My grandmother Susan “SuSu” Karr rocked the 1920s and beyond!

What would you do if you woke up with no memory of your past at all? We have so many more great opportunities to record our past today. I’m so grateful that writing and publishing a memoir is accessible to everybody.

I only wish my Grandmother (Susan “SuSu” Fitch Karr) would have left more than reminiscences of her legacy for those of us still here. While she was an amazing woman wrapped up with layers and layers of brave stories, she was also human with plenty of frailties.

Good memoir writing, just like any good writing, needn’t ever protect the reader (or the writer’s offspring) from the REALNESS of life.

As Dorothy Allison says, “Write where the fear is, where the heat is.” What might make us cringe upon remembering it, makes a great point of entry for the memoir writer. Like a skittish, stray kitten finds warm shelter, even if it means huddling underneath a two-ton automobile, readers will go where powerful memoirists lead them.

Jennifer Manlowe and Susan Fitch Karr (1972)

There are few things worse than preachy, high-horse “recollecting” — a memoir modality that I encourage my clients to resist like salmonella. What is inspiring about a good memoir, to me, is when the writer remains emotionally honest, never pedantic.

Like Judith Barrington says, “The memoirist whispers into the ear of the reader.” As a reader, I prefer discovering what is important rather than being told so by the author.

Be sure to schedule a 15-minute complimentary book coaching session via email:  If we begin working together, my eBook—Writing From Life: A Wise Guide to Publishing Your Memoirs—will be yours as part of the coaching package.


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