Writing Hard Stories: Celebrated Memoirists Who Shaped Art from Trauma
In her attempt to write a memoir about her father’s death from a secret AIDS infection in 1985, Melanie Brooks was left with some painful questions: What does it take to write an honest memoir? And what happens to us when we embark on that journey? Would she manage it?
Brooks sought guidance from the memoirists who most moved her including Andre Dubus III, Monica Wood, Joan Wickersham, Mark Doty, Marianne Leone, Richard Hoffman, Edwidge Danticat, Michael Patrick MacDonald, Richard Blanco, Abigail Thomas, Sue Silverman, Kate Bornstein, Jerald Walker, and Kyoko Mori to answer these questions.
Writing Hard Stories encourages all writers as they work through their challenging stories. It features some of the country’s most admired writers discussing their treks through dark memories and breakthrough moments, and it demonstrates the healing power of putting words to experience. A unique compilation of authentic stories about the death of a partner, parent, or child; about violence and shunning; and about the process of writing, the book will serve as a tool for teachers of writing and give readers an intimate look into the lives of the authors they love.
Melanie Brooks is a writer, teacher, and mother living in Nashua, New Hampshire with her husband, two children, and yellow Lab. She received her MFA in creative nonfiction from the University of Southern Maine’s Stonecoast Master’s in Fine Arts program. She teaches college writing at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts, and Merrimack College in Andover, Massachusetts. She also teaches creative writing at Nashua Community College in New Hampshire. Her work has appeared in Bustle, Creative Nonfiction, Hippocampus, The Huffington Post, The Manifest-Station, Modern Loss, Solstice Literary Magazine, The Recollectors, Stonecoast Review, Washington Post, and Word Riot. Her almost-completed memoir explores the devastating impact of living with the ten-year secret of her father’s HIV disease before his death in 1995. Brooks’s writing is the vehicle through which she’s starting to understand that impact.