Category: memoir


Food for the Hungry Writer is a series of informative essays by Jack Remick and Robert J. Ray (© 2012) discussing Story, Memoir & Journal, and the Power of Writing Practice (as discussed in Natalie Goldberg’s book Writing Down The Bones.) and other topics as they are developed.

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Susan Canavarro~Guest Writer

Susan Canavarro is an artist living in Florence, Oregon. Her memoir, “Fragments: Growing Up Bohemian Poor in Dementia’s House”, is available in e-book and paperback. This is her first Guest Writer appearance on our blog. I write memoir fragments. Following a few of Robert and Jack’s writing techniques, I am working on getting rid of the passive voice, replacing weak verbs with strong, using concrete nouns, shucking armored prose, and looking for metaphor. Eliminating the passive voice requires taking ownership of my thoughts and feelings and imagery. My ah-ha moment: taking ownership is scary. Taking ownership means I must stop being the victim. Taking ownership leads me to truths about myself like: I’m afraid to express myself with certainty because I am afraid of being wrong or stupid. So I hedge all writing, all painting, all thoughts using my passive voice. The passive voice is a great tool if you want to create a character like me in your novel. But I want to be strong, so out it goes! Shucking armored prose is also about taking ownership. Don’t fill up the page with abstract nouns and weak verbs like, my favorite, I’ve been thinking, or I would have thought…and for god’s sake, stop with all those adverbs! I can’t always avoid armored prose, but I’m learning not to love it. In writing The Auto/Body Connection I explored the...

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Notes from the Troglodytes to a Memoirist

Original Message—a writer who was frustrated with the process—writing in longhand for 30 minutes, then typing it into the computer—wrote us this note. The text is about saving time. The subtext questions the process and hints about getting a medal for sitting down and writing for 30 minutes. Buried in the subtext is a shout: What do I get out of it? We reprinted the message, followed by an answer. From: Student Memoir Writer To: Jack Remick; Robert Ray Subject: hand writing then retyping It takes me the same amount of time to retype handwritten stuff into the computer as it takes me to hand write in the first place.  Or even longer.  And it is less fun.  Slows me down.  How do you guys deal with that?  How much do you manage to write daily?  Do you retype everything that you write by hand into the computer? Thanks, Student Memoir Writer Dear Student Memoir Writer: Time isn’t the big thing in writing. Depth is. We encourage writers to write by hand because the action connects them to the body. What, you ask, doesn’t the computer connect you to the body too? The computer connects your eyes to the screen. It connects your fingers to the keyboard. It gives you a feeling of power and control. But look at the apparatus for writing on a computer— screen, keyboard, software,...

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notes from “Food for the Hungry Writer”

Some Notes on Memoir from “Food for the Hungry Writer” ©2011 by Jack Remick and Robert J Ray.   Not since the 18th Century have we seen anything like the flowering of memoir writing in our time. Is the hunger for memoir symptomatic of the Politics of the Individual? or are readers, fed up with fiction, turning to the trials and triumphs of real people for inspiration and validation? Accompanying the flood of memoirs is the journal, a personal kind of writing without form, without structure, without, necessarily, style. The memoir isn’t a novel yet it travels beyond journal. It has structure and form, it has inhabitants and villains, it has suspense and mystery as well as delicate, intimate, exploratory writing. History of timed writing. Automatic writing comes  from the Surrealists.  Robert Desnos taught the surrealists to write the waking dream; Jack Kerouac and the Beats loved automatic writing, blowing deep as outlined in Kerouac’s Twenty-One principles of Automatic Writing; Natalie Goldberg adapted automatic writing into Writing Practice when she put a timer on it.  In Taos, generations of writers learned timed writing, which leads to memoir. Natalie’s favorite line: I remember…. and its counter: I don’t remember…. First Rule: Always open up: let your hand guide your memory. It is in you, you have to get to it. Structure of timed writing: Write until the timer stops. Why? Writers have...

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How to Read a Memoir Before You Write One

How to Read A Memoir Before You Write One © 2011 By Robert J Ray and Jack Remick Writing a memoir is writing about yourself. Writing about who you were back when. When you write a memoir, you focus on your quirks and fears, your betrayals, your emotions, your personal victimhood. To get started click here: How to Read a Memoir—Getting Started Share this:TweetShare on TumblrEmailLike this:Like...

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©2010-2017 Jack Remick, Robert J. Ray. All rights Reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, including text and images, without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Short excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jack Remick and Robert J. Ray and "Bob and Jacks Writing Blog" with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.