ˈvər-chə-wəlˈdā-vəs Serial storyteller, poetry pusher, digital doodler, flâneur.

5 Reasons to Write a Memoir

I’ve just read Sue William Silverman’s defence of memoir-writing, an essay full of grounded, honest advice learned in the trenches. A timely pep talk while venturing through the back alleys of my own memoir. Read the article in its entirety, but to pique your interest, here are the five reasons Silverman suggest that your life will be enhanced by discovering and telling your own memoir:

  1. Writing Memoir Helps You Overcome Fear “you’ve already lived through, survived, the actual moment… Now, tell yourself, you’re “only” writing about it, figuring out what it meant… Once the words are down on paper, you’ll feel as if a great weight, the weight of the past, has been lifted… I feel lighter, freer, as if I can truly breathe.”
  2. Memoir Helps You Understand the Past and Organize Your Life “I gain clearer insights about my past when I write it, rather than simply sitting around thinking about it in the abstract… Writing is a way to interact with—and interpret—the past. It helps us make sense of events whether they are traumatic, joyful, or just confusing… Memoir writing… helps us shape our lives… we give our lives an organization, a frame, which they would not otherwise have. Memoir creates a narrative, a cohesive life story. It gives your life a previously undiscovered structure and theme.”
  3. Memoir Helps You Discover Your Life Force “To write is to give birth to a more complete self… There is only one of you. Your voice is unique. If you don’t express yourself, if you don’t fully explore who you are, that essence of you will be lost forever… The act of writing is where the spirituality of artistic endeavor resides.”
  4. Memoir Helps You as well as Others to Heal Giving a voice to your past is empowering to you and your audience.
  5. Confessing through Memoir is Good for the Soul “As you challenge yourself, you’ll feel more courageous every day. Writing memoir energizes your psyche, nourishes your soul… To do so is to feel your horizons expand… Writing is a way to take possession of—to fully own—our lives. Only you own your memories.(Numéro Cinq)

Sue William Silverman’s most recent book, Fearless Confessions: A Writer’s Guide to Memoir is available at in paperback and Kindle editions.

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Storytelling in the Digital Age

Storytelling in the Digital Age. It should have have an acronym, but SDA sounds like a medical device. StoDA?

Or, maybe it’s time to drop the “Digital Age” reference and remember that storytelling, in any age, is storytelling.

No matter what you dub it, it’s a sizzling time to be a storyteller! Powerful new storytelling platforms, tools and communities are being invented every day, empowering storytellers and audiences but simultaneously introducing new challenges. As a writer, storyteller and teacher, I’m a bit obsessed with the evolution of author/audience relationships. Storytelling in the Digital Age is redefining this timeless relationship in exciting and unpredictable ways; empowering raconteurs of all stripes to explore new narrative vernaculars; unshackling indie creators from yesterday’s gatekeepers and referees; and enhancing audiences’ appetites for stories and previously unimaginable story interfaces.

But Storytelling in the Digital Age isn’t all noontime massages and dark chocolate. The proliferation of sexy media tempts creators to swap good narrative craft for snazzy special effects. Critics worry that audiences are becoming lazier, more passive even as increasingly interactive storytelling is possible.

What follows is a digital scrapbook of interesting tidbits about Storytelling in the Digital Age for you to check out. I’ll add and subtract as inspiration (and time) permit. Don’t hesitate to recommend juicy material that I’ve overlooked!

It’s a sizzling time to be a storyteller! New, powerful platforms and tools are invented every day. And storytelling communities are coalescing where and when they never existed before. Here’s a digital scrapbook of interesting tidbits for you to check out.

virtualDavis Caricature #1


virtualDavis Caricature #1Remember fiverr?

Remember “Martial Folly and Sando”?

I’ve enjoyed dabbling with fiverr gigsters from time to time since the site launched, and I recently returned to create some small graphic and video content snippets. Some of these will be incorporated into a longer video and/or a site redesign. Watch this space!  ;-)

In the mean time I’m going to show off some caricatures produced by fiverr gigsters, starting with a fellow named Kyle (aka gmcube) who created that caricature above. Not 100% certain it resembles me, but it’s a fun enough image to start the collection. By the way, if you’re interested having your own caricature produced, just run a fiverrr caricature search. I see that Kyle’s no longer offering the service, but plenty of others are, and the price point is low enough that you [almost] can’t lose.

It reminds me of walking, walking, walking around Paris in 1980 with my mother and her friend, Tanya. I was a young boy of seven-going-on-eight, and I’d grown equally weary of trying to speak French and keeping abreast of my mother’s ambulatory ambitions. Apparently I spent more time kicking pigeons than looking up at the architecture. I do remember getting shit upon by a pigeon in the Jardin des Tuileries while eating a picnic lunch…

One afternoon we arrived at the Place du Tertre in Montmartre, the artist thronged plaza near the Basilica of the Sacré Cœur. The three of us walked around watching artists drawing and painting, many whipping off quick caricatures for tourists. Suddenly I was lifted from the cobbles and plunked onto a folding seat by an old wrinkly babbling away in French to my mother. And then my mother and Tanya walked away. Abandoned me! Just like that.

I considered. Looked at the man scribbling madly away while looking at me out of the corner of his eye. I reckoned that he’d see me better if he weren’t looking through a blue cloud of cigarette smoke. Then I glanced to where my mother and Tanya had been. Gone! A large crowd had swallowed them up and I was left alone without cash to pay the doodler.

I panicked. Leapt up and raced into the crowd where they had vanished, the artists shouting after me. I raced willy nilly through the crowds, making my way almost all the way around the plaza before finding my mother. I was scared, frustrated and furious. She explained that they’d planned to walk around the plaza and then return to me to pay for the caricature. Needless to say, I did not return to the artist nor retrieve the incomplete caricature. So far as I can recall Kyle’s image above is my first. But there will be others…

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