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Saturday, February 17, 2007

the joy of shaking things up & memoirs

today i skipped my usual schedule of teaching and taking class to indulge in some chinese take-out and reading time at starbucks with beau. then i returned to the studio for a 2-hour practice with some of our fabulous teachers. the simple act of doing things a bit off routine can have such a refreshing effect.

tonight beau and i watched frida with salma hayek. what a fab flick and what a phenomenal woman frida kahlo was. i get so inspired reading and watching women who were decades ahead of their time, so bold, so artistic, and so talented. if you haven't read much about this fab woman, i encourage you to do so. i definitely plan on exploring her further.

marily monroe
was my high school obsession and anais nin was my post-college obsession. finding women who carved their own path and reading their stories can provide inspiration and strength, along with a fresh perspective. it's always nice to get out of our own heads and dive into the life of another - especially women such as these.

i'm reading a great book about writing memoir as literature called your life as story by tristine rainer. since i'm currently fascinated by memoirs and have always loved reading about other women's lives, i find the concept of memoir divine. it's not a tell-all in chronological order but rather a sharing of a sliver of one's world with readers.

types of memoirs focus on a particular time, place or person:
1. particular period of your life
2. coming of age (angelou's i know why the caged bird sings)
3. a particular setting (dinesen's out of africa)
4. ecological (thoreau's walden)
5. relationship with a certain individual or group (hemingway's a moveable feast)

or a particular theme:
6. vocational and occupational (gandhi's autobiography)
7. philosophic (zen and the art of motercycle maintenance)
8. adventure
9. historical
10. dealing with adversity
11. psychological illness (girl interrupted)
12. confession
13. spiritual quest
14. meditation and reverie
15. personal essay
16. travelog
17. family history

i'm finding this genre sooo exciting. any other memoir-interested gals out there? if so, recommend some of your favorites. it's like a little dose of fiction mixed with non-fiction b/c it is an enticing story that usually has a message within. a win-win!

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Kate McDowell said...

I love Jeanette Wells' The Glass Castle. This is a tough book to read, but so worth it. Wells is inspiring and shows that amazing things can come from pain and chaos.

happy reading!

Miss Olivia said...

Hi Kimberly!
I don't know a lot about Frida, but she did seem to have an intriguing life. I, like you, was a bit obsessed with Marilyn Monroe in high school. I remember, in seventh grade, having to do a project about an eminent person. All the other girls picked scientists and politicians and I chose Marilyn! We had to give a talk in class and I played "candle in the wind" at the end of my talk and had the whole class in tears lol
I have to say I love a good raconteur (what a great word), and reading other people's memoirs can provide invaluable insight into how other people view the world, and how they make the best (or otherwise) of what they have. I loved Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and, of course, Eat, Pray, Love. Anais Nin's diaries are high up on my list at the moment, and I can't wait to read A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers, he's my newest favourite writer. I also love motivational stories of sportspeople, Lance Armstrong's book It's Not About The Bike is a great example. Bill Bryson's travel books - do they count as memoirs? I am looking forward to reading his actual memoir as well, something about the Thunderbolt Kid. My Family and Other Animals by Gerard Durrell is great for a feelgood read, any Hunter Thompson books for crazy stories of decadent and debaucherous adventures and misbehaving media. I love Richard P. Feynman's books, they appeal to my scientific sensibilities, and the story of his first marriage is beautiful and brings tears to my eyes. I could go on and on!

Anonymous said...

I highly recommend "My Life So Far" by Jane Fonda. An amazing woman and an intriguing read!

Anonymous said...

"A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genuis" is an amazing memoir by Dave Eggers. If you're into memoirs, go for it - it's awesome.

Anonymous said...

Hi Kimberly,
I love memoirs too. Here are a couple of my favorites.

Stolen Lives-
Eat,Pray, Love-
Holy cow-
Falling leaves
It's not about the bike
the color of water
what remains
That is about it.

Anonymous said...

I love memoirs too. Here are a few of my faves.

Falling Leaves
Stolen Lives
Eat, Pray, Love
The Color of Water
What Remains
Female Nomad
Holy Cow



Anonymous said...

"Living My Life" by Emma Goldman is quite amazing in terms of a woman standing for what she believes in.

J.C. Graham said...

Hello Kym,
Greetings from Taiwan. I just want to say that I have never posted or responded to a blog in my entire life. I've been listening to back editions of your podcast and I adore it. You've inspired me and helped me find a bath that I had let become overgrown with hedges. I'm a hip tranquil chick in training and boy is it a blast. Thanks so much for doing what you do and just inspiring women (and maybe some very "unique" men) to be better.
Jerri G.

Unknown said...

I don't know if this is officially a memoir but I love The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. I've also read her biography, which is similar to The Bell Jar but written by somebody else, obviously, and goes into more detail about her death. I also like Anne Sexton's biography.

Anonymous said...

I'm a bit late on this one, but I'd recommend Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain. Its a mixture of autobiography and expose of the restaurant business!