A wonderfully fresh and frank guide to why and how to write personal stories that will heal, liberate, inspire — and entertain — both writer and reader
Writing has been medicine for Nancy Slonim Aronie. At nine months old, her son Dan was diagnosed with diabetes. Then, at twenty-two, he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. During the years she and her husband took care of Dan, and when he died at age thirty-eight, Aronie could not find the book she needed. So she wrote her memoir.
In teaching memoir writing, Aronie has found that everyone has a story to tell and that telling it is important. Sharing “this is who I am, these are the things that shaped me, this is where I am now” allows a kind of magic and healing to happen. Over decades of writing and teaching, Aronie has created a set of prompts, directions, and examples that she shares in Memoir as Medicine. She shows readers how to write through where they have been and into deep understanding, profound healing, and even unexpected joy.
“If this book doesn’t get you motivated, I don’t know what will. Nancy Aronie gives perfect examples using her own gorgeous stories. You will laugh, you will probably cry, but I promise you, you will write!” — Carly Simon, author and Grammy Award–winning singer-songwriter
“At her famed workshops on Martha’s Vineyard, Nancy Aronie is described as the midwife to her students’ writing lives. Now she has brought forth a literary offspring of her own, pulsing with passion and pain, heart and hilarity.” — Geraldine Brooks, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of March, five bestselling novels, and three works of nonfiction
“Moving, helpful, inspiring, and tender, Memoir as Medicine makes you want to get up off your butt and write the heart and soul of your life.” — Jack Kornfield, author of A Path with Heart
“After reading the first few chapters of Nancy Aronie’s Memoir as Medicine, all I wanted to do was write. Anyone struggling to stay with the process should read this book immediately! Aronie’s practical advice and sense of humor will keep you going. The book is a treasure.” — Mirabai Bush, editor of Contemplation Nation: How Ancient Practices Are Changing the Way We Live
“Aronie fills pages with insightful anecdotes and samples from her own writing, critically and humorously pointing out what works, what doesn’t, and how to improve just about anything. . . . Aronie stresses the need to be authentic, and again models what she means by sharing challenges, discoveries, and personal growth with thoughtful, occasionally searing honesty. This will be of interest to anyone who wants to capture, record, and make sense of their memories.” — Booklist
“Nancy Aronie writes from a large heart and a powerful brain, which is why her new book is so quickly becoming an essential addition to fine literature. The work is a frontrunner, and so is she.” — Robert S. Brustein, theater critic, producer, playwright, educator, and founder of the Yale Repertory Theatre and the American Repertory Theater and Institute
“This is a book about plain, humble human experience. Almost as an aside it teaches you how to write about such things effectively, but I think the book’s power and ultimate purpose is to help the reader survive a normal human life, with all its absurdities and impossible challenges.” — Thomas Moore, author of Care of the Soul and Soul Therapy
“Nancy Aronie’s disarmingly intimate, deeply insightful, uniquely funny, and profoundly moving book is a must-read! Memoir as Medicine unfolds in a myriad of unexpected ways . . . and yet somehow precisely reconnects us to our own personal quest for purpose, truth, and meaning.” — Tony Shalhoub, Screen Actors Guild, Golden Globe, Emmy, and Tony Award–winning actor
“The unqualified success of Memoir as Medicine lies in the authenticity of the author’s voice. It’s the best writing advice since Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird. Throughout the book, it’s a pleasure to be in Nancy Aronie’s wise company.” — Wally Lamb, author of I Know This Much Is True and five other New York Times bestsellers
“Masterfully weaves sacred sorrow with irreverent wit, perennial wisdom with personal vulnerability, a transformational narrative with magnificent writing. Nancy Aronie’s voice, seasoned by decades of teaching writing and cultivating what her teacher Ram Dass called ‘loving awareness,’ is pitch-perfect.” — Mirabai Starr, author of Caravan of No Despair: A Memoir of Loss and Transformation and Wild Mercy: Living the Fierce and Tender Wisdom of the Women Mystics