"Okay Boomer"

I wonder how many agents will think “Okay, Boomer” upon seeing my query letter for a memoir from the 1960s. This is part of the negative self-talk I conduct daily, which I acknowledge is not helpful. Don’t many writers have some form of inhibition? In fact my book is full of decisions and actions I made that people today continue to make. They were, on the whole, regrettable but sometimes unavoidable, but that’s why I’m recounting them, to assure the reader that, “You are not alone.”

Another response will be “white privilege.” My disclaimer to that is, it’s a story specifically about non-privilege and disadvantage, swimming against the current of conventional assumptions. As in the Boomer rebuttal, it too depicts situations that people today (minorities included) can identify with, which is one reason I wrote it.

Three parts of a story

I don’t know where I came across this version of the three parts of story, as stated by William Gass:
Impulse (desire) — Intentional actConsequences (end)
Of the variations that I’ve seen in different writing classes, this works best for me.

on writing memoir

“Writers who aspire to make it big as memoirists need to understand that the industry is obsessed with author platform: without one, the likelihood of landing a book deal for a memoir is abysmally low,” says Brooke Warner.*

Well now. That’s discouraging.
Author platform (AKA social media) = web page, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, blog with 500,000 followers, podcasts, a few TED talks, and previous publication. Sorry, no time left for writing!

*Read the entire article, “Memoir, Uninterrupted” at Publishers’ Weekly: https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/authors/pw-select/article/82012-memoir-uninterrupted.html.

more Allen Ginsberg, 1966

SCRIP Magazine

I previously mentioned (see January 5) the party we hosted for Allen Ginsberg in February 1966 in Nebraska. When the March-April issue of the campus literary magazine (SCRIP) appeared, Karl Shapiro wrote a review for the campus newspaper. Karl had won the Pulitzer for poetry and was part of the English Department. The memoir I’m writing has more to say about Ginsberg’s visit.

Allen Ginsberg, 1966

Allen Ginsberg visits University of Nebraska at Lincoln, February 1966

February 1966 – Ginsberg came to the University of Nebraska at Lincoln where I was a freshman. This clipping is from the campus newspaper that week.

My two roommates and I had the biggest place that anyone knew of, so we hosted the big party for the famous beatnik and his friends Peter and Julius Orlovsky.

note to self

Instead of plastering sticky notes all over the front of my desktop screen, I’m posting a consolidated list for my writing project right here to remind me of the steps ahead.

  • finish editing chapters: check footnotes, add fixes
  • get total word count
  • print PDF
  • export sample chapters to Word
  • set up author email
  • rethink book blog
  • query agents