I had the extremely good fortune to be invited to speak at Tokyo’s first annual Fermentation Future Forum (F3) a couple of weeks ago. The forum was organized by cultural luminary Teruo Kurosaki and his bright and creative staff. Kurosaki-san is a world renowned designer, former owner of Idee, founder of the Tokyo United Nations University Farmers Market, publisher-owner of Media Surf, owner-founder of Midori coworking spaces, Freedom University and much, much more. I have had the pleasure of...Forward
Notes on reading, writing, books & publishing
Whenever I do a reading from The End of Eve, a memoir about my crazy mother’s last dying years, someone in the audience inevitably asks me if I think my mother would have liked the book.
“She would have loved it,” I say, “if it hadn’t been about her.” And I think that’s true.
It honestly pained my mother when anything negative went unsaid. She regularly panned other people’s memorial services if she thought the deceased’s Jungian “shadow” had been left out of the...Forward
Here we are, two strangers, side by side. We don’t have to talk, do we? The din of sixty prepubescent sixth graders on a field trip is enough for me. I have a book in my bag to read. And yet, as the school bus pulls from the curb, the inevitable small talk between us begins. You ask, “What do you do when you aren’t chaperoning field trips?”
Now here’s the beauty of having published a memoir. Gone are the days of small talk with strangers. In a moment, this conversation will go one...Forward
Sometimes one sentence is all it takes to win—or break—a reader’s trust. This was brought home to me recently following the launch of my memoir, The Inventors. I had just gotten back from a two-coast, twenty-venue, overly ambitious book tour, one that left me with a bad back (all that driving), a deflated ego (reading to five people, including the store clerk), a renewed appreciation for the kindness of strangers (all those people who did show up), and the wistful yearning—assuming it...Forward
It was my cousin on the phone. The call I yearned for, and dreaded.
Yearned with that vulnerability of memoirists when praise is heard not simply for one’s book but also as a response to an unspoken plea: love me.
Dreaded because she had made it clear that she had hated my earlier memoir: “I nearly died when I read it.”
And this is what every memoirist fears: that our books will hurt someone so deeply that the wound will be fatal.
Love and death were the stakes in this phone call,...Forward
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