as these things usually go, but swap stories we did.

I told a story about two single, older women talking over dinner. One woman kept her late husband’s ashes in a container in her office, hoarding them as a way to get even with his family who wanted them buried in the family plot. They had never shown her respect when he was alive, so why should she let them have the ashes? The other woman in the story listened, shared her own story of a mother-in-law who had never respected her and then the two women began talking about forgiveness and moving on.

I'm a writer who values the importance of feedback. "What did you think of my story?" I asked the small group.

A retired librarian, probably in her late 70s, said the story held little interest for her. “The subject of women living alone,” she said, “is of no use to me.” When I asked what sort of stories she did like, she said, "mostly, historical fiction."

The sole man in our group had little to offer in the way of feedback about my story, which translated into either a lack of interest or else an eagerness to get on with his own story about piloting a small plane for an animal rescue group and a seal spewing water on the cockpit. I found it interesting in itself, although the storytelling rambled and seemed to go nowhere in the end. We’ve all read those books where the story might have had potential but the writer lacks the skill to keep us turning the pages.

Another woman joined us late and shared her “fear of flying” story about a young stewardess on several unnerving flights, including one horrifying experience where seagulls flew into the engines over Long Island Sound and the plane almost went down. She spared no details and had a strong voice in the telling.

She had missed my story but when she heard what it was about, she immediately began telling stories of single women; women she knew in their fifties and sixties who prefer to stay in unhappy marriages, rather than striking out on their own. As for herself, she married late. “When people live as long as they do now, monogamy in marriage hardly seems feasible,” she added. She went on to say that she knew a woman who was sixty-two, alone after thirty years of marriage, who had been trying Internet dating for over a year. “She’s so discouraged she’s ready to give it up. She said it reminded her of endless job interviews. There are a lot of women alone out there.”

As Ray Bradbury once said, “Your intuition knows what to write so get out of the way.” The former flight stewardess offered reinforcement that writing about a topic I'll call "the woman alone" had relevance, even if not a story of Mary Queen of Scots. I left those stories behind in my teens. But one person's cup of tea is not another's.

I have never known a writer worth her salt who didn’t live in fear that what she wrote was simply no good. And there’s a whole lot of people out there who will tell you what you write is great so that they can get your publishing dollars. That aside …artists have always questioned the authenticity of their work and feared that it is merely a forgery of another writer’s genius. As Sylvia Plath once said, "The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt."

I think of May Sarton and Virginia Woolf.
I will never achieve those heights, yet feel as if they are mentors in the wings. I hear them whispering that they too suffered insecurity and lack of confidence. They received harsh criticism in their day. Sarton lamented for years being shut out of literary circles for memoirs about solitude and writing, which, unbelievably, were not considered of value. Woolf was heavily criticized by the male literary establishment for being too wealthy and too hysterical to be taken seriously.

Confidence, however, is one of those words glibly thrown out, as in, “Confidence is all it takes!” If it were that easy, there wouldn’t be whole books on the subject of how writers can cultivate and maintain self-confidence; or how to stay inspired. Inspiration is, of course, key to confidence in this solitary business we call writing. If you’re not inspired by your own story, how can you expect a reader to be? 

This weekend I'll be facilitating our Women's Writing Circle critique. A writing group breaks the isolation of writing and, hopefully, provides feedback of worth and value.

One final note: Accept criticism graciously. Rejection comes with the territory.

How about you? Can you share a story or technique that has helped you overcome self-doubt or do you let the criticism of others derail your work?

Monday, March 26, 2018

When Family Says, "Don't Write My Story"

A woman who knows me and has read my memoirs said: “I was moving from my house to my husband’s house and the box containing all my writing was thrown out. I even had ‘writing’ written on top of the carton and still it ended up in the trash,” she wailed. "These were my journals about my grandchildren which I planned someday to publish. I’m sick."

How many of us have lost our work through some terrible mishap? It happened to me and the feeling is indeed sickening. Could she reconstruct some of the stories and write them with a new eye, so to speak, I asked? Then, she added that when she read aloud one of the stories in her grandson’s elementary school class a few years back, her grandson ran into the bathroom and hid. “I don’t like that story at all. It’s a bad story,” her grandson said.

When I wrote memoir I had the joy of sharing my story of love and loss and moving on beyond grief. Yet just last week when I mentioned to my sons that many of their experiences as young men in the work and dating world offered material for new stories, they were appalled. “Don’t you dare. And, if anyone is going to write them, it should be me. They’re my stories,” my son said. He wasn’t kidding.

How do we decide if it's not worth writing family stories?

