I don’t write to be famous, I don’t write to be known, I write because I am and I want to be read. How sad to fill a room with paintings no one sees or play music no one hears. Writing is talking without sound, singing without score and dancing without movement and yet, it is all of them. It is a solitary art conjured from thought and expressed by the need to communicate.

HEAD SLAPS, SPEED BUMPS and LIGHTBULBS, one woman's WTF, oops and ah-ha moments of life.

They were published once, and as every writer knows, once is not enough.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Al dente, firm to the bite

Now that I am slowly querying my memoir, I’m doing two things a little differently. I’m being very selective regarding the agents I’m approaching. For my two novels I raced through my favorites and then pretty much threw spaghetti at the wall hoping it would stick. Some did but eventually all the angel-hair dried and flaked to the floor. And, I’ve started a second memoir.

How is it, you may ask, that someone’s life can be so tragic, so interesting or so authentic that the events of that life could support two memoirs?
As I say in the query,
In the broad, sometimes hard to sell memoir market, this one bubbles up above the rest because of how it is organized.  This is not your grannies memoir, it’s the good, the bad and what the hell was I thinking, glad-wrapped.”
It’s different, that’s for sure. I used fifty-three of my columns in the first one and I have well over a hundred to choose from for the second.

How is it, you may ask, that you are writing a second different memoir and you haven’t even acquired an agent for the first?

Because the replies have been supportive and encouraging. This leads me to believe I am on to something and have just not found the right agent yet. (Call me delusional but I believe).

So there you have it, I’m beginning a new journey, in an old way, on something which is different, for readers I deeply respect. And, it is all about me, what’s not to like about that? Don’t answer.

Instead, ask yourself this question, does the pasta stick because it’s done or because of the subjectivity of the wall?


  1. "The subjectivity of the wall" is a good point, and a fantastic turn of phrase. Best of luck with querying!

    1. Thank you Jennifer.
      I find diving into an old pond, on new day, very fulfilling. Sorting through my old stuff and sorting by category continues to show me just how much my writing has evolved. In a good way, it's less combative and more encompassing of what makes us all regular human beings. Gee, this is fun.

  2. I can see why and how you could write 2, 3, 4, or more memoirs. Harry Potter may be able to sum up his life in one story, but real lives have multiple threads, multiple stories, and can be seen from different angles. I'm sure there's enough in your life to keep you churning out books for a while, Carolynn. And as for writing the second while querying the first--isn't that just good practice? Whether it's novel or memoir, if you want a career, you need to keep writing.

    All the best with querying!! :D

    1. Thanks Colin. I 'm left wondering how many I'll have to write before someone says this 'full' is what it's all about.

  3. I like your approach. Slow, but steady and methodical. I think that will work and the one thing you can take away is you did it right. Right?

    I agree with Colin too. I think while querying the first you have to work on something else or you'd drive yourself nuts!

    As to subjectivity. I discussed this exact thing with Book-Hive's Jennifer Bowen. It's because of this very thing we take a chance. Where someone LOVES it, another HATES it. We can't escape that.

    BTW, what memoirs are you reading? (assuming you're reading/or have one or two that you consider your go to examples?)

    1. I read Katrina Kenison's, Gift of an Ordinary Day. Amazing book and one I actually use as a comp in my query. But, I also mention that mine is a bit more self-deprecating. Kenison can be very serious. I am in the midst of her newest. A Magical journey and though the beginning nails exactly, and I mean exactly, where women with empty nests are mentally and physically, I'm feeling a bit adrift with her whole yoga thing.
      As a contest win, I didn't know was a contest but won anyway, Janet sent me Roxanne Gay's Bad Feminist. The beginning drew me in because it's friendly and honest but as it went on, man can that girl get serious. The subject matter is very heavy and it will take a while but I'll finish it. BUT, Janet made a good point, she sent it because she knows about my memoir and said how Gay gets you committed and then unloads the heavy stuff. Great example how to draw in the reader and then pounce.
      Yup I'm reading memoirs and I just finished The Road , which got me all excited about coming up with an apocalyptic idea. That's when I realized, another sci-fi project would definitely be an apocalyptic idea for this writer.