What are some comparisons and differences between writing and public speaking?
Speakers invite people to see things from different points of view…to think, to question, to act. So do writers. Whether on papyrus or at the pulpit, around the campfire or on Twitter, we create bonds of understanding by communicating. And as we draw people in, the walls of separation fall away.
There are differences, of course, between writing and public speaking. A speech is a snapshot of ideas, framed for a specific audience and purpose. In the best of all worlds, sparks fly, and light bulbs go off. In the end, though, the feedback loop is structured, and take-aways are tied to the agenda. But a writer can take more liberties. Done right, a piece of writing is much like an impressionistic painting--timeless, transcendent, and open to interpretation. Readers return it at will, and when they do, they bring their imaginations along for the ride.
What is your memoir about?
My father was a faith-healing evangelist, and I was his “Miracle Baby.” We crisscrossed the country in a cramped sedan, holding revival meetings wherever we landed. CAN I GET A WITNESS? Memoir of a Tent Evangelist’s Daughter chronicles my childhood experiences within a fundamentalist Christian family. It’s about religious zealotry and private rebellions, dark secrets and the healing power of forgiveness.
How did it feel to write a memoir?
True fact: memoir-writing is not for the faint of heart! From the humorous, to the humiliating and horrific, I’m holding up my life experiences for public scrutiny. Lord knows, it’s difficult to write from a place of truth when you’re worried about what others might think! So I’ve learned to tune out destructive influences--and to trust my own instincts, instead.
Story-telling takes time. Honesty takes longer. But as I contemplate both, the deeper story gets coaxed to the surface.
What are some memoirs and/or biographies you enjoyed?
Oh, so many great memoirs from which to choose! I worry that I’ll leave out a gem (or several), but here’s a handful that I’ve loved, start to finish, and which linger with me even now: Jesus Land (Julia Scheeres); The Glass Castle (Jeannette Walls); I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings (Maya Angelou);Angela’s Ashes (Frank McCourt); Night (Elie Wiesel); A Girl Named Zippy: Growing Up Small in Mooreland, Indiana (Haven Kimmelz); and This Boy's Life (Tobias Wolff). Feel Free to recommend more!
Do you think you will write fiction in the future?
I’m writing nonfiction now, but I wouldn’t want to get pigeonholed. I love to explore new possibilities! But whatever the topic or whomever the audience, you can always count on me to write from the heart.
Is there anything you want to do that you haven't done yet?
I’m imagining myself in a rented flat in Paris, writing by day and exploring the City of Lights after dark. Ooh la la, this is on my bucket list for sure!
About Dear Bully:
Why did you decide to get involved with Dear Bully?
I’ve often wondered what happened to Luz, a friend-in-need who disappeared from my life long ago, but whom I’ve never forgotten. It made me sad to think that I might never see her again, but when I heard about DEAR BULLY, it finally clicked: I could memorialize our experiences in writing!
I am deeply honored to be counted among those selected for this anthology. Each author wrote through the prism of his or her own experiences and observations. That's all we have, all that we know. But magic exists, beneath and beyond any single contributor's words--the alchemy of storytelling. Scattered light. Bridges. Rainbows. That’s the best tribute to Luz I can think of.
Other than bullying victims, who should read this book?
At the risk of sounding flippant, I wouldn’t want to single out any group for inclusion or exclusion. Each selection speaks to a common topic, albeit from different vantage points. As for its potential readers, I invite everyone to come to the page with their own set of expectations. Bullying is a widespread issue, and DEAR BULLY gives voice (and a platform) to our mutual concerns.
How has your experiences made you stronger?
I got misty-eyed when I saw DEAR BULLY’s Table of Contents. “Luz” is smack-dab in the middle of the section called Thank you, Friends! What better place could there be for a story about a girl who craves companionship, and who discovers that sense of belonging when it’s least expected? No spoilers here, but Luz offered me friendship when I needed it most, and I’ll always remember the lessons she taught me.
How should someone reach out for help or support?
By now, most of us know about resources available to victims: Teachers. Clergy. Family members we love, and friends whom we trust. But it’s not always easy to reach out for help, even when it’s in our best interest to do so. Some of us are blinded by fear, rendered deaf and mute by grief and pain. I like that bullying awareness projects are cropping up all over the place. When we give voice to this issue, we learn how to keep our eyes and ears open--to speak up when necessary, and to be good listeners when we’re asked.
Give advice about bullying in three words.
Trust your gut.
Where you can find Melodye:
Thank you to Melodye for participating in our Dear Bully Spotlight! You can visit the Dear Bully website here and order the book on Amazon.
Peace and Fangs,