Pulpwood Queens and an Adoption Theme

Pulpwood Queens and an Adoption Theme

Today is the first day of the 2018 LA Festival of Books. I am here with a colleague, Birgit Walker, who with her husband Jim, cowrote Keep Your Paws on the Road, about teaching your dog to be a great travel companion. I am also representing about a dozen other Phoenix-area authors’ books – titles ranging from Hollywood crime fiction to a Western to spiritual books to children’s picture books, and lots of others in between.

So it seems the perfect time to offer up a few comments on some recent books I’ve read. In January, I attended my first Pulpwood Queen Girlfriend Weekend in Nacogdoches, Texas. This was not a meeting of female lumberjacks, but rather the 18th annual gathering of book lovers – also known as readers – and a slew of amazingly accomplished authors. Started by a woman named Kathy Murphy, Pulpwood Queens is a book club that grew from one meeting in Kathy’s hair salon to more than 700 clubs around the world! These are some serious book lovers, and Kathy has created such a level of influence in the industry that she can pull household name authors to her event. On the flip side, she also has helped launch more than a few authors out of obscurity into a new level of fame.

packing tape handle

The weekend was packed with panel discussion after panel discussion wherein the authors shared their stories, discussed their creative motivations, and encouraged the writers in the audience to follow their passions. I came home with so many books that I had to pack a boxful to carry as luggage for the plane. You should have seen my very stylish packing tape handle. Laugh all you want; I was able to get myself from the rental car to the shuttle to the ticket counter with my fabricated tape handle. Of course, I received a love note from the TSA that they had searched my carefully taped box. For my safety – of course it was.

Author Katrina Shawver, my roommate for the Pulpwood Queen event, which takes place every year over MLK Weekend, told me her New Year’s resolution was to read a book a week in 2018. When I met him, my husband could – and did – read a book about every 2 to 3 days. I don’t think I’ve read more than 20 books in a year since college. So the idea of reading a book a week sounded like a pretty significant goal to me. In the 3 months since that weekend when I purchased, won, and was gifted all of those books, I have read five, about which I’m feeling pretty good. Once upon a time, my reading ratio was more or less 95 percent fiction to 5 percent nonfiction. Sometime over the last 20 years, it hasn’t exactly reversed, but it’s been more like 35 fiction to 65 nonfiction. These five books I read were all novels, so I’ve gone and skewed my recent ratio quite a bit.

A quote from Stephen King comes to mind: “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There’s no way around these two things that I’m aware of, no shortcut.” This blog has been my exercise in steady, if not daily writing, lo these last 3+ months. And I seem to be upping my reading – especially of fiction – quite a bit, as well. So maybe there is hope for me as a writer after all.

Adoption fiction

One interesting thing occurred as I listened to the authors speak over this very intense weekend – adoption seemed to be a thread running through a surprising number of the books. I had started this blog about two weeks earlier, so immediately thought I would read and write about these books. It has taken me until now to do so. I understand from the Pulpwood Queens Facebook group that the first author I will mention, Lisa Wingate, has recently sold her millionth copy of Before We Were Yours, no small feat. This is her 30th book, so she’s one of those many-years-to-get-there overnight successes. The book is the heartbreaking fictional story of a family impacted by a real-life monster by the name of Georgia Tann, a woman who literally stole babies and small children away from poor and “undeserving” families and sold them to wealthier people – all in the name of “the good of the child.” This child trafficking ring, covered up by police, judges, and child “welfare” workers ran from the 1920s to the 1950s. The book is extraordinarily well written, but truly a gut-wrenching read. I’m amazed it’s found such purchase among a wide audience, but happy for Lisa – of whom I asked a question about birthmothers during the Q&A and spoke with briefly as she signed my book – and grateful to have more light shone on such a dark era for American adoption.

Another “adoption” themed book whose author I heard speak is titled The Cage-maker, by Nicole Seitz. This book uses an interesting device, in that it tells the story of a wealthy family and the “curse” that seems to follow them across the years through the lens of letters, journal entries, and newspaper articles. The writing is eloquent and lyrical – but the story is slow-moving and a bit challenging to follow because of the device of telling it in bits and pieces, not all of them chronological. A modern-day woman who writes a DIY home decorating blog unexpectedly inherits the birdcage – with the promise that it will reveal the identity of her birthmother. She reads the letters, journal entries, and newspaper clippings and very occasionally comments on them as the story progresses. The bigger problem than the slow-moving nature of the book is that the adoption angle is utterly unnecessary to the story. In fact, it’s just confusing. Why make the heir an adopted person with no interest in knowledge about her birthfamily, when making her a long-lost niece would have worked just as well?

