I hear it often. Wanting to write your own memoir, or life story, but not sure where to start. Here's a tip. Instead of staring at the blank page, wondering where to start, and feeling overwhelmed, why not start writing a personal profile -- an overview of your story in 1000 to 3000 words. And if you can't write it yourself, get someone to write it, or help you write the piece. It's amazing what emerges -- a spark, ideas, a theme, a voice, structure, or even style or tone. I've been collaborating with a couple of business women lately, and it's worked for both of them, even though the story each of them wants to tell is about much more than their respective businesses. Happy writing. Michele Text and image copyright Michele Gierck www.michelegierck.com.au
If you enjoy reading memoirs, or if you are learning all you can about them, (perhaps even threatening to write one), this is a book you'll want to make sure you get your hands on. I've just finished it for the first time. Feel like I need to read it again, because I was so delighted with the story and the way it was written, the way words and images melded into amazing descriptions, that I charged through it. One of Mary's lines at the end of the book says a lot about the effect this first memoir of hers has had on readers. 'Reading Liars' Club seemed to crowbar open something in people.' I can totally understand why.
Once in a while, if you are really lucky, you come across a picture book that is so beautifully researched and written that your heart begins to sing as you read. I was totally drawn into LOOK UP WITH ME Neil deGrasse Tysone: A Life Among the Stars (words by Jennifer Berne), that I feel compelled to let the world know about it. (The illustrations are by Lorraine Nam.) If you are grown-up, or yet to grow up, and have ever looked up at the stars, or would love to, see if you can get your hands on a copy of this book. The Introduction by Neil, and the Author's Note by Jennifer are fabulous bookends to the story.
Dear Friends, Readers, Community, Here's a quote for the day that someone I've never met was kind enough to send me. Necessity is the mother of invention. In these challenging times get creative! Creativity and curiosity are great gifts to have, especially now. They help us stay upbeat. Friends have been sending me links to useful online sites. No point keeping them to myself, so here they are. For some relaxing yoga -- as good for the mind as the body -- check out this online session. If you're up for a free short course, you might like to have a look at the broad selection on offer at Future Learn, from screen writing to health and history. Feel free to contact me via the contact page on my website if you have ideas or comments. Photo and text copyright Michele Gierck
I'm just about to send the first few chapters of my latest non-fiction book to my agent who loved the earlier draft. All I need is a title. If you can think of one, I'd sure appreciate hearing from you. Just drop a line via the contact page of my website: www.michelegierck.com.au About the manuscript It's a post-injury come-back tale in which the bush, the ocean, a bloke (a fellow) and travel all play their part. Here's the pitch. When Michele, a broken down sojourner, meets Mac, a dedicated river scientist, she is drawn into his orbit, the gravity of which propels her onto an uncharted trajectory. And yes folks, it's a true story! If you'd like to know more about this book, including the title that we choose or publication date, just sign up to the newsletter on my website. Image and text copyright Michele Gierck
We all have our stories. But so often our stories are not heard. And if not written down, at least in Western culture, they are often forgotten. I was reminded of this during an early morning visit to the local pool. (I've been swimming at the same pool for nine years.) Today, instead of laps I was walking up and down in the aqua play area, and so was a retired fellow called Joe. We always say hello to each other, but this morning, since we were walking at the same pace, we started chatting. And before I knew it, I was listening to an amazing story. In ten minutes I learnt that Joe was from Italy and had migrated to Australia as a 24 or 25 year old. Married to a woman from his own village, and determined to support his family and have a life, once in Australia, Joe worked in the textile industry -- 7 days a week! And he worked hard. Truth be known, Joe had always worked hard. His parents died when he was seven years old, and his 16-year-old sister -- who had one leg amputated -- had brought up Joe and his younger brother. By nine years of age, Joe was accustomed to walking 35 kilometres to the nearest town to sell goods, and then 35 kilometres back home. All in the one day! And I can just imagine the condition of his shoes. By nine years of age, Joe had become the man of the house. Now a grandfather, when I suggested that Joe write his story, so his kids and grandkids could understand the sheer guts and determination that is part of their family roots, and their DNA, he confided that he'd learnt to read, but not to write. And that got me thinking. (I can't help it. I am a memoir writer, having written two of my own memoirs, and quite a number for other people. I'm always thinking about life stories.) What would be the best way for someone who is not able to write in their second language to record their story? It's an important question because Joe is one of the many many people whose story is so worthy of being on the public record -- not just for the public, but for his own family, and for generations to come. Image and text © Michele Gierck
This is such a stunning book: so insightful about the meaning and purpose of our lives, so beautifully written, and incredibly honest. Basically it's bloody fabulous (as we would say in Australian parlance). And so sad when the 37-year-old author, a neurosurgeon and scientist, dies. It's an absolute must-read, especially for anyone facing their own mortality, (that's all of us isn't it?) and for those who surround and love them. An inspiring story that will live on long after the last page is read. Long live the memory of Paul Kalanithi. Que Viva! After my latest book, Fraying: Mum, memory loss, the medical maze and me, was published, I was often asked to speak about end of life. Fraying was written from the perspective of a daughter, with no medical qualifications; a daughter struggling with the medical maze and the decisions to be made. When Breath Becomes Air is from a medical professional's perspective, one who becomes the patient. The questions Paul and his wife, Lucy Kalanithi, must face, and dare to ask, are confronting. But they are also, in essence, questions about what it means to be human, and at what point living becomes too much of a burden. This book is a precious gift to readers. Michele's website: www.michelegierck.com.au
It's great getting reader responses to Fraying. So many people whose parents have had dementia have written to me, and I find their stories so moving. Here's a few lines received this week. 'I purchased a copy of Fraying and I simply couldn't put it down. It was like I was reading my own life experiences with my mother... Thank you so much for writing this story for me too. It will remain a most treasured book on my bookshelf and shared with others.' All I can say is thank you, thank you to readers. The more we share our stories, the richer the community. Stories, after all, are our treasures. Michele Gierck Author/Freelance Writer/Speaker
How fab, having Alzheimer's Australia VIC endorse my latest book, Fraying: Mum, memory loss, the medical maze and me, as a good read. Underneath this endorsement Carers Victoria commented: 'It is great. We are looking at having Michele speak with carers during National Carers Week in October. Very insightful and honest.' As the author, I am delighted by this positive response. (And all the likes.) Great to see that news about the book is spreading. Refer Facebook page: Alzheimer's Australia VIC, 25 June, 2015
How good it is to find your special spot. A place to relax, to calm, to be. A place to listen, to be drawn into the moment. (No phones, ipads or laptops here!) There's been quite a bit of media and a number of talks given since the release of my latest book, Fraying: Mum, memory loss, the medical maze and me, in March. Now, it's time to get back to basics, create a calm space ... and write. Yes, all the talks and interviews are enjoyable, but at heart the joy of writing is one that for me cannot be quelled. If I don't write, I feel a part of myself is missing. For those interested, I will be back speaking again in September, during Dementia Awareness Month. More details soon.