102 episodes

Let’s Talk Memoir is a podcast for memoir lovers, readers, and writers, featuring interviews with memoirists about their writing process, their challenges, and what they’ve learned about sharing the most personal of narratives. Hosted by writer, speaker, and memoirist Ronit Plank, each episode highlights different aspects of the memoir-writing experience, and offers writing tips, and inspiration.

More about Ronit: https://ronitplank.com
More about WHEN SHE COMES BACK, a memoir: https://ronitplank.com/book/
Sign up for monthly podcast and writing updates: https://bit.ly/33nyTKd

Let’s Talk Memoir Ronit Plank

    • Arts
    • 5.0 • 112 Ratings

Let’s Talk Memoir is a podcast for memoir lovers, readers, and writers, featuring interviews with memoirists about their writing process, their challenges, and what they’ve learned about sharing the most personal of narratives. Hosted by writer, speaker, and memoirist Ronit Plank, each episode highlights different aspects of the memoir-writing experience, and offers writing tips, and inspiration.

More about Ronit: https://ronitplank.com
More about WHEN SHE COMES BACK, a memoir: https://ronitplank.com/book/
Sign up for monthly podcast and writing updates: https://bit.ly/33nyTKd

    The Immersive, Lyric Memoir and Becoming Unstuck from Shame featuring Anne Gudger

    The Immersive, Lyric Memoir and Becoming Unstuck from Shame featuring Anne Gudger

    Anne Gudger joins Let’s Talk memoir for a conversation about loss and choosing love every day, giving grief a microphone, voice-driven writing and breaking structure rules, essays for platform-building, holding both the raw experience and the long view, the legacy of shame and becoming unstuck, shifting energy in our bodies, and the metaphysical and spiritual components of her memoir The Fifth Chamber.
     
    Also in this episode:
    -journaling as source material
    -normalizing grief
    -taking care ourselves when working on painful material
     
    Books mentioned in this episode:
    Chronology of Water by Lidia Yuknavitch
    Bluets by Maggie Nelson
    Group by Christie Tate
     
    Anne Gudger is a memoir/essay writer who writes hard and loves harder. She’s the author of THE FIFTH CHAMBER, published by Jaded Ibis Press September 2023. She's been published in multiple journals including The Rumpus, Real Simple Magazine, Tupelo Quarterly, Sweet Lit, Cutthroat, CutBank, Columbia Journal, The Normal School, Los Angeles Review, and elsewhere. She's won four essay contests and has been a Best of the Net Nominee twice. March 2020 she and her daughter founded Coffee and Grief: a community that includes a monthly reading series. Everybody grieves and when we share grief we feel less alone. She also co-created the podcast: Coffee, Grief, and Gratitude. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her beloved husband. 
     
    Connect with Anne:
    Website: https://www.annegudger.com
    Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/annegudger/
    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/anne.gudger
    Get Anne’s Book: https://bit.ly/3nZIvEy
    Write Your Grief Out: https://writeyourgriefout.thinkific.com/courses/writeyourgriefoutOct
     

    Ronit’s writing has appeared in The Atlantic, The Rumpus, The New York Times, The Iowa Review, Hippocampus, The Washington Post, Writer’s Digest, American Literary Review, and elsewhere. Her memoir WHEN SHE COMES BACK about the loss of her mother to the guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh and their eventual reconciliation was named Finalist in the 2021 Housatonic Awards Awards, the 2021 Indie Excellence Awards, and was a 2021 Book Riot Best True Crime Book. Her short story collection HOME IS A MADE-UP PLACE won Hidden River Arts’ 2020 Eludia Award and the 2023 Page Turner Awards for Short Stories. She earned an MFA in Nonfiction Writing at Pacific University, is Creative Nonfiction Editor at The Citron Review, and lives in Seattle with her family where she teaches memoir workshops and is working on her next book.
    More about Ronit: https://ronitplank.com
     
    Sign up for monthly podcast and writing updates: https://bit.ly/33nyTKd
    Substack: https://substack.com/@ronitplank
    Newsletter sign-up: https://ronitplank.com/#signup
     
    Follow Ronit:
    https://www.instagram.com/ronitplank/
    https://twitter.com/RonitPlank
    https://www.facebook.com/RonitPlank

    Background photo credit: Photo by Patrick Tomasso on Unsplash
    Headshot photo credit: Sarah Anne Photography
    Theme music: Isaac Joel, Dead Moll’s Fingers

    • 40 min
    A Conversation with Nonfiction Director at Ballantine Books Sara Weiss

