Linda Joy Myers
President, National Association of Memoir Writers http://namw.org
Author: Power of Memoir, Don’t Call Me Mother
Co-President of the Women’s National Book Association
How did you begin writing?
What prompted you to start up the National Association of Memoir writers?
I know as authors we are told to develop a platform to promote our books, but you have a huge, popular site on your hands – is this the outcome you intended?
Newbie Writers often ask if they should change names and details in their memoir, should they?
They also ask about truth, should they collaborate with siblings or family members to get that memory “right?”
How can a new memoirist feel comfortable writing about their past? Are there ways to help get them started?
I know that my own life is boring, so I stick with fiction. Are there any signs that a writers does have an “interesting life?” one that is interesting enough to write about?
Word of the Week:
Somebody who was widdiful deserved to be hanged.
The story behind it starts with the northern English and Scottish word widdy or widdie, local forms of the standard English withy, a flexible branch from a tree such as willow used to make baskets or to tie or fasten things together. One sense was of a band or rope made of intertwined withies.
Later it came to mean a halter and in particular a hangman’s rope. To cheat the widdy meant to escape hanging. By an obvious transfer the sense of gallows-bird grew up, one destined to fill a widdy. This is a modern example:
”Will you shut the bloody noise off, you bloody widdiful!” Philips said in a shout that was nearly a scream.
The Reaches, by David Drake, 2003.
The word weakened in its later history in Scotland, turning into a joking term for somebody who was merely a scamp or scoundrel. It has been recorded in Yorkshire dialect in a very different sense, one derived from the idea of a withy being tough and durable:
WIDDIFUL, Industrious, laborious, plodding. It is applicable to a hard-working man, who never complains of fatigue, and is derived from widdy; of such a character it is often said, “he’s as tough as a widdy.”
Kulula, a South African airline, rivals Southwest in wit:
A couple of examples:
“Thank you for flying Kulula. We hope you enjoyed giving us the business as much as we enjoyed taking you for a ride.”
“Welcome aboard Kulula 271 to Port Elizabeth. To operate your seat belt, insert the metal tab into the buckle and pull tight. It works just like every other seat belt; and if you don’t know how to operate one, you probably shouldn’t be out in public unsupervised.”
Write up your version of better airline safety instructions. What about TSA? What kind of instructions or illustrations of possibly dangerous items do you want to create?