Although I would write the story differently than my son ─ Anais Nin comes to mind ─ “We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are” ─ it gives a writer pause. This is where fiction comes in ... after the memoir journey has been exhausted to the limits of what a writer feels she can give both personally and professionally.

We all know we draw from the stuff of life. To again quote Nin: “My ideas usually come not at my desk writing but in the midst of living.”



I saw a meme on the Internet this week: "We are told to write what we know. Write what obsesses you," it said. There is no shortage of people, places and events to write, but the pull of certain stories that can "obsess" the writer is undeniable.


It is a natural reaction not to want the privacy of your life shared in a public way. And I have written about breaking family myths, rising above the stereotypical and portraying real people in memoir, not black and white caricatures. I had it fairly easy when I wrote my memoirs. John and my parents were gone. The pull of fiction, the leeway it offers the writer to let loose and not be defeated by possible retribution or angst of family and friends is why writers have always transformed memories and life events into children's stories, YA novels, women's fiction.

I believe that woman when she told me she was saving those stories of her grandchildren as legacy pieces, family history to be published. Her intentions were honorable. But somehow, someway, they ended up lost to a trash bin.

Has family taken away or encouraged you to write? Comments and thoughts are welcome.

Monday, March 19, 2018

The Author's Dilemma: The Immorality of An Online World


As an author I’m constantly reminded of my dependence on Amazon and Facebook. My books are available through Amazon’s KDP Select. CreateSpace printed my trade paperbacks. Facebook keeps my friends and readers informed of these blog posts, my books, and my interests.

My sons, who grew up on the Internet, continually remind me we live in a digitalized world. They also enlighten me just how deep this goes; this from a generation who saw movies like The Matrix ―machines living off humans.

Controversy over Amazon “taking over the world” seems to have intensified. Comedians/social critics like Jimmy Kimmel comment on national television that “Amazon won’t be happy until every brick and mortar store is an abandoned warehouse teeming with raccoons”; this after Toys R Us went bankrupt.

Facebook and Twitter are responsible for rigging the 2016 election, allowing hackers and trolls to use propaganda through social media to elect Donald Trump president. Now we read that the Trump campaign harvested data about millions of Facebook users without their knowledge. Facebook changed the world and the world is angry. Privacy is invaded. “Facebook is evil,” wrote one New York Times commenter.

Still, I remain on Facebook and Twitter and sell my books through Amazon. I admit I find it de-energizing as an artist who understands (accepts?) the element of immorality that permeates a world online.

***
In a church pew, a woman, who is an acquaintance, turned to me and shared her story. “Maybe I just put off the grief, trying to stay busy, work a job. Today’s his birthday. He’s been gone twelve years, but I’m really a basket case today. It’s hit me all at once.”

Never being loved again … “never again being special” in someone’s eyes, as she was with her husband … she felt lost, she said. Alone.

I, too, spent so much time working, raising my children that I put off grief. And, like her, I feel no one will ever again love me the way he did. I wrote Again in a Heartbeat thirteen years after John’s death.

I shared this with her. I also shared my feeling of how lucky we were to have found true love once. Some never do. This is why I wrote my memoirs, I said. This connection with others going through a similar journey, as well as writing as a way of healing and finding closure are things you just can’t put a price. You’re not alone.

***
When I was married and the kids were small, I loved going to the mall, my time alone, shopping for that new blouse, getting out of the house. I still love going to the mall. The woman at the Macy’s Estee Lauder cosmetics counter knows me. Over the years, we’ve talked about our lives. She asks about my latest trip. She tells me she and her husband take a place in Ocean City, New Jersey every June. Sometimes, they stay at the Flanders Hotel, which is where John and I spent our honeymoon, I tell her.

These small encounters are important in a day which might, otherwise, be void of personal interaction. Will Amazon put Macy’s out of business? It’s just a matter of time and it saddens me. I feel I'm losing a world I once knew to that dystopian reality of The Matrix.

The days of bookstores as the prime avenue to sell your work are gone. Bookstores sealed their fate when they insulated themselves, tied to “profits” of traditional publishing. I've written about this before. Over eight years ago, I chose the independent publishing route. I saw Amazon reaching readers; offering hope that my books, unknown author that I was, might connect with an audience ... either that or my work would never reach readers.

With one new book published on Amazon every five minutes … or about 1.1 million new eBooks and 365,000 print books published a year, I’d like to say if you write great stuff, your work will stand out. As we drown in the cacophony of social media and Amazon publishing, it’s doubtful. People use and chose the ease of shopping online, the hope of going viral.