    A Conversation with Nonfiction Director at Ballantine Books Sara Weiss

    Sara Weiss joins Let’s Talk Memoir for a conversation about the path to her career in publishing and her role as Nonfiction Director and Ballantine, what memoir writers always need to ask themselves, her interest in memoir with purpose, the blockbuster model and the editorial decision making process, building a writing community, how many books we can realistically sell, making our work ready, and the pace of publishing these days.   Also in this episode: -the importance of voice, platform, and hook -selling on proposals and fulls -how all writers need to hustle   Book mentioned in this episode: Truth and Beauty by Ann Patchett Wild by Cheryl Strayed Men We Reaped by Jesmyn Ward What My Bones Know by Stephanie Foo The In-Between by Hadley Vlahos R.N. Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth GIlbert Educated by Tara Westover   Sara Weiss (she/her) is the Editorial Director for Nonfiction at Ballantine, where she focuses mostly on nonfiction, while also publishing select fiction titles. She’s been privileged to publish bestselling and critically acclaimed authors such as Linda Holmes, R. Eric Thomas, Emily Nagoski, Stephanie Foo, Hadley Vlahos, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Cody Rigsby, Hannah Gadsby, Annie Hartnett, Lilly Singh, and Lauren Graham. Her upcoming list includes NBC News reporter Yamiche Alcindor’s memoir, Don’t Forget and the novel, Blue Sisters, by Coco Mellors.  Connect with Sara: X: https://x.com/SaraWeissWriter Links: https://linktr.ee/SaraWeissWriter More about Ballantine:https://www.randomhousebooks.com/imprint/ballantine-books/     — Ronit’s writing has appeared in The Atlantic, The Rumpus, The New York Times, The Iowa Review, Hippocampus, The Washington Post, Writer’s Digest, American Literary Review, and elsewhere. Her memoir WHEN SHE COMES BACK about the loss of her mother to the guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh and their eventual reconciliation was named Finalist in the 2021 Housatonic Awards Awards, the 2021 Indie Excellence Awards, and was a 2021 Book Riot Best True Crime Book. Her short story collection HOME IS A MADE-UP PLACE won Hidden River Arts’ 2020 Eludia Award and the 2023 Page Turner Awards for Short Stories. She earned an MFA in Nonfiction Writing at Pacific University, is Creative Nonfiction Editor at The Citron Review, and lives in Seattle with her family where she teaches memoir workshops and is working on her next book. More about Ronit: https://ronitplank.com   Sign up for monthly podcast and writing updates: https://bit.ly/33nyTKd   Follow Ronit: https://www.instagram.com/ronitplank/ https://twitter.com/RonitPlank https://www.facebook.com/RonitPlank   Background photo credit: Photo by Patrick Tomasso on Unsplash Headshot photo credit: Sarah Anne Photography Theme music: Isaac Joel, Dead Moll’s Fingers

    • 44 min
    Memoir Through A Mythic Lens featuring Maureen Murdock

    Memoir Through A Mythic Lens featuring Maureen Murdock

    Maureen Murdock joins Let’s Talk Memoir for a conversation about how myths help excavate our stories, memoir as a way to reclaim the past,  invisible primary patterns in the psyche, letting ourselves meander and reflect, using process journals to excavate fears about being vulnerable, allowing structure to emerge, a favorite prompt of hers, and her latest book Mythmaking: Self-Discovery and the Timeless Art of Memoir
     
    Books mentioned in this episode:
    Safekeeping by Abigail Thomas
    The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
    The Color of Water by James McBride
    Smile by Sarah Ruhl
    Know My Name by Chanel Miller
    Why Be Happy When You Can Be Normal by Jeanette Winterson
    The Tender Bar by J.R. Moehringer
     
    Maureen Murdock, Ph.D. is the author of her new book Mythmaking: Self-Discovery and the Timeless Art of Memoir and the author of the best-selling book, The Heroine’s Journey, which explores the rich territory of the feminine psyche and has been translated into twenty languages. Maureen is also author of Unreliable Truth: On Memoir and Memory; Fathers’ Daughters: Breaking the Ties that Bind; Spinning Inward: Using Guided Imagery with Children; and The Heroine’s Journey Workbook. She is the editor of an anthology entitled Monday Morning Memoirs: Women in the Second Half of Life and teaches memoir for the International Women’s Writing Guild and in Pacifica Graduate Institute’s program, Writing Down the Soul. Maureen was Chair and Core Faculty of the M.A. Counseling Program at Pacifica Graduate Institute. She has written pieces for the Huffington Post on criminal justice and volunteers for the Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) with inmates at Lompoc Federal Prison.
     
