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Telling Your Truth Through Writing - A Conversation

Lesson 7 of 7

Share Your Truth

 

Telling Your Truth Through Writing - A Conversation

Lesson 7 of 7

Share Your Truth

 

Lesson Info

Share Your Truth

look at That s that That question your starred? Take a few minutes and right 3 to 5 sentences about that incident or character trait or what it iss. Nobody has to look at it. But you we're going to give you Yeah, a couple minutes. A couple minutes you were talking about, you know, telling a story that are telling something that you regretted later. Um, what you mean you mentioned boot boy? Has there been anything else that you've really regretted about writing in this book? Now, this hasn't even come out yet and maybe are fearful of the story that you told or something in the past, Not not in this book, because in this book, you know you don't regret happens in the future. I haven't go in this and coming out. I'm sure I'll regret something about this book that it hasn't quite happened yet. Um, I have regrets about, uh the way I wrote about a certain number. I feel like I could have written with a little more subtlety about my mom in a bad mother. My mom was a very early feminist, like,...

you know, it was in the seventies feminist movement and she, you know, had, like, encounter groups and all that, and she was a real role model. But when I wrote Bad Mother, I was feeling pretty betrayed by 19 seventies feminism. I was feeling like you told me I could have everything and it turns out I can't and, you know, screw you for deluding me and for making me feel like, um, like I didn't have to make any sacrifices Time Children. And I think that a little bit of that comes through and Bad mother like I basically my mother's big joke is like, you know, it's all my fault, all my fault. So I feel like there's, you know, with the benefit of off time, I if I were to rewrite that book, I would write with more subtlety and more compassion about that. I think I think it's always I mean, writing from a place of compassion is really important when you're writing memoir because, um, because you are revealing things right, you know? And like I said just now, revenge is a terrible, terrible motivator for memoir, and you, as a rate of your obligation, is to have compassion for all your characters. and in memoir, the characters are not just you. The characters are all the people in the book. So you have to have compassion for everybody, even the most awful people. I mean, the best memoirists, right? With compassion, even about their abusers. Very so I think that's important. Do you ever have conversations with the people that you're writing about all beforehand? I always dio I always like, you know, that there is a chapter in here about my mom and I showed a tour and I read a tour and I asked her if it was okay to write if they shot and she had some notes. And, you know, I made some changes and the same thing with my father. Nowadays, I give my kids veto power. I didn't when they were young, and I actually regret that, so I give them veto power. I hate reading anything that we write either me or my husband. I mean, one of my daughters is a writer, and she doesn't read our work, which is actually kind of traumatic. All our friends have read us, Um, but, uh, I force them to look at things that I write about them and I, um, my side to start an essay that featured my older son and and, um, I won't tell you what it's about because he read it and he was just like, You can't publish this for now. Well, published a few years, so I, you know, put it away. That's amazing. And so how much of this book is about you and how much is it about others? Well, it's interesting, because in this book it's part memoir. It's part family history, and it's partly about mental illness. Um, and it's partly about my marriage, but it's also about the drug war, and it's also sort of about how about this history of psychedelic drugs? And then because I had this experience is a public defender and because I taught law for many years, I taught a class called the Legal and Social implications of the War on Drugs at UC Berkeley's Law School. It has a lot about it has, you know, it talks about mass incarceration. It talks about how we got into this mess, Onda what we can do to get out of it, in the words of this great book called Drug Crazy, by my gray it I interview people like Michelle Alexander, who wrote the new Jim Crow We talk a lot about, like, what would a world that that decriminalize drugs look like? And so it has. It has sort of these different. It's persists incredibly personal. And it's also, you know, has policy and history in it and great so people can expect to learn about the policy of drug law. Yeah, and for sure I'm like going through. How did we, like worded LSD come from and like, you know what happened with all those crazy, you know, in the Middle Ages, with those people going crazy and villages when there're I was contaminated with ergot. You'll read all about that, and you'll also have a lot of insight. The most dangerous material for me personally, is into the state of my marriage. You know, when you write an essay that says you love your husband more than your Children and you've made your marriage inadvertently almost seemed like this paragon to be able to sort of say, my marriage is in perfect. My marriage was in crisis was terrifying for me, but I felt like I had to do it and so I don't want. So I really don't get arrested. That would be a big bummer. Like like I said, Statute of limitations. Okay, so I'm sure there's a lot of research that went into the book. Did you enjoy that process? I love a search. Research is, um is I'd always rather do research than right. Like researchers find researchers, you travel, you go to the Internet. Research is you don't have to do any you like of the Scott work, the putting the words on the page. I'll always rather research than right. But I don't let myself count my research into my word. Count my research. If I do four hours of research in the day, that's not a workday. I still got to do my writing cause I'll spend the next years researching everything there is to know about green Dodge darts circa 1976. All right. Should we go back? Alright. Right. Okay. Remember I told you nobody has to see it. I lied. Now is there anyone in this room who is willing to share what they wrote? We have a hand. I, um, really liked when you said go back to the action. So that's what I did. Great. Bless me, Father, for I confess, it has been two weeks since my last confession. The place. The confessional in the chapel of ST Mary's of the Valley High School In my senior year, it was our senior year retreat, a three day retreat where we were to look within ourselves and reflect. Ah, reflection. Generally, not the first thing I want to do. That's where. All right. Well, I really while in know what? Second, I want to know what that convention is gonna be. That's great. Great. Good. We're gonna get into some juice. Anybody else want to share their scary three set to 5 sentences. I Well, guys, I want to thank you so much. I have some some parting advice. So take these. Take this scary thing with your star next to it. Start with an essay. Don't say to yourself, I'm writing a book. Say to yourself in your mind I am writing and I say, Write it as fast as you can. Just get it on the page, then rewrite it a lot like nine times. That's a many drops as I tend to dio nine times, then show it to a couple of people. And then here's the scary part If you want. Teoh, if you're feeling brave, were in this incredible moment where there are all these places that publish essays that published personal essays. Medium Refinery all over the Internet There, places that publish you know where I'm not talking about sending it to the New Yorker. Maybe you can maybe where that person who's there first essay out of the but they're going to send to The New Yorker and then they're going to be famous and then please blurred by next book. But for the rest of us, find one of those places and send it out into the world. Okay? And then let me know, too. Send me a link so I can read it and feel proud. Thank you guys. Also much. This was a real pleasure

