Memoirs are a passion and delight for me. As a teacher, I am always excited to read and discuss the latest memoirs on the market. As a writer, I am just as keen to see what new subject areas are being covered, and what new structures and forms the writers may use. As a reader, I mostly I just want to settle in and enjoy well-paced and stimulating stories.

Since obtaining my Masters in Arts, Memoir Studies, in 2011, from Mount Saint Vincent University, I have been teaching memoir writing seminars and workshops around Nova Scotia. I teach both seminars (the emphasis is on discussing and sharing commercially published memoirs) and workshops (the emphasis is on work-shopping the participants’ memoirs-in-progress). Recent seminars include: Heart & Power, held in Annapolis Royal in September 2014; Spring into Memoir, held at the Waegwoltic Club, in Halifax, on May 9, 2015; and Substance, Structure & Sizzle, held at the Thinkers Lodge, in Pugwash, on May 23, 2015.

Another half-day seminar is planned for The Historical Society in Arichat, Cape Breton, on August 15, 2015, and a full-day seminar for September 26, 2015, at the historic George Wright House, in Halifax. (For more information: mls@marjoriesimmins.ca) Other seminars and workshops are being planned for both 2015 and beyond.

In 2014, I published my own memoir, Coastal Lives. It is available from all large bookstore chains, and from independent bookstores. It is also available to order online, from Nimbus Publishing. I am currently at work on a second memoir, which is a marriage of memoir and non-fiction.

In coming times, I hope to commence a “With Memoirists” section on the website, which will include interviews with memoirists from across Canada and beyond. There is so much to learn about this saucy and fascinating genre.

As I continue on with my memoir writing studies, teachings and adventures, I am certain of one thing: memoir writing is one of the most dynamic and unpredictable genres in practice today. There is simply no containing or controlling this genre. Moreover, its huge popularity in the past decade particularly, has underscored one of its more significant changes: the memoir now belongs to “the people,” not just the rich, titled, or famous-in-some-fashion. Memoirs have busted free of the last restraining holds put on them. The entire “movement” of memoir writing has been democratized. The people of the world can tell their stories – in whatever fashion pleases them, within the memoir mould.

Whether you are an established writer taking on memoir for the first time, or a retired grandparent hoping to leave a legacy for your family – you can be sure that your life story has merit and interest. Sometimes the most “ordinary” lives are the most extraordinary. It’s all in the telling of the tale.

Join me for a seminar or workshop … to learn all the options you have, to do exactly that …

Until then, happy writings.