Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Another Postcard from California

The residents of Chaparral House in Berkeley are reading In Cahoots and have been sending us messages via Facebook. Here's the latest, from book-group facilitator Paul Andrew:
"Fun Book Club today. We were able to access the Web—clumsily, but ended up hearing D'Ann's reading of being a dancer and Ruth's story about the nosy neighbor who got an earful about the whorehouse for 80-year-olds. This got giggles from my residents who could hear. 
-the education process in rural Vermont that Idora went through and discussing each of their experiences in grade school and Junior High.
-and how old was old enough for college? Riding a sleigh to school was a source of fascination too for them all to hear. Many of our residents come from warmer climates and moneyed backgrounds."

Thanks, PA, and greetings to our friends at Chaparral House. We are delighted that you're staying in touch.

Join Us on Saturday, July 30, @ 1 pm

The village of Woodstock, Vermont, will hold its third annual book fair, known as Bookstock, this weekend, with more than 30 free workshops and presentations. I'll be talking about memoir-writing in the Town Hall Conference Room at 1 pm on Saturday. With me will be Mary Jacobs and Shirly Hook. Mary will read from In Cahoots, Shirly will read about the time Moochie ate her T-shirt, and I'll tell the story behind the Hale Street Gang and give people some advice on how to start (or finish) a memoir of their own. Tip: Park at the Elementary School.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Saturday Mornings @ Korongo

Today we held the first of our informal readings at Korongo, the art gallery on Merchants Row in Randolph. Dorcas's piece, about growing up in Brookfield, gave rise to a discussion of how to structure your memoir. By coincidence, this afternoon a friend sent me a link to a really good piece about that very topic, and here it is: "Structure. Period.

The Saturday-morning reading series will continue through the summer and perhaps beyond. We're here from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Feel free to drop in. Readers and listeners welcome.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Update from Chaparral House

From Paul Cooley, our California correspondent, comes this update on the reading of The Hale Street Gang: In Cahoots by the residents of Chaparral House in Berkeley:
"Today's topic: Educating our elders about haying, thanks to Idora's memories. Discussing woman's work vs men's work and what that means. Margaret inspired memories of Toronto under the British flag for one resident. D'Ann inspired the unique delicate and often complicated relationships between mothers, daughters, and sisters."
I'd love to meet these folks. Skype, anybody?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Postcard From California

Chaparral House in Berkeley, California, has posted a Facebook "review" of The Hale Street Gang: In Cahoots. On June 29, CH staff member Paul Cooley wrote on my wall: "The first meeting of the Chaparral House Book Club was a success! After reading [the anthology] of the Hale Street Gang, David recalled his family cook, Deidre and Bettey remembered the Ice Man in vivid detail and Lou recalled his time as an Infantryman in WWII!" Today I got this update from Paul: "Book Club continues to inspire great conversation. Today's topic was D'Ann's grandfather's employee Charlie teaching her morals from a simple [explanation]: 'Because you don't, that's all.' It led to a huge discussion on where we learn our morals growing up—other than our parents." ("D'Ann" is of course author D'Ann Fago.) Chaparral House is an eldercare residence, and we are so pleased that its residents are enjoying our stories. Thanks, Paul, for organizing the reading of In Cahoots and for sharing the response with us.