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Welcome to Memoir Monday—a weekly newsletter and a quarterly reading series, brought to you by Narratively, The Rumpus, Catapult, Granta, Guernica, Oldster Magazine, Literary Hub — and now many additional publications.
The seventh original essay, published in First Person Singular in August, is “The Sandwich,” by Yi Xue. The eighth original essay is coming in September. Submissions are open. You can find submissions guidelines and more on the “About” page.
Memoir Monday is a reader-supported publication that pays contributors to its First Person Singular original essay series. To support this work, become a paid subscriber.
Essays from partner publications…
Did I Get My Memoir Wrong?
by Chloe Caldwell
“I used to think that if you tell a story the exact same way every time you tell it, it means the story is true: Nothing exaggerated or with a detail left out or let in. Now, I think the more often you repeat the same story the exact same way, probably the less true it is. These days, I can tell I’m too stuck on a narrative when I repeat it the same way over and over.”
by Jen Doll
“I was cranky and coddled, cosseted and stuck. My parents treated me alternately like I was a child and an adult, feeding me and then telling me things I didn’t want to know, about various ailments, or their relationship, or how something I was doing wasn’t the way they’d do it (which I took to mean: WRONG). No matter how old I got, we were always somewhere between a friend relationship and the relationship of parent and child.”
There Is No Metaphor Here
by Anna Valente
“The fall of the lost baby, a therapist tried to teach me how to re-speak. Each week she asked me how I felt and I could not name what it was. I could have said I was blue. I could have said I was a chrysanthemum coiled closed, a sunflower squeezed shut. But I didn’t and neither of us used another word, not once.”
by Kirie Pedersen
“I wished I knew a word for the green of moss right when it starts up freshly in spring. I would lie down on it and roll around. I would pray to it. I would sing its name.”
Is Nothing Sacred? Salman Rushdie defends the act of writing novels.
by Salman Rushdie
“I grew up kissing books and bread…In our house, whenever anyone dropped a book or let fall a chapatti or a ‘slice’, which was our word for a triangle of buttered leavened bread, the fallen object was required not only to be picked up but also kissed, by way of apology for the act of clumsy disrespect. I was as careless and butter-fingered as any child and, accordingly, during my childhood years, I kissed a large number of slices and also my fair share of books.”
My Little Italian Donkey and Me: On Moving to Venice Later in Life
by Martha Cooley
“The asinella’s head reached my ribcage. She had short grey-brown fur, a spiky mane and shaggy tail, large eyes, a small round belly, and delicate hooves that clacked lightly on the brick path from the house to the dock. On occasion she’d break into a sure-footed run, moving fast and with surprising grace. Now and then she’d nudge me from behind with her cool black nose, startling me with the silence of her arrival and the forthrightness of her contact. But if I approached her directly, hand outstretched, she’d back off—refusing to be pet, her head twisting emphatically away.”
Essays from around the web…
by Haley Mlotek
“There is something off about August. This part of the summer season brings about an atmospheric unease. The long light stops feeling languorous and starts to seem like it’s just a way of putting off the night. There is no position of the earth in relation to the sun that comes as a relief. Insomnia arrives in August; bedsheets become heavy under humidity. No good habits are possible in August, much less good decisions. All I do is think about my outfits and my commute, constantly trying to choose between my sweatiness and my vanity. People are not themselves. I go see the party girls and find them wistful. I meet up with the melancholics and find them wanting to stay out all night.”
If the System Isn’t Fair, Build a New One
by Josef Burton
“This is it…I didn’t know what I meant but it recurred more and more through the summer. Not that this was the apocalypse or the end of the world or even a final anything, but that the mass death in hospitals, the uprising in the streets, the abandonment of people by their government was the breach and rupture that I guess I had somehow been expecting. This wasn’t clairvoyance and I’ve never been a sage, nor somebody who predicted the future. It didn’t mean that I wasn’t scared and angry. It just means that I wasn’t un-done, I wasn’t shocked by what was happening around me. The feeling was eerie. It was a feeling that had a name now."
An Essay About Watching Brad Pitt Eat That Is Really About My Own Shit
by Lucas Mann
“It was a group date, Friday after school. I had been on an unofficial fast for most of the day, which I then broke at a bodega where me and the other boys with dates were buying flowers. I picked out my flowers, went in to pay first, grabbed a Hershey’s Cookies n’ Cream bar and crammed it into my mouth before anyone saw. I could feel the white chocolate all over my teeth, so I was rubbing my tongue along the borders of tooth and gum while keeping my mouth closed.
Dirty Kids, Digital Nomads and #Vanlife without the Hashtag
by Effy Mitchell
“Rosalie is singing and playing the guitar and we’re exchanging stories. We learn that some of us have families, and some of us don’t. Some people are drinking and doing drugs, and some of us aren’t. We have a mutual understanding that we have arrived from different places for different reasons, but we share commonalities. These exist alongside stark differences. The community we are part of as travelers, vehicle dwellers, dirty kids, train riders, urban campers, crusties, nomads, squatters and people on the move offers us a close embrace, an acceptance of our common struggles and successes.”
Love Note from a Man I Never Met
by Eleanor Vincent
“If he had lingered, and we had flirted – or perhaps more – the power of his gesture would have been diluted, turning as weak as my hastily made iced coffee. He would have been just another man on the make, not a chivalrous stranger that I’m unable to forget.”
What If I Am Here: (Non)Fiction & (Trans)Reality
by Crystal K.
“Truth matters. Body cameras, demographics, votes, the fossil record, hormone levels, emotions, myths, dreams—data is requisite of witness, insight, and justice. What I acknowledge as data also shapes (& is shaped by) my reality. Writing toward understanding then requires intellectual and ethical rigor as a meaning maker plus healthy skepticism of absolutes, the ability to hold multiple truths.”
The Girl in the Sundress, Standing in Front of the Shed
by Paula Harris
“Because I was six when my grandfather died, because I was a grandchild and we have super dysfunctional family dynamics so my family barely talk to each other – let alone talk about what the hell is up with our family – because of all that, I don’t really know what happened in my family.”
📢 Veteran book publicist Lauren Cerand and Sari Botton present “Publicity 101 For Writers,” a 90-minute seminar/interview on October 8th at 2pm EDT. $25. Only 100 spots.
Are you a writer struggling to effectively publicize your work? Are you looking to grow the reach and visibility of your published writing, and find more publishing opportunities? Do you shy away from putting yourself out there because you’re not sure of the best ways to do so—and because you’ve been persuaded to believe self-promotion is shameful?
This 90-minute virtual seminar is for you!
For the first hour, Sari Botton will interview Lauren Cerand about some straight-forward ways writers can improve their online image, and get the message out about their books and their other work. In the final half-hour, Lauren will respond to some questions in the chat.
📢 Attention Publications and writers interested in having published essays considered for inclusion in our weekly curation:
By Thursday of each week, please send to firstname.lastname@example.org:
The title of the essay and a link to it.
The name of the author, and the author’s Twitter handle.
A paragraph or a few lines from the piece that will most entice readers.
Because of data limits for many email platforms, going forward we will only include artwork from our partner publications. No need to send art.
*Please be advised, however, that we cannot accept all submissions, nor respond to the overwhelming number of emails received. Also, please note that we don’t accept author submissions from our partner publications.
Memoir Monday is a reader-supported publication that pays contributors to its First Person Singular series of original essays. To support this work, become a paid subscriber.
You can also support Memoir Monday—and indie bookstores!—by browsing this Bookshop.org list of every book that’s been featured at the Memoir Monday reading series. It’s a great place to find some new titles to add to your TBR list!
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