Please join us for a presentation and signing for Melanie's new book on crafting the memoir, "Writing Hard Stories".
Investigations into the struggles of rendering painful memories on the page. Acclaimed memoirist Mary Karr once said, "writing a memoir, if it's done right, is like knocking yourself out with your own fist." It's difficult and especially painful to write about dark, difficult memories.
Brooks' own experience of trying to write a memoir about her father's death from a secret AIDS infection had been "agonizing" and "terrifying", so she decided to travel the country to interview and learn from memoirists whose books confronted these subjects head-on. Over and over, the authors told her that these were stories they had to write. Andre Dubus III felt he "had to pull out of the dark and hold up to the light" the story about his difficult relationship with his famous author father. After he finished "Townie" (2011),"it felt really good....I felt cleansed."
Sue William Silverman's "raw and profoundly vulnerable "Because I Remember Terror, Father, I Remember You" (1996) exposed 14 years of sexual abuse she suffered while her mother remained silent and "complicit."
After poet Mark Doty's partner of 12 years died from AIDS, he wrote "Heaven's Coast" (1996): "I have not been immobilized by grief, but I have certainly carried it with me."
Edwidge Danticat's "exquisite and heartbreaking" "Brother, I'm Dying" (2007), about her Haitian father and uncle, is a "powerful witness to the large-scale injustices so many immigrants face upon entering this country." She told Brooks that it's the "most beautiful memorial I could have created for [them]."
Gender outlaw Kate Bornstein's "A Queer and Pleasant Danger" recounts "desperately [trying] to be someone she was not" and escaping the Church of Scientology to finally find fulfillment after gender reassignment surgery.
Other authors interviewed include Kim Stafford, Richard Blanco, Richard Hoffman, Kyoko Mori, and Jerald Walker.
An inspiring guide to ennobling personal stories that travel to the dark sides of life.
Melanie Brooks is a writer, teacher, and mother living in Nashua, New Hampshire with her husband, two children, and yellow Lab. She received her master of fine arts in creative nonfiction from the University of Southern Maine's Stonecoast MFA program. She teaches college writing at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts, and Merrimack College in Andover, Massachusetts. She also teaches creative writing at Nashua Community College in New Hampshire. Her work has appeared in the Washington Post, Hippocampus, the Huffington Post, Modern Loss, Solstice Literary Magazine, the Recollectors, the Stonecoast Review and Word Riot. She received the Michael Steinberg Prize for Creative Nonfiction in Solstice Literary Magazine's annual contest. Her almost-completed memoir explores the devastating impact of living with the ten-year secret of her father's HIV disease before his death in 1995. Her writing is the vehicle through which she's starting to understand that impact.