She’s Out Late: One Story, One Slice

pieslice

It was the hardest thing I had to learn.

That a memoir is not linear in a this- happened-and-then-that-happened sort of way. But with the help of a brilliant editor, I was able to extract the story, the one story I wanted to tell, from all the mish-mash that is my life.

Writing a first memoir can be tough because you tend to want to include everything. So you must constantly search for your story—and stay true to that one story until you get to the end.

You learn to meticulously, ruthlessly, toss out any detail that does not illustrate or illuminate this one story.

Because a memoir is just one slice of your life.

And each slice is different. Each tells a unique story.

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Summer Book Review: ‘I Am Malala’

I am Malala

Last week a Facebook friend posted a quote about procrastination. She said:

The work you do while you procrastinate is probably the work you should be doing for the rest of your life.

This leads me to believe that I should be either an eater of chocolate, a librarian, or a full-time reader of books.

I adore books.

All books.

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Just Pick Up the Pen

childwriting-1

Pick up the pen.
Just pick up the damn thing and write.
Write about everything.
Write about nothing at all (it worked for Seinfeld).

Write about what chills you to the bone.
About what breaks your heart.
About what makes you laugh out loud.
About regrets (are they still keeping that interpreter position at the United Nations open for me?)

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‘He felt too much perhaps?’

crying baby

I told myself I would not jump on the “What can we learn about life (or business or blogging or whatever other crazy thing) from Robin Williams?” bandwagon. That’s crass and gross and manipulative, to reduce his amazing life to a 5-step, self-promotional, how-to blog post.

And yet I am devastated, as many of you probably are, by the realization that this gentle, sensitive, creative genius will not be making us laugh in real time anymore.

But I also know that some of the best comedic actors of this generation—and past ones—came from a place of deep pain and sadness. It was what made them so good at connecting with us. They understood that whole range of emotions because, though they masked it well, they felt them every single day.

Jonathan Winters, who happened to be Williams’ idol and mentor, suffered from years of severe depression, as did John Cleese in the early 1970s. Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin and Peter Sellers were frequently depressed. Jim Carrey was treated for depression off and on for years. Owen Wilson, Richard Pryor and Drew Carey all attempted suicide.

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