Yesterday when I spoke to another widow in church I remembered why I write and give interviews about writing and post to Facebook and Twitter ... why I sell myself and my books online. If one positive relationship or conversation comes out of it; one blog post on Facebook sparks community or a new relationship, then so be it. It’s worth it. Or, at least, that’s what I’ll keep reminding myself.

How do you feel about Amazon and Facebook and an online world? Please share your thoughts and comments.

Monday, March 12, 2018

A Writer's Practice: Finding Time and Space to Write


At our January gathering of the Women’s Writing Circle we talked about creating a safe writing space. Then, at our March read around a woman shared that the conversation spurred action. She began clearing out her home office to create a new writing space.

The task felt daunting. “What should I keep, what should I donate?”

A “collection of remembrances” … a flamingo feather; twenty years of programs facilitated and sermons preached. Keep this, toss that. The desire for a new beginning. A new world unfolding in the retrospective of life’s rearview mirror. “I want a space for reverie,” she wrote. The office becomes "a container," a metaphor of one woman's life journey.

It is in this sense that writing moves us forward. We “clean house” and discover ourselves along the way.

***

Leaving behind a sudden snowstorm that dumped six inches on Chester County, I boarded a plane for Denver with a connection to Tucson. The economy ticket meant no overhead bin space. No laptop. Can you imagine?

Each morning I wrote in an apartment I rented through HomeAway. Artificial orange flames from a small electric fireplace warmed the modestly-decorated living room. A window afforded a glimpse of the Catalinas. No Netflix, no laptop, just a pen and a notebook ... a space for reverie.

I had packed a novel, Factotum, by Charles Bukowski. A keen observer of human quirks, his own included, this is one man telling his life story as he works a variety of jobs. A simple "container" for  the story, the structure built around one theme of changing jobs. His characters reveal themselves primarily through dialogue.

I met with friends in Tucson I hadn't seen in two years. Over lunches, dinner, wine, we shared life experiences.


She talked about other men; a first husband. “The most dysfunctional man in the room and I’d make a beeline to him trying to fix him. I treated them well, too. For my efforts, I’ve been abused. Slapped around.”

Annie and I got into it thenforgiveness, love, how nice it would be to share again with a man, a partner who understood us, offered intellectual stimulation, a soak in a hot tub talking about politics, love and life. Fantasyland at our age. It felt like a billion years since I lathered Jay with soap in the shower, my hands running down his firm stomach to his thighs where the dark hair caught in swirls in the hot water.

***

“I’ve written stuff on Kleenex boxes,” one woman said in the Women’s Writing Circle.

“I find an hour to write … and I’m motivated by my writing partner,” another said.

For still another, retirement beckons in four months. She feels joy at jettisoning the two-hour commute and concentrating on her writing.

As Louise DeSalvo says in Writing as a Way of Healing, Writing is cheap. Writing doesn’t need to take much time. We can write during tiny pockets of time throughout our day if that’s all we have … we can continue to "reap the benefits of writing while we keep at it fairly frequently."

Like any "practice," we keep "cleaning house," finding that space and that time to write while remaining open to discovery along the way.




Monday, March 5, 2018

On Writing a Memoir: Brave or Brazen?

For those of us who have written memoir, we know it's a pretty wild ride from beginning to end. Whose name to change? Whose permission to seek? How much do we reveal, not just about others, but ourselves?

In this essay, Anne Becker discusses writing a memoir and the ramifications of going public. Is memoir brave or brazen? Please welcome Anne to the Women's Writing Circle.

Footnote: Anne and I have more in common than writing and publishing memoir. We both have experienced Women Writing for (a) Change, the Cincinnati-based community of writers. It was there that I first sat in a circle of women and read aloud what would become my memoir Again in a Heartbeat. Women Writing for (a) Change was also the catalyst for the Women's Writing Circle.

***

When I first held my published memoir in my hands in late 2014, I noticed how small it was. Infinitely smaller than my three babies at birth, and without their prospect for growth. I couldn't make the connection between this minuscule papoose and the twenty long years it had taken to bring forth Ollie Ollie In Come Free.

Having survived a whole array of altered states since publication, I now see that my initial sense of disconnect was utterly on-the-mark. There was no way this modest creation could in itself be responsible for all my dizzying flashes of both abject shame and expanded consciousness. No, only an explosive energy event could have created such a strong electric current.

My memoir was born out of the tension between two opposing energies. To feel or not to feel. To reveal or not to reveal.

One such energy was passed on to me with great love by my parents and grandparents. The very ground on which my family walks is marked by a horror of too much personal revelation or emotional "gushing." It has given rise to inviolable rules. As my child narrator muses, "Where these rules come from, I have no idea."