Then there was Cherry Bomb, a debut novel by a lovely woman named Susan Cushman. This freshman effort has received some glowing reviews; nevertheless, I found it a ridiculous and annoying read. It tells the story of a young graffiti artist who was abandoned by her mother at the age of five. While I have actually occasionally wondered about the people who’ve drawn some of the amazing and weird and obnoxious graffiti I’ve seen on walls in different parts of America, I found the inside lingo in this story awkward and overused. OK, I get it that a piece of graffiti is a tag, and stocking up on spray paint cans is referred to in the language of the artists as “racking.” But it felt like so much emphasis was placed on using this inside vernacular that the story was secondary. That, the age of the protagonist, and the general writing style made this feel like an unintentional YA novel. The most challenging piece of all, however, were the two massive coincidences used as plot devices. I understand, as I make this comment, that I have had some massive coincidences occur in my adoption. This, however, is a fictional story, and the coincidences are too incredible to be believed. They are also trite and so obvious that by the time you get to the end of the story, there is no surprise at all in “the reveal.” The intentions were good, but in my opinion, this book missed by a mile.

The last of these four books with something of an adoption theme is by the charming and very funny author Jamie Ford. What I mean is that Jamie is a funny person – his books would not be considered humorous. Here’s a detail that might impress you as much as it impressed me: Jamie’s first novel, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, was so well received that it has been picked up for use in high school literature classes across the country. He shared that the feedback from students that has most touched him are the comments that it was the first book they were required to read for school that they actually enjoyed. I had him autograph the copy that I bought to Eric, as my son made similar comments about losing his love of reading because of all the boring books he was required to read in high school.

So it was an interesting coincidence that Jamie’s third novel, Love and Other Consolation Prizes, also had adoption – of sorts – as its premise. A Chinese woman puts her young son on a boat to America, certain he will starve to death otherwise. Once he arrives in Seattle, he winds up in a children’s home where he’s made to work hard for his meager sustenance. When the boy is perceived as a complainer by the “do-gooder” who runs the home, she decides to get rid of him by literally putting him up for auction as the grand prize at the 1909 Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition, or the World’s Fair. Cardboard tickets are sold as an amazed crowd gathers to gawk at the boy-turned-raffle prize. The winning number is drawn – and people are dismayed to learn that the winner is the madam of a high-end brothel. During his presentation, Jamie Ford explained that this much of the story is said actually to have taken place, although he was unable to unearth any further details about the boy, whose name was Ernest. Another heart-breaking story, this was by far my favorite of the four adoption-themed books I recently finished.

Other than the sometimes loose theme of adoption, the other thing these books have in common is that they are all historical fiction – a favorite of the Pulpwood Queens. If you’re an avid reader who would truly enjoy meeting authors and a congenial community of other readers, you might want to consider a trip to Nacogdoches next January for the Girlfriend Weekend – the theme will be Western! I will definitely be there with bells on.

In the meantime, if you’ve read other adoption-themed fiction you want to share, please post your suggestions in the Comments section below.

Laura Orsini is an author who works with other authors to help them make and market exceptional books that change the world for the better. She is birthmother to Eric, who is finishing college in Boston this summer. Their adoption has been open for the better part of Eric’s life. She continues to toy with the idea that these posts will one day become a book. In the meantime, you can learn about her novel in progress, Stan Finds Himself on the Other Side of the World.

What’s YOUR Favorite S Word?

What’s YOUR Favorite S Word?

So I was sitting down to do some work when my laptop decided it was time to perform updates – you know, the ones where you hit the SAVE TILL LATER button a dozen times until the computer decides later is now and it’s updating, whether or not you have time or the desire to do an update right now?

I’m three minutes in, and it’s on Update 2 of 14. This is going to take a while. I think I may as well go grab a book, until I remember I have a blog post due tomorrow, so I’d better get writing that now. I have two self-limited topic choices, due to the encouragement from my friend Justin about writing from words randomly chosen from a list. Last post was about Song. My options for today were Bravery or Caves. I opted for Caves, but not in the way you might expect.