    Connect with Maureen:
    Website: www.maureenmurdock.com
    Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/murdockmaureen
    Facebook: www.facebook.com/maureen.murdock/author
    Get Maureen’s Book: https://www.shambhala.com/mythmaking.html
     

    Ronit’s writing has appeared in The Atlantic, The Rumpus, The New York Times, The Iowa Review, Hippocampus, The Washington Post, Writer’s Digest, American Literary Review, and elsewhere. Her memoir WHEN SHE COMES BACK about the loss of her mother to the guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh and their eventual reconciliation was named Finalist in the 2021 Housatonic Awards Awards, the 2021 Indie Excellence Awards, and was a 2021 Book Riot Best True Crime Book. Her short story collection HOME IS A MADE-UP PLACE won Hidden River Arts’ 2020 Eludia Award and the 2023 Page Turner Awards for Short Stories. She earned an MFA in Nonfiction Writing at Pacific University, is Creative Nonfiction Editor at The Citron Review, and lives in Seattle with her family where she teaches memoir workshops and is working on her next book.
    More about Ronit: https://ronitplank.com
     
    Sign up for monthly podcast and writing updates: https://bit.ly/33nyTKd
     
    Follow Ronit:
    https://www.instagram.com/ronitplank/
    https://twitter.com/RonitPlank
    https://www.facebook.com/RonitPlank
     
    Background photo credit: Photo by Patrick Tomasso on Unsplash
    Headshot photo credit: Sarah Anne Photography
    Theme music: Isaac Joel, Dead Moll’s Fingers

    • 36 min
    The Gift of a Late Diagnosis and a Life of Service featuring Vickie Rubin

    The Gift of a Late Diagnosis and a Life of Service featuring Vickie Rubin

    Vickie Rubin joins Let’s Talk Memoir for a conversation about raising a child with medical complexities and intellectual disabilities, submicroscopic chromosomal deletions, incorporating clippings, news articles, and photographs in memoir, when you feel something is wrong with your child, her career in the helping field, overcoming marriage struggles while raising children with disabilities, advocating for other families and for herself, the gift of a late diagnosis, the decision to move her daughter to a group home, and her memoir Raising Jess: A Story of Hope.
     
    Also in this episode:
    -when pediatricians don’t listen
    -journal entries as resources
    -raising children of siblings with disabilities
     
    Books mentioned in this episode:
    Left on Tenth Delia Ephron
    The Shape of Normal by Catherine Shields
    The Color of Love by Marra Gad
     
    Vickie Schlanger Rubin, M.S Ed. is a three-time award-winning author of the inspiring memoir, Raising Jess: A Story of Hope. She is an experienced public speaker and passionate advocate for families of children with disabilities. Vickie's essays are published in Newsweek (My Turn), Buffalo News Opinion (My View), and guest blogs worldwide. She is a frequent Podcast guest sharing information about raising a child with a disability, inspiring hope, family dynamics, education, and advocacy. Her blog, Vickie's Views (www.vickierubin.com), gives a heartwarming and humorous view of everyday life.
    Before writing her book, Vickie was the director of the Early Childhood Direction Center (ECDC) for Oishei Children's Hospital, Kaleida Health, a New York State Education Department grant-funded program. During her career, Vickie was a frequent guest speaker at local colleges and universities and was an adjunct teacher in the Exceptional Education Department at Buffalo State College.
    Vickie holds a master's degree in Exceptional Education from SUNY Buffalo State College and resides in Western New York. She and her husband Mitch celebrated their 42nd wedding anniversary, and they have three children, three grandchildren, and two very active dogs. 
     
    Connect with Vickie:
    Vickie’s Views- https://vickierubin.com/
    Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/RaisingJessStory
    Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/raisingjessstory.vickierubin/
    X ( Twitter)- https://twitter.com/vickierubin
    LinkedIn- https://www.linkedin.com/in/vickie-rubin-aa1a09177/
    Threads- https://www.threads.net/@vickierubin.author
    Get Raising Jess: https://www.amazon.com/Raising-Jess-Story-Vickie-Rubin/dp/1662407416
    https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/raising-jess-vickie-rubin/1139804006
    https://www.walmart.com/ip/Raising-Jess-A-Story-of-Hope-Paperback-9781662407413/443928331
     

