Hello world, let’s continue from where we stopped yesterday, click here if you didn’t read that – Martha’s been a very deep soul journey
5. So overall, how have you been coping this far?
Writing my memoir helped me reconcile myself to my past and it has helped me to live more fully in the present. I have connected with so many people who have had similar experiences and now I am a speaker for NAMI giving presentations in high school on mental health and suicide prevention. All of that has been tremendously rewarding.
3) The Writing
Did any books/memoirs influence your writing (style, presentation, content)?
The Memory Palace by Mira Bartok offered encouragement to me to tell my story. It is about her experiences living with a mother with mental illness. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls is another exemplary memoir that will soon be made into a movie.
Did you have a writing mentor?
I utilized methods taught by Brooke Warner and Linda Joy Meyers of the National Association of Memoir Writers http://namw.org/ to sort through my writing and create a scaffolding and timeline of important turning points in my life. Studying the memoir writing genre connected me with a vibrant writing community online and in real life.
Which was the most difficult chapter to write in your memoir and why?
I called one of the last chapters in my book “The Hardest Chapter”. I suppose you will need to read the book in order to find out why that is.
Which was your favourite chapter to write and why?
My favourite parts of the book are the chapters in Part One called “The Magic” because as I wrote these chapters I was able to escape back into the memories of a mostly happy childhood.
Did you learn anything from writing your memoir and if yes, what was it?
I learned that I am not alone in my experience. Writing my memoir was a very healing and cathartic experience and it has been gratifying to be able to help others through their healing process as well.
How long did it take you to write and get the memoir published?
It took me about seven years to write the book and find a publisher. Once I signed the contract, it took another 13 months for it to actually appear in print.
4) The Message
Do you have any advice for other memoir writers especially on challenging subjects like mental health?
Study the memoir writing genre and connect with the memoir writing community. I took memoir writing courses offered through the public library and online. Read as many memoirs as you can. All these things will help you find your own voice. Don’t get discouraged and try to write a little each day, even if it’s only for 15 minutes.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Early treatment and diagnosis are important so you should seek professional help if you suspect you or a family member is experiencing a mental health crisis.
Any other writing projects, blogging etc?
I am currently writing a novella, my first attempt at fiction. I don’t blog regularly but I admire those that do!
Where can your memoir be found?
On Amazon, through Barnes & Noble, Kobo; my publisher Black Opal Books, and Scribd. Here are the links:
Thank you very much Martha for answering our questions. We hope to stay informed of any updates with your projects.
Martha Graham-Waldon is a writer, mental health advocate and armchair activist who resides in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California with her family and a menagerie of pets. Her articles have been published locally, internationally and online. She is a winner of the 2015 Women’s Memoirs contest for a vignette based on her memoir in the anthology Tales of our Lives. Her memoir Nothing Like Normal—Surviving a Sibling’s Schizophrenia was published by Black Opal Books and is available on Amazon. In addition to writing, Martha loves travel, the outdoors, Jazzercise and music.