The opposing energy, expressive and open, unrelentingly beckons me. But what a struggle to embrace it! Over the years, when I’ve encountered such a spirit in groups, I’ve become immediately cautious. If people grow too effusive, I retreat inward into a safe but lonely space.

I recognized the expansive energy in the writing group I joined in the mid 1990's, Women Writing for (a) Change. I was just finishing up seven years in psychoanalysis, exploring the emotions I had kept under lock and key as a young girl. The circle of women helped me to capture in my child’s voice my buried grief over the early losses of an older brother and sister, and to gradually shape my vignettes into a memoir.

Years later, after my mother died, I readied my book for self-publication. By that time the writing circles had been crowded out of my life by other activities. I doggedly set about executing this monumental act of courage "all by my own self," as I used to declare when I was a little girl. Unfortunately I quickly learned how easy it was to be sucked back into the old, familiar energy field.

For many months after publication, a voice inside my head kept booming, "How can you be so brazen?" A huge part of me was ashamed and appalled by what I had done.

Theo Pauline Nestor writes in her memoir Writing Is My Drink, "While memoirists might get portrayed as the brashest sort of exhibitionists ...braggarts overeager to share their most intimate secrets -- I've come to believe that's really not the case. Some -- perhaps most--of us are, in fact, drawn to memoir because ...we've never been sure how to come clean about who we are..."

I know that my own life-long shyness was both the reason I needed to write an intimate portrayal of my girlhood, and the catalyst for the internal backlash. But my penchant for secrecy did not get healed by publishing the story of my penchant for secrecy.

Much to my consternation, my book turned into a wild thing, interacting unpredictably with other living creatures, its readers. For those who were shame-based like me, my hard-won honesty made them prickle. Those who were nostalgic for the fifties and sixties found my narrative a fun trip down memory lane. For ex-Catholics my story confirmed their decision to leave the Church. Those who valued religion were sure that it had pulled me through. Those who had grappled with tragedies in their own families either froze up or wept. And friends who were very private suggested to me euphemistically that my memoir was "brave." I interpreted this remark as: “What the hell were you thinking?"

I got tossed around endlessly in other people's energy fields. Writer's remorse opened the floodgates to all the scruples that I thought I had left behind. All the questions I'd stopped asking lest I lose the nerve to publish now teased me mercilessly: "What are the rules for writing a memoir? How much self-disclosure is allowable? Whose permission does one obtain ahead of time? Which names does one change?” There was no consensus around the answers, since, like readers’ responses to my book, they depended entirely on one's field of reference.

The expanded vista that had opened up for me as I’d written my memoir often felt like a mirage. In moments of clarity, of course, my sense of calling buoyed me up. I knew I had done exactly what my soul needed to do. The act of publishing, horrifying as it was, was exhilarating. Yet how to make my home in that transcendent shame-shattering reality?

After a couple of years, I found my way back by some grace into the writing community that had midwifed my memoir. And my soul breathed a startled sigh of relief. How had I lost sight of the need to participate in such a community? Through re-immersion in women’s writing circles, I have come to understand that my life as an author only thrives amidst the air and light evoked by the medieval mystic Rumi: “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there.”

Please share your thoughts here. Has writing your memoir felt brave or brazen?



Anne Bernard Becker works as a learning specialist and facilitates workshops that blend her interests in history and psychology to examine the impact of inherited trauma on families. Her essays and memoirs are informed by insights from psychoanalysis, family systems work, parenting under challenging circumstances and her spiritual practice. She enjoys exploring the intriguing responses of the human heart to movements within the family and society. Anne studied at Indiana University (B.A. in French), the University of Pennsylvania (M.A. in French) and Fordham University (M.A. in Religious Education). Anne lives in Cincinnati, OH with her husband Gerry and is the mother of three adult children. Her website is: www.annebernardbecker.com

Monday, February 12, 2018

Musings of a Memoir Writer: Memoir or Autofiction?



Is memoir truly a memoir if not everything in the story actually happened? Does the memoir writer have the leeway to use invention in storytelling? And, if we do, is autofiction, a genre term used to describe fictionalized autobiography, more accurate?

In this post, Diane Pomerantz, author of Lost in the Reflecting Pool, poses questions about accuracy, fact versus fiction and the use of literary techniques in memoir.

As a teacher, writer and editor of memoir, I know every writer of the genre has at one time or another asked the questions Diane discusses in this post. Please welcome Diane to the Women’s Writing Circle.

***
From the first draft of Lost in the Reflecting Pool I struggled with whether this story should be presented as a memoir or a work of fiction. Not only was I concerned with protecting the people I was writing about, particularly my children, but I also worried about legal liability issues and my privacy as a professional in the community.

