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« Your Great Questions Continued | Main | New: UCLA Extension Writers’ Program Website! »


Coralie Cederna Johnson

Thanks for writing this excellent piece on memoirs. I am always so excited to find new information on a subject that is dear to my heart and one that I myself write about. I have my second book of memoirs coming out in three weeks, “A Tree Grows in Trout Creek,” a collections of stories about my growing up years in the isolated Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Living through a health crisis as you have really makes your personal stories even more precious. Thank you for sharing! Writing my life stories has been one of the healthiest things I have ever done for myself.


Coralie - Thanks so much for your comments. Good luck with your memoir. Is it available through Amazon?


On the issue of truth in memoir - I refer to Judy Blount's book, "Breaking Out." She says that her father in law took an ax to her typewriter. He said that it wasn't true and that she "has a vivid imagination." When asked about it, she said that the emotions were true even if she dramatized the scene (in reality, I think that he pulled the plug out). I guess that the test of truth is: is it emotionally true? After all you don't want to put the reader to sleep and if you take a little bit of liberty with the facts in order to make it a better read without downright lying or hurting someone unmercifully what is the problem? I know this is tricky _ James Frey and others -- but he just got a huge advance on his next book. I can't remember whether he characterizes it as a novel? And there is the wonderful quote that says, "All fiction is autobiographical and all autobiography is fiction." So in the end the real question is is it great writing? Don't know if that helps. Loren Stephens

Coralie Cederna Johnson

Hi again! My new book "A Tree Grows in Trout Creek" is available from my website at www.wildwoodpress.org or can be ordered from:
Wildwood Press
PO Box 980616
Ypsilanti, MI 48198

We have not connected with Amazon since the orders are going well without the extra help. I probably should check that out in future though. Thanks for asking!


Loren - A huge discussion! I personally believe it's a writer's job to make the truth - what really happened - riveting. Judy Blount was trying to make a metaphor out of that ax and typewriter - and made some readers angry. A subject of another post!

Coralie - Amazon is so huge - the good and the bad. But it sure makes it easy for readers to learn about your book. I'll check out Wildwood Press and maybe readers of this blog will do the same.


PS - Loren, IF the writer is writing non-fiction. Fiction is a whole other matter.

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