    Ronit’s writing has appeared in The Atlantic, The Rumpus, The New York Times, The Iowa Review, Hippocampus, The Washington Post, Writer’s Digest, American Literary Review, and elsewhere. Her memoir WHEN SHE COMES BACK about the loss of her mother to the guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh and their eventual reconciliation was named Finalist in the 2021 Housatonic Awards Awards, the 2021 Indie Excellence Awards, and was a 2021 Book Riot Best True Crime Book. Her short story collection HOME IS A MADE-UP PLACE won Hidden River Arts’ 2020 Eludia Award and the 2023 Page Turner Awards for Short Stories. She earned an MFA in Nonfiction Writing at Pacific University, is Creative Nonfiction Editor at The Citron Review, and lives in Seattle with her family where she teaches memoir workshops and is working on her next book.
    More about Ronit: https://ronitplank.com
    Subscribe to Ronit’s Substack: https://substack.com/@ronitplank
    Sign up for monthly podcast and writing updates: https://bit.ly/33nyTKd
     
    Follow Ronit:
    https://www.instagram.com/ronitplank/
    https://twitter.com/RonitPlank
    https://www.facebook.com/RonitPlank
     
    Background photo credit: Photo by Patrick Tomasso on Unsplash
    Headshot photo credit: Sarah Anne Photography
    Theme music: Isaac Joel, Dead Moll’s Fingers

    • 40 min
    Truth Is the Arrow, Mercy Is the Bow featuring Steve Almond

    Truth Is the Arrow, Mercy Is the Bow featuring Steve Almond

    Steve Almond joins Let’s Talk Memoir for a conversation about the ambivalence memoirists often experience when writing about others, the story underneath the story we are telling, disrupting the negative feedback loop of writer’s block, dialing the ego down, questions of inner life, his contribution to Dear Sugars podcast, generosity and mercy in our work, performing versus storytelling, how our failures are actually are teachers, and his new book on writing, Truth Is the Arrow, Mercy Is the Bow.
     
    Also in this episode:
    -the contract we make with the reader
    -the surrender involved in writing
    -holding other people in our stories 
     
    Books mentioned in this episode:
    Wild by Cheryl Strayed
    Memorial Drive by Natasha Tretheway
    Easy Beauty by Chloe Cooper Jones
    The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
    Truth and Beauty by Anne Patchett
    We Learn Nothing by Tim Kreider
    Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
    Notes of a Native Son by James Baldwin
    A Long Way Home by Saroo Brierley
    Duke of Deception by Geoffrey Wolff
    Pieces of My Mother by Melissa Cistero
    Work by Nora Ephron and Joan Didion

    Steve Almond is the author of a dozen books, including the NYT Bestsellers “Candyfreak” and “Against Football.” His novel, “All the Secrets of the World” has been optioned for TV by 20th Century Fox. His new book, “Truth Is the Arrow, Mercy Is the Bow” and his stories and essays have appeared in venues ranging from the New York Times Magazine to Best American Short Stories, Best American Mysteries, and Best American Erotica. He teaches at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism and lives outside Boston with his family.
     
    Connect with Steve:
    Website: www.stevealmondjoy.org
    Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/stevealmondjoy
    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/steve.almond.33
    Steve’s Book: https://www.amazon.com/Truth-Arrow-Mercy-Bow-Construction/dp/1638931305
     

    Ronit’s writing has appeared in The Atlantic, The Rumpus, The New York Times, The Iowa Review, Hippocampus, The Washington Post, Writer’s Digest, American Literary Review, and elsewhere. Her memoir WHEN SHE COMES BACK about the loss of her mother to the guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh and their eventual reconciliation was named Finalist in the 2021 Housatonic Awards Awards, the 2021 Indie Excellence Awards, and was a 2021 Book Riot Best True Crime Book. Her short story collection HOME IS A MADE-UP PLACE won Hidden River Arts’ 2020 Eludia Award and the 2023 Page Turner Awards for Short Stories. She earned an MFA in Nonfiction Writing at Pacific University, is Creative Nonfiction Editor at The Citron Review, and lives in Seattle with her family where she teaches memoir workshops and is working on her next book.
    More about Ronit: https://ronitplank.com
    Subscribe to Ronit’s Substack: https://substack.com/@ronitplank
    Sign up for monthly podcast and writing updates: https://bit.ly/33nyTKd
     
    Follow Ronit:
    https://www.instagram.com/ronitplank/
    https://twitter.com/RonitPlank
    https://www.facebook.com/RonitPlank
     
