What is memoir good for?

Writing is the way I try to make sense of my life, try to find meaning in accident, reasons why what happens happens. Sometimes just holding a pen in my hand and writing milk butter eggs sugar calms me. Truth is what I’m ultimately after—truth or clarity. Writing memoir is a way to figure out who you used to be and how you got to be who you are.  — Abigail Thomas, “Thinking about Memoir,” AARP magazine, July/August 2008

Book Reviews

All The Houses

All The Houses by Karen Olsson explores family relationships, Washington D.C., and the Iran-Contra Affair. Published in 2015, it’s especially timely in 2020, exploring the United States’ history with Iran.  Olsson expertly nudges the blurred lines between a father’s loyalty to the government and the conflicts within his family. She “writes about how Washington turns people into unnatural versions of themselves, how outside forces can warp family relationships, and how the familial nostalgia that sets in during early adulthood can prove counterproductive to actually becoming an adult.” Easy to read, entertaining, and informative.

Places to submit

North American Review

“As the oldest literary magazine in the nation, our selected works reflect the breadth of the American experience, and encompass any voices that are committed to telling rich narratives that challenge the status quo.” From North American Review’s website: “We read during the academic year. We close during university breaks. The North American Review is the oldest literary magazine in America (founded in 1815) and one of the most respected. We are interested in high-quality poetry, fiction, and nonfiction on any subject; however, we are especially interested in work that addresses contemporary North American concerns and issues, particularly with the environment, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and class. We read during the academic year. We close during most university breaks. The submission fee helps us defer a small portion of our printing and distribution costs.   We like stories that start quickly and have a strong narrative arc. Poems that are passionate about subject,…

Book Reviews

The Dream Lover

In The Dream Lover, Elizabeth Berg imagines the life of Amantine Lucile Aurore Dupin (better known as the writer, George Sand) from childhood to her last days. In her captivating style of writing, Elizabeth explores the difficulties of being a woman in a man’s world in the 1800’s. Elizabeth departs from her previous writing style of using fiction as a vehicle to tackle important subjects to using a real person as the starting point to begin this novel, based on true stories. Elizabeth explains how she came to write The Dream Lover, “One day, while reading The Writer’s Almanac, I came across some very intriguing facts about the life of Aurore Dudevant, who took the pen name George Sand when she began publishing novels. Given that her life seemed to be so interesting, so dramatic, I wanted to read a novel about her—I prefer reading novels to biographies, because fiction…

Book Reviews

The Hidden Messages in Water

Dr. Masaru Emoto discovered that molecules of water are affected by our thoughts, words, and feelings. Using high-speed photography, Dr. Emoto revealed how crystals formed in frozen water change when thoughts are directed towards them. When I read Dr. Emoto’s book, The Hidden Messages in Water, it was a lightbulb moment . . .  really, an Aha! moment. I realized that our emotions and thoughts affect not only water, but one another as well. So be careful what you think, vibrational energy is listening. Masaru Emoto (1943-2014) was an internationally renowned Japanese researcher who achieved worldwide acclaim when his research visually captured the structure of water at the moment of freezing, showing the direct consequences of destructive thoughts and the thoughts of love and appreciation in the formation of water crystals. The revelation that our thoughts can influence water has profound implications for our health and the well-being of the…

Places to submit

Ninth Letter

Ninth Letter publishes one issue in the spring and one in the fall and accepts submissions of fiction from September 1 to November 30 and from January 1 to February 28 (postmark dates) We are accepting submissions of poetry and essays from September 1 to February 28 (postmark dates).  We are interested in prose and poetry that experiment with form, narrative, and nontraditional subject matter, as well as more traditional literary work. Please adhere to the guidelines when submitting your work to Ninth Letter. Ninth Letter pays $25 per printed page, upon publication, for accepted material, as well as two complimentary copies of the issue in which the work appears.