Monday is for Mini-Memoirs. Here are 11 Great Ones...
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 eighth original essay, published in the First Person Singular series in September, is “Cooking With Dana For the Last Time” by Dianne Jacob. The ninth original essay is coming later in October. 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…
Braced and Bedazzled
by Rebecca Evans
“I move through my day. Wash dishes. Make beds. Fold underwear. Every movement shoots jolts. I tell myself that I’m participating in shock-therapy… Pretend…Pretend to quit a bad habit, like smoking…You can quit pain…You can quit any time…By noon the next day, my right leg numbs and drags. I ask a friend to stay with my boys. I steer to the Emergency Room with my left hand. ”
When Invisibility is the Perfect Cloak
by Deanna Raybourn
“An older woman sitting quietly is so much furniture for most people, unremarkable and unremarked upon. We dismiss these women as harmless—and that’s provided we notice them at all. Of course, this can work to the advantage of the older woman intent on a crime spree.”
On the Gift (and Weight) of Winning a “Free” House
by Anne Elizabeth Moore
“For the cameras, I pretend that I am seeing it all for the first time. So one evening in early May 2016, families at dinner watch me on WXYZ-TV meandering hesitantly from room to room in the fancy outfit of an award recipient at her own celebratory gala, exclaiming with delight at: Empty white walls! Hardwood floors! A fancy bathtub! My own couch! That Nick and Nadine had carefully packed into a moving van in Chicago the previous day and driven for five hours before installing it in this mostly empty house and then leaving me alone to deal with the organization, the local artists, the new neighbors, the politicians, the print reporters, and the camera crews.”
Becoming Fluent in Baby Talk
by Kristin Wong
“Before I became a mother—before I shopped for things called ‘boppies’ and ‘oogiebears’—baby talk made me cringe. I watched my friends become parents and suddenly become fluent in it. They would spout off details about ‘mushie cups’ and ‘itzy ritzies.’ They would sing Baby Shark in public. We used todiscuss work and politics and the latest episode of Game of Thrones. You know, important things. But after kids, they changed—they became lost in the world of babies, and I wished they would find a way out. They would say things like: WHO’S A GOOD BABY? WHO’S GOT THE CHUBBIEST LITTLE THIGHS? and I’d smile politely but die a little inside.”
Essays from around the web…
by Shin Yu Pai
“Ylva Mara, a two-spirit Romani witch, gave me verbal instructions on how to cast a spell to solve what was vexing me. I’d found them on the internet. They ran an apothecary down the street from my house, where they practiced both acupuncture and spell casting. I needed to expel a man from my life. Someone besides my husband to whom I’d grown attached. Burning the red thread that symbolically bound us together, though cord cutting hadn’t kept him from coming at me. I needed something more forceful, like a sour jar. A spell to freeze him out.”
Uncultured: The Intergenerational Trauma of Girls Growing up in Cults
by Tamara MC
“Like Young, I grew up in a cult, but mine was Sufi. Just like Young, the men and women in this community were considered “family.” The girls called the women “Mama” followed by their first name, so Mama Yasira or Mama Batul. We called the men “Uncle,” or by their honorific titles such as “Hajj” or “Brigadier.”…But my situation is somewhat different. When I was 5 years old, my mother and father separated after he joined the Sufi community. My mother, the daughter of Holocaust survivors, refused to change her religion and uproot her life. After they separated, I spent four months of every year with my dad in Texas, where he’d moved with the community. I spent the rest of the year with my mother in Tucson, Ariz.”
The Voice of Living Things
by Alex DiFrancesco
“My first plant that survives is a gift from my friend Christina, who is also the person who initiated me into witchcraft. The initiation ceremony was in my backyard, and involved rose petals and spoiled wine. An unsuspecting 7-11 delivery man, laden down with cheap but drinkable wine, walked into my backyard in the middle of it, while three of us were screaming in laughter, singing “Put it in My Mouth.” I still have the piece of paper that Christina wrote the date on in the inside pocket of my leather motorcycle jacket. There are rose petals wrapped inside it.”
27 Albums with 24 Singles
by Stephanie Laurenza
“As I grew older, Jackie (his fellow addict and my mother—again, a term I do not and have not used) and Christopher would often take turns. Christopher would disappear and Jackie would play “good mom,” often broadcasting our circumstances in an appeal for help from others. Jackie would be rendered immobile and indecipherable on the couch, and Christopher would cart us around with our friends. He wanted to be liked, to be cool, and this included appealing to a bunch of pre-teens and eventually teens. Like many addicts, he knew when and how to be charming, turning it on to be a good-natured-jokester in the light of their attention. In high school, a new friend told me that she originally had the opinion that Christopher and I were close; she was jealous of our relationship at first. I laughed, assuring her that I knew how to take advantage of the moments I could.”
Talking About Suicide Helps Us Stay Alive
by Marisa Russello
“Normalizing discussion of suicide is the key idea behind Alternatives to Suicide (Alt2Su), peer-led groups intended for adults who have suicidal thoughts or identify as survivors. It’s one of the only peer-to-peer support groups of its kind.”
In Belgrade, Traces Remain of the Holocaust's Disappeared
By Julie Brill
“We’d stood on the street outside Solunska 8 in Belgrade, where my father lived before and after the war. There for the first time I understood my father’s family weren’t vaguely from Yugoslavia, a place I’d seen on a map as a kid, or even just from Belgrade. They were from the heart of Dorcol, an ancient Jewish neighbourhood. The Germans murdered 90 per cent of its Jewish residents and now there were few signs of the community who made homes there for centuries.”
Hospice: Columbus, 1974
by Rebecca Meacham
"In 1974, I’m at my Grandma’s because in a room across Ohio, there’s a boy looking through the slats of his bed. He is my brother. He is thirteen years old. The pain that began in his hip in Little League has metastasized into leukemia. He has gone into remission twice, long enough for us to take a plane across the country and wear sunhats to Disneyland and pose in the shadows of monsters. The year I decide to start forgetting things, I am four and at my Grandma’s house while my brother is dying—I’m still learning how to say this—while my brother dies in a hospital bed hours away.”
📢 Memoir Monday founder (and reading series host) is offering two courses:
📢 On Thursday, 10/6 I’ll be in conversation, virtually, with author Megan Stielstra, through Rhinebeck NY’s Oblong Books. Please join us!
📢 Publicity 101 for Writers with veteran book publicist Lauren Cerand and Sari Botton next Saturday, 10/8/22 is sold out! BUT…the resulting video will be a perk for paid subscribers to Memoir Monday!
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?
You’ll want to watch the resulting video from this seminar/interview! If you’re a paid subscriber to Memoir Monday, you’ll have access to it.
📢 Proposing & Editing Anthologies Workshop at Catapult, beginning 10/13
I’ll be leading my anthology editing workshop at Catapult once again. Only 12 spots. Sign up!
📢 Attention Publications and writers interested in having published essays considered for inclusion in our weekly curation:
By Thursday of each week, please send to memoi 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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