Monday, February 14, 2011

Wrestling with Writing about Living People

Photo: Google Images

SPECIAL TREAT: Today's blog post is written by Sarah E. White,  fellow life story blogger, teacher, and author of Write Your Travel Memoirs: 5 steps to transform your travel experiences into compelling essays.  Whether you are an experienced or novice writer, whether you plan to write a travel memoir or not, Sarah's book is full of concise, clear, concrete how-to. She is also a member of Association of Personal Historians a wonderful resource for life story writers. Find her blog at

Below Sarah's post I have put up a Writing Prompt for you and, of course, the CHOCOLATE INKWELL.

Sarah and I are exchanging blog posts this week so you can find my words, It's Okay to Point, on her blog. 
Wrestling with Writing about Living People

- Sarah White

I started a blog to give myself a way to stay engaged with memoir during the times when I don’t have a class in session. There’s something missing in my life—I feel it like the absence of a loved one—when I’m not engaged in teaching and learning about life writing. So January 1, 2011, I launched my blog, “True Stories Well Told.”

It’s a place for people who read and write about real life. I’ve been publishing writing by some of my memoir students, writing prompts, book reviews, workshop tips, and of course some of my own memoir essays. The blog is fulfilling its purpose—it’s satisfying that feeling of absence in my life when I’m not teaching. Choosing stories from my own memoir to post is giving me new enthusiasm for writing about my life. In many ways, blogging is addictive.

But a problem has surfaced.

I’ve found I can’t post anything I wouldn’t want my mother to read! I haven’t even told her about the blog, but already I feel her looking over my shoulder, reading what I write. And it’s inhibiting me.

So far, I’ve stayed with posting my modest little childhood memories, to avoid dealing with whether I’m ready to go public with the stories that get darker as I get older. But soon I’ll have to decide. Hide parts of myself or accept the consequences of revealing them?

Carol, what’s your advice?
Sarah, I have advice -- did you ever doubt it? I'll post it next week.


I wouldn't want my mother to . . .  We're all adults here, right? Still, we have ideas of what our mothers "should" do. In a recent response to an e-mail joke I had sent, my Young Advisor replied, "I'm surprised a nice little lady like you knows what that means."  Had a moment there when I didn't know whether to feel ashamed of myself or amused at her. Settled on both. So -- what restrictions do you mentally impose on your particular mother -- or mothers in general? What is a mother to do? Who is a mother to be?


There is still time to whip up a healthful, low-fat chocolate Valentine's Day treat if you use this recipe from Three ingredients. Go for four ingredients and slap some Dove heart-shaped chocolates or cinnamon candies on top. No frosting necessary. Recipe notes say this produces a velvety brownie-cake hybrid.

One 18.25 oz. box moist-style devil's food (or other) cake mix (such as Betty Crocker super moist)
1 cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt
1 cup water.

Preheat oven. Combine cake mix and yogurt in large bowl and add 1 cup water. Whisk thoroughly and transfer to a baking pan sprayed with nonstick spray. Bake until knife inserted into center comes out clean. (Refer to cake mix box for pan size and appropriate bake time.)

Find more Writing Tips, Writing Prompts, Resources, and Life Story Writing helps at

Ordering information for the workbook I wrote especially for you can be found at Write Your Life Story in Eight Weeks Workbook.

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All rights reserved, 2011. Carol Newman, There's An Angel In Your Inkwell®