    Background photo credit: Photo by Patrick Tomasso on Unsplash
    Headshot photo credit: Sarah Anne Photography
    Theme music: Isaac Joel, Dead Moll’s Fingers

    • 50 min
    The Situation and the Story featuring Ms. Vivian Gornick

    The Situation and the Story featuring Ms. Vivian Gornick

    Acclaimed memoirist and teacher Vivian Gornick joins Let’s Talk Memoir for a conversation about the origins of her approach to memoir, the crucial difference between situations and stories, why implicating ourselves in our work makes us trustworthy to our reader, clarifying our narratives, how she discovered what her story was truly about, why some writing questions are unanswerable, and her well-loved and oft-repeated advice: “In order for the drama to deepen we must see the loneliness of the monster and the cunning of the innocent.”
    Also in this episode:
    -Autofiction
    -the importance of trusted readers and editors
    -seeing ourselves clearly
     
    Books mentioned in this episode:
    -Autofiction by Annie Ernaux
    -The Situation and the Story by Vivian Gornick
    -Fierce Attachments by Vivian Gornick
    -The Odd Woman and the City by Vivian Gornick
    Vivian Gornick is a feminist critic, journalist, essayist, and memoirist who was born in the Bronx and grew up in a family of working-class immigrants.  Meghan O’Rourke of The Yale Review describes her as having written some of the most remarkable journalism of our time. “Her career got its start in the heady days of second-wave feminism, which she wrote about for the alternative weekly The Village Voice. In her work, she cultivated a fierce and unapologetic intellectual voice that could also be intensely personal. Another way to put it: she made powerful, no-holds-barred arguments, but she was also a gifted storyteller.”
    She is the recipient of a Ford Foundation grant and a Guggenheim Fellowship and her essays and articles have appeared in Bookforum, the Los Angeles Times, the Nation, the New York Times Book Review, the New Yorker, Threepenny Review, and the Women's Review of Books. She taught for many years in MFA programs all over the country, including those at the University of Houston, the University of Arizona, Sarah Lawrence College, and the New School in New York City, and in 2015 she served as the Bedell Distinguished Visiting Professor in the University of Iowa's Nonfiction Writing Program.
    Some of her books include The Men In My Life, The End of the Novel of Love, Approaching Eye Level, Essays in Feminism, The Odd Woman and the City, Fierce Attachments, and The Situation and the Story.

    Ronit’s writing has appeared in The Atlantic, The Rumpus, The New York Times, The Iowa Review, Hippocampus, The Washington Post, Writer’s Digest, American Literary Review, and elsewhere. Her memoir WHEN SHE COMES BACK about the loss of her mother to the guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh and their eventual reconciliation was named Finalist in the 2021 Housatonic Awards Awards, the 2021 Indie Excellence Awards, and was a 2021 Book Riot Best True Crime Book. Her short story collection HOME IS A MADE-UP PLACE won Hidden River Arts’ 2020 Eludia Award and the 2023 Page Turner Awards for Short Stories. She earned an MFA in Nonfiction Writing at Pacific University, is Creative Nonfiction Editor at The Citron Review, and lives in Seattle with her family where she teaches memoir workshops and is working on her next book.
    More about Ronit: https://ronitplank.com
    Subscribe to Ronit’s Substack: https://substack.com/@ronitplank
    Sign up for monthly podcast and writing updates: https://bit.ly/33nyTKd
     
    Follow Ronit:
    https://www.instagram.com/ronitplank/
    https://twitter.com/RonitPlank
    https://www.facebook.com/RonitPlank
     
    Background photo credit: Photo by Patrick Tomasso on Unsplash
    Headshot photo credit: Sarah Anne Photography
    Theme music: Isaac Joel, Dead Moll’s Fingers

    • 45 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
112 Ratings

112 Ratings

Jennifer Moorman Bolanos ,

Favorite Podcast

I’ve been listening for a while but now I’m going back for episodes I’ve missed. I learn so much from Ronit and her guests.

The only downside to this show is that I’m ordering too many books!

StaceyHettes ,

Terrific

So grateful to have stumbled on this podcast, terrific guests and enlightening conversations.

WendyHawkes_author ,

A shining light for Memoir

Ronit Plank is shining a bright, white spotlight on memoir. Her intimate knowledge of the genre coupled with excellent interviewing skills allow memoir writers, lovers of memoir, and anyone who’s ever wondered what memoir is all about to gain insight. Her guests reveal vulnerable truths along with craft tips, their journeys to publishing, and books that inspired them. This is a professional, insightful podcast that’s not to be missed.

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