084: How do you honor your story? Writer and educator Allison Kirkland on crafting memoir and creative nonfiction.

Thought about writing a memoir? Curious about creative non-fiction, writing in community, and how to get started when you are staring at the blank page? Listen in to this conversation with Allison Kirkland,  writer, instructor, editor, facilitator, writing coach and arts advocate. At the beginning and again at the very end of this conversation, you’ll hear Allison read her introduction from a recently published anthology  titled Honoring Your Stories. Honoring Your Stories includes creative nonfiction written by some of Allison’s students. [You’ll also hear Allison read a prose poem by Mary Brogden, one of her students.] 

Allison Kirkland photo by Anna Carson Dewitt

Allison Kirkland holds a degree in English from Duke University and an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from The New School in New York City. Learn more at: allisonkirkland.com and while you’re there, subscribe to her monthly blog titled Creatives in Conversation where she interviews artists about their creative process.

These artists have appeared on Artist Soapbox and Creatives in Conversation!

Doreen Jakob, Ceramic Artist:

Monét Noelle Marshall, Theatre Artist and Arts Activist

Justin Tornow, Dance Artist and Educator

Tamara Kissane, Podcaster and Theatre-maker

This episode is brought to you by the Soapboxers, the official patrons of the Artist Soapbox. If you like these episodes and want more, get on the Soapbox!  This episode was recorded at the ASBX home studio. Artist Soapbox theme music by Bart Matthews. 

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QUESTIONS  FOR ALLISON

CREATIVE NONFICTION

Allison, I know that you coach writers working in all genres, both individually and in group — but you have a special love for memoir and creative non-fiction. What about that type of writing interests you so?

How do you approach coaching people who want to write about their lives?

And you have an anthology coming out that was a year in the making — “a long process for a short book”  — that contains the nonfiction stories of your students. Why did you decide to put together this book (and how did that go)? Would you read a selection of it? 

WRITING IN COMMUNITY

I think we consider writing to be a very solo experience, but you also see it as a community experience. Why is that? What happens when a group of writers come together over time to share their work? 

CREATIVES IN CONVERSATION

You give a beautiful gift to our community via your monthly blog Creatives in Conversation that features interviews with local artists (some of whom I’ve also interviewed on the podcast which is so fun!)

After multiple interviews, what strikes you about these conversations? Any surprises? What have you learned that you can fold back into your writing/teaching? 

Anything else?

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