Sitting here waiting for my laptop to finish its updating, instead of grabbing a book to read, I grabbed a notebook to write – the old-fashioned way, with pen to paper. And instinctively, I put CAVES at the top of the page. It just glared at me for a minute or two. Then it began to look like an acronym. Throw some periods in there, and you have C.A.V.E.S. But what do the letters stand for? Ah, the mystery of it all.

Call a Variety of

Create a Very Expensive

Then I changed one letter. Went from expEnsive to expAnsive. Now we may be onto something.

Create a Very Expansive …

Wait. What is the last word? It starts with an S. Create a Very Expansive S-word. That rather looks like a stuttering sword – but what would an expansive sword be, and why would anyone want one?

So, I changed it to look like this: Create a Very Expansive S________________.

Now all I had to do was fill in the blank with the appropriate S word. So began brainstorming all of the S words I could think of. Yes, I could have used a dictionary, but (a) that would have meant finding a printed dictionary (remember, this is all happening as my laptop is updating) or looking it up in teeny-tiny print on my phone, and (b) I figured my brain could use the workout. So started making a list of every word I could think of that begins with S.

No – not every word. Every NOUN – as we are creating an expansive thing, so the S word would have to be a noun. Here is the list I came up with, in the order the words popped into my head, over about 5 or 6 minutes. You’ll see some word association at work, and also some very random shit. Hmmm… shit did not make my word list, but that’s probably for the best, wouldn’t you say?

Stun gun

For the record:

  • There are 82 words on this list.
  • I had no duplications.
  • I had to look up the spelling of sayonara.
  • Schizophrenia and synchronicity are tie for the longest S word on my list, at 13 characters each.
  • Son and sun are tie for the shortest S word on my list.
  • Stormtrooper is not a proper noun.
  • MS Word does not know the word stinkiness.

So now I’m going to turn things over to you. If you could create an expansive thing that started with an S word, what would it be? You can choose from the words on my list, or make your own list. If you want to get really creative, come up with your own entirely new acronym for C.A.V.E.S. Share your answers with us in the comments section below.

As for my personal preference, I would be hard pressed to create a more expansive synchronicity than we are already experiencing in our adoption, so I think I might want to create a more expansive sweetness, strength, and/or story – as they pertain to our adoption, and to my life in general.

Check back in on April 5 when I promise to write about the last of my three chosen topics: Bravery.

BIRTH CERTIFICATE UPDATE: Those who are regular-ish readers may recall my recent challenge of having misplaced my birth certificate. Well, you needn’t lose another wink of sleep, as I found it last night, right where I speculated it might be, in the family tree folder. Now John and I can start the passport application process. Woo-hoo!

Laura Orsini is an author who works with other authors to help them make and market exceptional books that change the world for the better. She is birthmother to Eric, who is finishing college in Boston this summer. Their adoption has been open for the better part of Eric’s life. She continues to toy with the idea that these posts will one day become a book. In the meantime, you can learn about her novel in progress, Stan Finds Himself on the Other Side of the World.

Pondering the Writing Life

Pondering the Writing Life

I suppose if I had to pin it down, I would say I’ve been writing since the third grade. That was the year Steve Bowers, my across-the-street neighbor, and I came up with a Halloween story about a haunted house. I was inspired enough by writing it to enter a contest at school where I won a box of stationery for a short story about a girl and her dog. I would love to say, “… and thus a writer was born,” but it wasn’t quite that simple.

I wrote some really terrible poetry in grade school. Was the master of last-minute book reports and papers throughout junior high and high school. It wasn’t until I got to college that I realized that my native skills lay in nonfiction writing – so that was the degree I obtained, rather than actually challenging myself to improve my weaker fiction skills or develop my pretty much non-existent poetry abilities. I did write several fiction pieces for a few undergrad classes: one was a rather terrible story about a handicapped young woman who falls in love with a cop; another was based on the true story of a high school friend whose girlfriend was killed in a head-on collision, and his severe bout with depression that followed and included a couple of suicide attempts. The critique from my classmates was that my fictional version of the true story was too over-the-top to be believable. Clearly, I was doing something wrong.