I’m a storyteller and I love stories, listening to and telling them. Childhood memories of stories grounded me and made the earth solid beneath my feet.

I’m a psychologist and through my work I’ve learned that through personal stories we touch the emotional core of others.
In my professional life, I’ve seen precisely what I experienced as a child. I knew that if I wanted my story to be meaningful to others, no matter what I called it, fiction or memoir, it needed to read like a story.

I read countless memoirs, and as I put pen to paper, another belief I had became stronger. Once a writer puts her words out into the world it is never again just the writer’s story. The story is forever transformed by every reader. No matter what the writer has written, the words are always seen through the lens of the reader and thus it becomes a translated story.


The writer sets out a canvas upon which the reader can project whatever emotions or issues he or she needs to derive meaning. The work no longer belongs to the author; the author bequests it to the reader to do with it what he or she needs to do for personal meaning. The writing is for the author, the finished work is for the reader.

As I wrote I did decide I must take full ownership of my story and thus I made it a memoir.
I put aside notions of using a pseudonym and only changed details to protect privacy. My writing style though remained the same.

The question about my choice of genre came up again, several months after my book’s publication. I was in a Facebook memoir writing group when someone posed the question, “When writing a memoir, how far from actual events can you stray before it turns to a work of fiction?” I made several comments in the discussion. I commented on several of the changes I had made in order to be more “factual.” All was well until I then commented on an instance of my storytelling technique where I had introduced a kitten running in front of my car as a way to introduce a memory. The scene I described from my memoir was this:

I made my way down the winding road, passing a beagle farm and a small sign marking the entrance to a vineyard. A black kitten ran across the road, and I had to make a sudden stop. The kitten sparked a memory of one of the other things that Charles had shared as we’d spoken on the phone earlier in the week.

“I guess I was a mischievous little kid. When I was about three, I found a little black
kitten. I put him down the sewer because I wanted to see if he could get out.”

“What happened to him?” I asked.

“I don’t know.”

Didn’t he think to get some help? I asked myself, feeling a fleeting twisting in my gut.

I rounded another bend, passed a red barn, and saw the 1890s fieldstone house that
Charles had described. That unpleasant feeling in my gut gave way to excited anticipation and to readjusting my blinders as I saw Charles wave from the porch. 

Everything important here is factual, except that black kitten who ran in front of the car. I used that as a literary technique.

“If you made up the kitten it is not a memoir, it is fiction.” The response was intense, immediate and unanimous. I was astonished that no one was even willing to consider discussion. This was an irrelevant detail. The important event was the memory of the kitten being placed in the sewer. It was important because I start my memoir with another horrible incident committed against a cat. This response to an irrelevant detail made and continues to make no sense to me. In fact, for me it negates my understanding of what the genre of memoir is about. Memoir writing is more than presenting facts. That would be autobiography. Memoir writing encompasses self-reflection. It also provides a meaningful message for readers. Therefore, an irrelevant detail used to tie the real events together, continues to be an irrelevant detail.

Perhaps had I been aware of the genre called autofiction, a term coined by Sergio Doubrovsky in 1977 and associated with contemporary French writers, I might have considered that my writing fell more accurately into that category.

The French novelist and literature scholar, Catherine Cusset (2012) writes that autofiction differs from memoir. She states that, “A memoir tells the reader what happened. The writing is usually clear, simple, factual, and descriptive.” Autofiction, on the other hand, brings the reader inside what happened. It is the active way language is used that is different. Her words mirrored my intent when she wrote, “The author of autofiction actually doesn’t address the readers, but seduces them with language.” Having the kitten trigger the memory was a way I was attempting to lure the reader further into the story, I was seducing him.

It was this that I wanted to do …write the real events in an experiential way so that readers could derive their own meaning. With that in mind, perhaps the label or genre was really inconsequential.

What do you think? Is a memoir truly a memoir if not everything in the story actually happened? Does the writer of memoir have the leeway to use invention in storytelling?


Dr. Diane Pomerantz is a clinical psychologist who has been in practice working with children, adolescents and adults in the Baltimore, Maryland area for over 35 years. She has done extensive work in the area of trauma and child abuse and research in the area of personality development of abused children. She currently runs Healing Through Writing groups in her practice. Writing has always been part of her personal and professional life, but Lost in the Reflecting Pool: a memoir is her first non-professional published work. She is a breast cancer survivor and she has two wonderful grown children. She and her shaggy dog, Rug, live amidst tall trees on the outskirts of Baltimore, Maryland.