• Abracadabra for Writer’s Block


      In fairy tales, Abracadabra has the power to break spells. And what is writer’s block, if not a maniacal spell that roots you to the spot? Oddly, I was once stuck in such a spot until released—not by that eleven-letter charm, but by a sixteen-word one. It wasn’t magic, but it felt just like […]

  • Dashed Hopes That Keep Giving


      Shortly after taking up writing in my late 40s, I finished a memoir piece that seemed an honest but sympathetic portrayal of my contentious family. A noted writer I’d had the nerve to show it to gave it his stamp of approval. So I took an even bigger chance and sent it to my […]

  • So, is writing therapy?


    “Know thyself” is a tall order. Is it even possible to uncover—without outside help—what is blocked from conscious awareness? To my great surprise, writing a memoir did just that. I began the memoir almost a decade ago, and during the many years I worked on it, I experienced three epiphanies that completely reversed core beliefs […]

  • the how of epiphanies


    Someone who read my essay in Thinking Writing on the ways in which memoir writing can lead to psychological insights, wrote that she found the first revelation to be “very powerful because it’s …so incontrovertible,” but the second and third “less convincing, because they are more internal, much more complex, and still open to interpretation… […]


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