So I put aside fiction for a L-O-N-G time. Then I picked it up again with a very aspirational story about a guy who travels around the world with his dog. For my first novel. I’m still working on it. I began writing it as part of the 3-Day Novel Contest over Labor Day 2004. That’s not a typo – it’s been almost 14 years in the works. I have a bunch of other fiction ideas percolating, but I am determined to finish the first one first. I’ve committed to my mastermind group to have this novel out by July 4 of THIS year (2018). And I’m writing it here. Therefore, in the immortal words of Jean-Luc Picard, I will “make it so.”

This blog is a great distraction when I am looking for ways to procrastinate writing that last scene for the novel. Or the penultimate scene. Or the antepenultimate scene (that is a real word, by the way), as it were. The fact is that the blog is just easier to write because I don’t have to make it up. Sure, I have to write the words, but they are words describing real things, real people, real events, real memories. With fiction, the author is god, creating stories, scenes, characters – sometimes entire worlds and languages – out of whole cloth.

Perhaps not surprisingly, my novel is very much based in reality. Which means I had to do a lot of research, something I happen to be pretty good at, thanks to my dad. For instance, I had to go find out which present-day New York Yankees (as of 2011) had been on a Yankees Double A club in 1993. (Answer: Jorge Posada and Andy Pettitte.) All the real stuff aside, it is still up to me to decide what the main character does, where he goes, how he gets there, who he meets along the way, and what he learns from the experiences. That’s a lot of stuff to make up, especially for a character who’s traveling all the way around the world.

The reality of the blog topics just makes them easier to write.

I know writers – some of whom are paid very handsomely for their craft – who refer to writing as the most difficult job they’ve ever tackled. When I hear comments like that, I always wonder why – and how – they stick to it. I understand the desire to push yourself to improve, but if a particular line of work is as excruciating as some of them make it sound, I can’t help but think there might be easier, more rewarding ways for them to make a living. I’m no Steinbeck or Alice Walker, but neither have I ever found writing difficult.

Another thing you often hear writers mention is writers’ block: the fear – or reality – of that blank page staring up at them from the pad or laptop screen. Blessedly, this hasn’t really been a problem for me since high school, the last time I had a timed writing assignment and procrastinated the first 30 minutes of the writing hour, and then scribbled furiously to finish the piece by the end of class. I didn’t do that once or twice, but every single instance we were assigned to write a paper in class within a certain amount of time. Since then, though I might procrastinate, it’s never because I don’t know what to write.

Until this blog. And even then, it’s not writers’ block in what I consider the traditional sense. As I mentioned in my last post: “ [I]f I want to write a quality piece, I’ve got to be ‘in the mood’ to write, and lately, very few of the ideas in my idea bank have sparked the requisite creativity to come to life on the page.” Once I settle on a topic, I’m fine. However, the settling sometimes takes much longer than I think it should.

I was discussing this with my friend Justin the other day. Rather simultaneously, I was showing him a concept I came up with a couple of years ago, but have yet to implement. I borrowed the idea from the person who originated the 30-Day Ultimate Creativity Challenge – only mine is called the 52-Week Ultimate Writing Challenge. I made 3 columns: Theme, Subject, and Genre. These are the directions, as I’ve distilled them so far:

Choose one entry from each column. I recommend you use random.org to generate a random number from each column – then cross off each one as you use it, move the rest of the list up, and reduce the number of items each week.

Write one piece per week, using the theme, subject, and genre you randomly selected. There is no minimum or maximum word count – but you’ll do best if you compose a complete paragraph, story, or concept. Keep it short enough, however, to give yourself time to do other things and stay motivated to continue as the weeks turn to months, and the months stretch into a year.

Write away and share your weekly results with the group. We’ll vote on our favorites (feel free to invite your friends and connections to vote, too) and reprint the week’s “winner” on our group blog.

Here is a sample of ideas from each column:

1.      Learning Holidays Nautical
2.      Love Housing News article
3.      Memory Internet Obituary
4.      Motion Languages Op-ed
5.      Mourning Light Parallel universe
6.      Novelty Machines Paranormal
7.      Panic Mammals Personal ad

Justin immediately loved the idea – and suggested that I use it to generate ideas for this blog. My first three selections were: Bravery (theme), Caves (subject), and Song (genre). I reminded him that this was a FICTION challenge, whereas my blog is very specifically NONFICTION. “That’s OK,” he said. “Write something for the blog from this list anyway.”

So I thought about it for a moment and realized that while I won’t be combining all three items into one post, I do have an adoption topic related to bravery, and another one related to songs. The caves concept still stumps me, but I’ll ponder it a bit further and perhaps come up with something. In the meantime, be sure to check back in on April 3, 2018, when I share my thoughts on Bravery & Song.