Class Description

Humans are programmed to think and speak in stories -- it’s in our DNA. Narratives are an incredibly powerful communication device, and yet they’re built from a relatively simple set of components: plot, conflict, setting, point of view, atmosphere and most importantly characters. Together, they share the writer’s message in a way unlike anything else. Writing your own story though can be uncomfortable and difficult.


In this hour-long session, NYT bestselling author Ayelet Waldman will dive into her approach to constructing narratives, focusing specifically on the challenges and opportunities of memoir writing. Starting with the critical importance of authenticity and honesty, she’ll surface and address the most common (and difficult) choices writers make during the creative process. She’ll also be leading a short exercise to help get you started and become comfortable with writing your truth. She will also cover her writing process, the importance of discipline to write everyday, having her own writing studio, and how to avoid distractions when it is time to work. 

Reviews

Mike McArdle
 

Ayelet instructs in plain English the mechanics to accurately write a memoir that is appealing, true and powerful. She is a superb communicator and is able to be honest, vulnerable and powerful when teaching this class. She's a real master. Thank you Ayelet and good luck in all that you do. :-)

Cathy Mauro
 

Thank you for this course, it was inspiring and motivating, I too love research over getting it on paper, it felt good to hear how to manage it. I have to say though this really felt like a journey that landed me on an existential answer. My father had a Green Dodge Dart in the mid-seventies, and in it my face was slammed twice, once as it hit the front seat from being rear ended and seconds later, as we hit a small tree. Is this a sign? Or what?

Tammy Fuller
 

I loved this. Ayelet is a wonderful storyteller and her class was compelling. I loved how she gave actionable tips to get me started.