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Memoir Showcase Interviews: Hear from Some of the Authors

Posted by on Oct 17, 2017 in Author Interviews, Blog, Fresh Ink, Inklings | Comments Off on Memoir Showcase Interviews: Hear from Some of the Authors

San Diego Writers, Ink is pleased to be hosting the annual Memoir Showcase at the North Coast Rep on Monday, October 23rd.  Seats are filling quickly, so do purchase them in advance or we might sell out.  $15.

The San Diego Memoir Showcase is produced by San Diego Writers Ink and the San Diego Memoir Association, in association with producers Marni Freedman and Tracy Jones.

Below is an interview with a few of the authors whose work will be performed.

Anastasia Zadeik

Cherie Kephart

K. M. McNeel

John Cunningham

Kathy Pease

Laura Engel

Natalie Freedman

San Diego Writers Ink:

What made you decide to get involved with the SD Memoir Showcase?

Kathy​ ​Pease:​ My class was encouraged to submit by our teacher, Marni. I was very eager to work with a writing coach if my piece was selected.

Anastasia​ ​Zadeik:​ ​I got involved in the SD Memoir Showcase last year because I enjoy live storytelling events. I was intrigued by the idea of having an actress perform something I’d written.

Laura​ ​Engel:​ ​In an Artist’s Way class last year, Kristen and Lydia suggested I might want to submit a piece to the Memoir Showcase. Then this year, my instructor in our Memoir 101 class, Marni, told the class about the Showcase and suggested we enter a scene. It sounded like a challenging and fun experience.

John Cunningham: Encouragement and inspiration from Marni.  I think She could instilling confidence in a rock to walk.

Cherie​ ​Kephart:​ One of the most exciting aspects of writing is making people feel something. The SD memoir showcase offers a unique opportunity to do this in a live forum. The synergy between actor, writer, and audience is electric. I feel fortunate to be a part of it.

K.M.​ ​McNeel:​ ​I participated in a free community-based memoir showcase that Marni Freedman taught 2 years ago and was blown away by the experiences that were told and the power of the process of writing and sharing memoirs. By telling our stories for the first time in front of an audience there was an amazing sense of gratitude for an opportunity to be heard. I became addicted to writing, sharing but mainly listening to memoirs. People’s stories are why I do this. They are always more interesting to me than mine.


SDWI: What is the most important writing tip you’ve ever received?

KP:​ The most important writing tip I’ve received is ” show vs tell”.

AZ:​ ​Trust in your creative process. (now if only I could follow it…)

LE:​ ​ ​Write the book you would want to read and write it like you were telling the story to your best friend.

JC: Anchor a place and time to write make it a habit versus a choir and make it something you look forward to, not run from.

CK:​ I never met him, obviously, but Ernest Hemingway not only gave the world beautiful literature, he gave me my most profound piece of writing advice: “Write hard and clear, and write about what hurts.” That’s what I do–and it works.

KM:​ Marni advised to go deep and into the wound, the pain. That is hard to do but the reward is fresh, affecting and honest material.


SDWI: Can you tell us a little bit about the piece that will be performed for the memoir showcase?

KP:​ In The Peace Offering, I realize at the age of four, that my father, the Sheriff, had a dangerous job and that my friend Buffalo, the prisoner, had a dark side.

Natalie​ ​Freedman:​ My memoir is about participating in a lunch counter sit in in Phoenix in 1960′ I was 21, a young woman who had married her high school sweetheart. I was a part time teacher and a part time social worker and a mostly full time mother of a blond, curly haired baby girl.

AZ:​ ​It’s a story about how I became a storyteller and how the members of my family have filled multiple roles in my life as audience, advisors, critics, and truly inspirational characters.

LE:​ ​ ​My scene is about one of the most important nights in my life. After 49 years, my adopted son and I reunite. The ending is magical.

JC:  “Harlem in Havana” is a glimpse into the nomadic life style of the Carnival world from the eyes of a black kid and his coming of age and learning who he is.

CK:​ My piece is called The Lift. Imagine not being able to drive because of a medical condition and calling for a Lift to take you to your doctor appointment, a forty-five minute drive. It’s October, 2016. The U.S. Presidential Election is in full swing and the driver wants to debate politics. It’s obvious that you are on opposite sides on political beliefs, and the driver gets angry. What do you do, while barreling down on the freeway at nearly 80 miles an hour, your life is in his hands? What happened next was transformative.

KM:​ I was a young woman in over my head with a new job. I couldn’t bring myself to do all of what was asked of me and in the pain of that moment of realization was a learning about real limits and compassion.


SDWI: What are your thoughts about seeing an actor portray you on stage?

KP:​ It is very exciting to see my work performed on stage and to see the audience’s reaction

NF:​ Seeing my words acted out on a stage is an amazing and validating experience. LE:​ I am thrilled to be part of the Memoir Showcase and have the opportunity to see an actor portray me on stage and tell my story. What a great opportunity to hear someone read your work.

JC: Reading the written words, after my editor worked her magic on the 8th rewrite, was a magical motivator for me, but actually hearing the same words read by Hassan, my voice actor, was an awesome experience and it left me with the feeling, “I can do this”!

CK:​ Thrilled. What an extraordinary experience, like none other, seeing someone bring your words to life.

KM:​ I am very excited to see an actor portray me. I expect to learn things I didn’t know. I expect to see new parts of myself that will come out of the words and which only a stranger can see.


SDWI: What are you hoping people will take away from your story?

KP​: I hope the audience will realize, as I did, that my friend was flawed, as we all are, but he was still worthy of my friendship.

NF:​ What I hope people will take away from my story are two concepts that I try to use for my life. 1. Try to have the courage to make my life a blessing. 2. (A Jewish value) If you find yourself in a place where there is no mensch (an honorable person who does good), then you be that mensch.

AZ:​ Sometimes we end up doing what we’re meant to do only after we give up trying to do the things we’re supposed to do.

LE:​ Never give up hope. Dreams do come true.

JC: Memories are important in shaping who you are and writing them down may not only entertaining to others, but might also be a life line to some. Being new to writing and Writers Ink, the thought of entering the Showcase scared the hell out of me.  Even though I didn’t feel I was ready, after reading some of my story, Marni Freedman did and with her guidance and encouragement, I’m glad I did.  With the help of “Super Women”, my coach and editor Tracy Jones, My piece was accepted and won a spot on this years Showcase.   Preparing for Showcase has given me small view of the writing process form concept to final rewrite and I’ve found it to be an awesome experience.

CK:​ No matter how different we are, no matter what our beliefs, there is common ground. We all deserve to be heard, understood, and appreciated. We have the power to change our situation through compassion, which goes a long way. Compassion is what can bridge the gaps in our humanity.

KM:​ ​I hope people will take a second look at obvious answers, reconsider muscular solutions to issues like sexism. I hope people will go home with an expanded feeling for what compassion means.