Laura Orsini is an author who works with other authors to help them make and market exceptional books that change the world for the better. She is birthmother to Eric, who is finishing college in Boston this summer. Their adoption has been open for the better part of Eric’s life. She continues to toy with the idea that these posts will one day become a book. In the meantime, you can learn about her novel in progress, Stan Finds Himself on the Other Side of the World.

Permission to Change Course Occasionally

Permission to Change Course Occasionally

Blogging can be a lonely business. You write for yourself –  but also for others, or why else publish your writing on a blog? And you hope people read what you write. Sometimes they do. When I was posting daily on Eric’s Other Mother, readership was pretty steady. As soon as I moved to posting every other day, readership dropped off dramatically. I’m not holding a pity party – simply pointing out that I was rather surprised by the steep decline that followed what I thought would be a simple shift in frequency.

Blog views

However, continuing to post every day was not really feasible. For one thing, there’s the time commitment. Some posts flow easily and are complete in mere minutes. Others take quite a bit of time to conceive, write, rewrite, edit, and tweak. Then there are the photos to find, and sometimes rework.

There’s also having material to write about. I do have an idea bank, to which I was adding with some frequency while I was blogging daily. The only thing is that if I want to write a quality piece, I’ve got to be “in the mood” to write, and lately, very few of the ideas in my idea bank have sparked the requisite creativity to come to life on the page.

These ideas include:

  • Adoptions in my family and Tony’s (my son’s birthfather)
  • Spending a day in Hoboken getting to know Kathy and Bruce
  • “No one wants to hear a story about birthmothers” – saving this for Birthmothers’ Day in May
  • Asking my caseworker if every couple who applies is cleared to adopt
  • The utter dearth of books and literature by and for birthmoms
  • Birthfathers – there are several topics under this umbrella
  • Search and reunion (in general terms)

And many others. I will tackle most – if not all – of them in future posts. That’s the beauty of this blog: although I truly appreciate the readers, I’m beholden to no one in terms of what I write or the order in which I write it. I suppose, if there’s anyone’s approval I’d want, it would be Eric’s. But even as I write knowing he might be reading these posts, he might one day read these posts, or he might one day read the book that comes of these posts – and awareness of him is ever present – it does not dictate what I write.

I have received some really nice feedback from a couple of readers.

Blythe wrote, in response to my post, “The Unique Pain of Being Adopted”:

Thank you for writing this. My husband and I are working with an agency and currently involved in the adoption process (as the adoptive parents). My husband is adopted and it was a closed adoption. After years and years of searching for his biological mother, we finally found her…and he was rejected. Not only by her, but by her entire family. It was devastating for my husband. We have definitely made a point for our adoption to be absolutely open. It is so important and everyone’s right to know where they came from and who they are. I have also been trying to not make this process about us (two people who cannot have biological children because of infertility) and about the child who has no say as well as the birth mother that has made the decision she can. So many emotions… I hope that I can remain selfless in the process.

And more recently, Celeste wrote:

Thank you for sharing your story! I’ve been jumping around reading various posts of yours and now I’m starting from the beginning to read them straight through. 😊 I really appreciate how your blog has been expanding my understanding of what adoption is like for birth parents and adoptees. My husband and I are preparing to become foster parents. Adoption is not our goal, but we know it may very well end up happening. Thank you so much for sharing your experience. I look forward to continuing to learn.

Even if Eric never reads any of this, it’s worthwhile to have written for my own peace and processing, as well as knowing that my posts have helped at least a couple other people. Far more people are reading than are commenting, so who knows what other butterfly effects could be occurring that I’ll never know about?

That being said, today I decided to give myself permission to occasionally expand the topics I write about to life in general. I am a birthmother in an open adoption. My kid is brilliant and beautiful, and I have a very nice relationship with him and his family. As adoptions go, we could not be more blessed. That truth runs throughout my life, day in and day out, whether or not I find myself specifically focused on adoption on any given day. So the majority of my posts will continue to be, essentially as advertised, in some way related to adoption. Nevertheless, when I veer off onto the occasional other topic, I’ve realized that I’m still staying true to my own tagline, one birthmother’s perspective. My life, my perspective, wouldn’t you say?

