Saturday, January 18, 2020

#001 The Magnification of One Memory In Memoir "TWO MINUS ONE: A MEMOIR

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****Kathryn Taylor’s TWO MINUS ONE: A MEMOIR is #001 in the never-ending series called THE MAGNIFICATION OF ONE MEMORY IN MEMOIR. All THE MAGNIFICATION OF ONE MEMORY IN MEMOIR links are at the end of this piece. 

Name of memoir? And were there other names you considered that you would like to share with us? The name of my book is Two Minus One: A Memoir. As is often the case when a book is published, the title is changed from the original title that the author used as the driver for the writing. I wrote my story with the title When the Other Shoe Drops – or He’s Really NOT in it for Life. That title compelled me to write my story after the unexpected betrayal by the husband who repeatedly promised I could, “Quit waiting for the other shoe to drop, I am in this for life.”
          The title was changed as the publisher, Brooke Warner (Below Right), was convinced that the title was too cliché, and clichés do not sell. In retrospect, I believe that the new title presents me as more proactive and in control of my life rather than reactive and allowing someone else to control my actions and decisions.
What is the description of this memoir? Two Minus One: A Memoir is a personal story of strength, resiliency and empowerment. It is a detailed account of how unexpected hardship leads to the discovery of untapped inner strength, enlightenment, renewal, and a triumphant new beginning. It provides the reader the gift of hope, courage, and confidence. If I, as the author, could overcome what had occurred to me, others can do the same. 
What is the date you began writing this memoir and the date when you completed the memoir? I began writing my story in July, 2015 at the encouragement of a friend. I finished my manuscript the end of November 2016 and sent it off to the five people who had supported me throughout my journey. They each provided enthusiastic support for my product and encouraged me to consider publication in order to offer encouragement to others experiencing a similar situation.

Where did you do most of your writing for this memoir?  And please describe in detail.  I began work on my story at the beach over the July 4th holiday weekend. I spent three days brainstorming chapter titles, reviewing quotes that had helped me through my ordeal and writing a dedication, preface and prologue.
Whenever possible, I wrote at the beach. 
          However, it was not always practical or convenient so much of the work was done at home. I am fortunate to have an office with a large workspace, a large kitchen and dining room table, and a screened porch which affords me not only a great deal of sunshine, but a much needed sense of peace and inspiration.

What were your writing habits while writing this memoir- did you drink something as you wrote, listen to music, write in pen and paper, directly on laptop; specific time of day? I did not have a set time or place that was predetermined for my writing. I was writing to make sense of a devastating experience and I wrote whenever I had thoughts or ideas that demanded my attention. Wherever I wrote at home – unless it was scribbling ideas in the bed – I had a scented candle, a bottle of water, and a variety of pads, notebooks, pens and post it notes at hand. I also have a variety of inspirational quotes and cards nearby as well as handheld stress relief products in a variety of fun and motivational shapes. I wrote everything by hand and arranged pages throughout the house often ordering/reordering/editing my work with an array of colored pens. When it came time to compose my thoughts into document form, I worked only in my upstairs office with the above items at hand. When I had printed pages, I would again lay them out across tabletops or floors, and literally cut and paste the copies together in improved sequential order. I am unable to focus with any background noise, so there was never music.

How do you define memoir?  And what makes memoir different from an autobiography? To me, memoir recounts the personal struggle and awakening resulting from a specific event or series of events in an author’s life. It is a raw and detailed portrayal of an emotional or physical challenge, which the author faced, worked through, and conquered. The purpose of memoir is to support a theme – in my case, personal empowerment – and to make a point – that we have an untapped strength and resiliency, which we only realize when we are called upon to use it.
An autobiography covers the entire span of an author’s life while a memoir deals with a specific and more limited timeline or event.

Out of all the specific memories you write about in this memoir, which ONE MEMORY was the most emotional for you to write about? And can you share that specific excerpt with us here.  The excerpt can be as short or as long as you prefer, and please provide page numbers as reference. The most emotional memory in the book was the unexpected loss of my father.(p81-87) 
          Although I was having a great deal of difficulty dealing with the unforeseen abandonment by my husband, the death of my father during this time compounded my pain and shook my very foundation. I had loved my husband without reservation and was struggling to regain sense in my world. Then my father died suddenly, and I found myself without the wisdom of my final parent. My father had been my mentor, my support, and my strength throughout my entire life and now I was without my spouse and was also an orphan. I had inherited his optimistic attitude, his belief that I had the strength to rise above all obstacles and the power to positively impact the world around me. His death was unexpected and, (Excerpt Below)
“I had been unable to say goodbye to my father before he died, and continually went over the details of our last telephone conversation, the day of his death.” (p83) Sorting through his things with his widow, I realized that, “…what I was looking at was the closet of a man who proudly escorted his wife, whom he loved dearly, on his arm whenever they stepped out to enjoy a social occasion.” (p.83) “As a military veteran, my father would be buried in Arlington National Cemetery. Therefore, I had to gather strength both for services in his town of residence and for a trip to Arlington four months later.” (p.83) “After the service and the family gathering that followed, we drove back to our hotel…The man we had both loved had been officially laid to rest.” (p.87)

Can you describe the step-by-step process of writing about this ONE MEMORY? The difficulty in writing about all memories that go into memoir is the continual reliving of the most painful moments of one’s life. As an author, one wants to be as concise, relevant, and unbiased as possible about sharing these intimate moments. However, as a human who has suffered the loss and/or experienced the tragedy, it is excruciating reliving those very moments to share with the reader.
Were there any deletions from this excerpt that you can share with us? I worked very hard to be forthright and present the raw emotions that I was experiencing during my ordeal. The only deletions that were made were intimate family communication that would not enhance the story, could cause pain or embarrassment to family members, and remain private.
Other works you have published? I contributed an essay entitled Royal Support to The Pulpwood Queens Celebrate 20 Years which describes my first encounter with Kathy L. Murphy (Below Left) and her Pulpwood Queen Girlfriend’s Weekend.

Anything you would like to add? I would like to thank every individual who has supported me throughout this journey. I appreciate your reading, reviewing, and sharing my story. You have had a profound impact on my life, and I hope to meet even more of you in person in the coming months. I also want to suggest that if you have a desire to write and a story to share, sit down and do it. It is never too late to achieve your dreams or restructure your goals. If I can do it, anyone can.

Kathryn Taylor was born at the Great Lakes Naval Station near Chicago, Illinois and spent much of her life in the Chicagoland area. She spent nearly thirty years in the classrooms of Illinois, California, and Virginia before she retired from teaching and relocated to South Carolina. It was there that she wrote her book, Two Minus One: A Memoir (November 2018 from She Writes Press) following the unexpected abandonment by her second husband. Two Minus One: A Memoir received a starred Kirkus Review and was subsequently named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2018. It is an Amazon Best Seller and was selected as one of the September 2019 selections of the Pulpwood Queen’s Book Club. Taylor has participated on author panels at the Pulpwood Queen Girlfriend Convention, and the Pat Conroy Literary Center. She is an avid reader, enthusiastic traveler, and incurable beach lover. She resides outside of Charleston, SC where she enjoys all three of her favorite past times.


03 18 2020
“Two Minus One”
by Kathryn Taylor

03 19 2020
by Terry Kroenung

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