January 24, 2018

Award – Validation and Connection

Book Award“2017 Next Generation Indie Book Awards – Important Announcement!” The subject line on the May 3 email grabbed my attention, and the text was even better. “Your book has been named a Finalist in the MEMOIRS (Other) Category.” I took a deep breath and kept reading. “Your achievement will be published in the next few weeks at www.IndieBookAwards.com along with the other Finalists and Winners.”

I jumped up from my chair and pumped a fist in the air with a whoop. This award not only filled me with joy and validation but it also helped me clarify the connection I feel with my memoir, The Crane Dance: Taking Flight in Midlife. And, the award reminded me that writers don’t work alone.

“Your book will be listed as a Finalist in the 2017 NGIBA [Next Generation Indie Book Awards] catalog and distributed at Book Expo America in New York as a countertop handout at registration desks.  Your book will be promoted to book buyers, book lovers and library reps along with media and industry professionals.”  [Read more…]

The Power of Telling Our Stories

Bill discusses his book and the power of stories at a reading in Raleigh, NC.

Bill discusses his book and the power of stories at a reading in Raleigh, NC.
Photo by Georgia Springer

Mary Karr, in her book The Art of Memoir, says, “In a great memoir, some aspect of the writer’s struggle for self often serves as the book’s organizing principle, and the narrator’s battle to become whole rages over the book’s trajectory.”

In writing my memoir, The Crane Dance, I did struggle to understand my core identity. As the drafts unfolded and finally formed a coherent arc, my narrator’s battle did in fact help me “to become whole.”

The writer and memoirist Joan Didion says, “We tell ourselves stories in order to live… We live entirely, especially if we are writers, by the imposition of narrative line upon disparate images.”

In The Crane Dance, disparate images bounced about from India to Boston, then to North Carolina, back to Mississippi, to Atlanta and Mendocino, Cairo to Stonehenge, the beach to the mountains, then finally back to Jabalpur, with home in Raleigh the center of this crazy journey. What drew the line straight and true, finally, was the journey of the heart, determined to find the right compass coordinates for the larger story. [Read more…]

Finger and Myers Share Beauty and Inventiveness in New Books

Guest Post

Lou Lipsitz

On August 30, 2016, in Raleigh, Bennett Myers and Bill Finger, long-time members of The Men’s Council, introduced their new books to the community of men’s groups that have supported both of them for many years. The Men’s Council and the Triangle Mankind Project (MKP) sponsored the event, part of a monthly meeting series to provide a venue for men to meet and celebrate camaraderie and connection. Women were invited to this event. About 45 people attended. Lou Lipsitz (shown above), long involved in The Men’s Council, introduced them. A widely published poet, Lou won the 2010 Blue Lynx Prize for Poetry; for more, go to http://www.loulipsitzpoetry.com/. Below is Lou’s introduction and his summary of Bennett and Bill’s presentations.

The evening with Bennett and Bill presenting their books was special. We heard from two men who have been through intense struggles, who have gone deeply along, what Robert Bly calls “the road of ashes, descent and grief.” Such a passage is not done easily or quickly. We know that even as boys, men are often steered away from the path of emotional honesty. Better to be tough than vulnerable. Better to hide our wounds and hope somehow they will heal. Often they do not. We cannot microwave our losses into some quick transformation. Instead, it is more like the work of miners and archeologists – the hard sweaty work of digging and digging, and at the same time, the careful discovery of invaluable artifacts that must be treated with tenderness. Such a passage is not done easily or quickly. [Read more…]