Today, I find myself focused on trying to locate my birth certificate. I had it in my hands just days ago, when I was cleaning and organizing my office in advance of our housewarming party. My husband’s birth certificate arrived in the mail yesterday, so I went to retrieve mine (we’re getting ready to apply for passports) – and I can’t find it anywhere. I know it’s here – probably in a box that got re-stashed in the garage. Or maybe it’s in one of the folders housing the family trees from both my mom’s side and my dad’s side of the family. (I stumbled onto those while unpacking – future blog post, for sure!) My office has never been this organized – so it’s frustrating to be unable to put my hands on this important document.

Deep breath. It’s here somewhere. And now that I’m only blogging every other day, I have extra time to look for it!

Laura Orsini is an author who works with other authors to help them make and market exceptional books that change the world for the better. She is birthmother to Eric, who is finishing college in Boston this summer. Their adoption has been open for the better part of Eric’s life. She continues to toy with the idea that these posts will one day become a book. In the meantime, you can learn about her novel in progress, Stan Finds Himself on the Other Side of the World.

To Dialogue or Not to Dialogue (or The Full Truth vs. Making It Interesting)

To Dialogue or Not to Dialogue (or The Full Truth vs. Making It Interesting)

We’re at the Tucson Festival of Books this weekend – a ragtag group of Phoenix-area authors who belong to a Meetup I organize: Phoenix Publishing & Book Promotion. Seems a good time to write about writing.

My last post touched on my recent foray back onto a college campus – and into the classroom for a writers’ workshop. My goal for the weekend was to study writing, perhaps for the first time in a formal capacity since I completed my undergrad degree in nonfiction writing a long, long time ago. The courses I focused on were related to fiction, as I’ve been struggling to complete a novel for quite a number of years. The instructor’s comment that caught me the most off-guard, however, came in a session about the newish trend of flash-memoir. Flash memoir is generally limited to 1,000 words or less and “…strives to combine the extreme abbreviation of poetry, the narrative tension of fiction, and the truth-telling of creative nonfiction.”

The comment that gave me pause was the assertion that every word of a memoir must be true, including all dialogue. Memoir differs from biography in that it is limited to a particular event, period, or other contained segment of the writer’s life. This blog, while not flash, is no doubt an exercise in memoir writing – my sweet spot as a degreed nonfiction writer. However, I’ll tell you right here that although my memory is pretty good, it’s not photographic. That includes the dialogue I have included (and will continue to include). Perhaps the majority of the dialogue I’ve incorporated into this blog (maybe not the conversation with Ernesto, as reported in my previous post) has been cobbled together from memory – so it captures the gist, as opposed to the actual words spoken by the parties described in said posts.

While I understand the thinking behind the theory, I disagree with this instructor that a memoirist should include only the actual words as they were spoken, because that would essentially leave all memoir without any dialogue at all. In other words: BORING. My husband asked (almost word for word), “What – do they expect you to have carried a tape recorder around with you for your whole life, supposing one day you would write a book?”

While lyrical, highly descriptive writing that paints a vivid word picture is important and nice to read, dialogue is what brings a story to life. It’s the dramatic device through which the author conveys each character’s thoughts and feelings. To simply paraphrase – or hint at what might have been said – seems, in my opinion, to water down the entire message. And if you don’t remember the dialogue word for word enough to include it, doesn’t that make every memory suspect?

There must be some fine line between wandering off into the realm of make-believe – a la James Frey with A Million Little Pieces – and toeing a strict, “precisely as they said it or not at all” policy for dialogue in a memoir.

Would be quite interested to hear your thoughts – especially you, Kathy, as you are perhaps one of the most quoted people in these posts! Please post in the comment section below.

* * *

NOTE: For those who are interested, here’s a really good piece by one author about using dialogue in memoir. Here are another writer’s comments. This post takes a more objective look at both sides of the argument. Just to be clear, my search term was “dialogue in memoir,” so I was not attempting to stack the deck. If you want a crash course in memoir writing, I highly recommend this post, which contains links to many teaching articles and resources.

Laura Orsini is an author, speaker, and consultant who coaches other authors to make and market exceptional books that change the world for the better. She is birthmother to Eric, who is finishing college in Boston this summer. Their adoption has been open for the better part of Eric’s life. She continues to toy with the idea that these posts will one day become a book. In the meantime, you can learn about her novel in progress, Stan Finds Himself on the Other Side of the World.