Q&A with Glenda Burgess discussion

What I Liked Best About "The Geography of Love"

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message 1: by Sandi (new)

Sandi (sandikal) I don't usually read love stories. They usually focus on those first throes of infatuation and lust. They rarely go beyond the honeymoon phase. The thing is, true love is about the day-to-day mundane experiences of daily life. I liked that this memoir dealt with real adults growing into a mature relationship.

message 2: by Glenda (new)

Glenda Burgess (glendaburgess) | 24 comments Mod
Hi Sandi, thanks for posting! I agree...didn't you always wonder as a kid if grownups had feelings? Shows like "The Honeymooners" on the television made adult couples appear staid and set in their ways. I sometimes think that this baby boomer generation will change everything - including what we think of as the "day to day"...

For example, at this writers conference I just attended, I sat in on a "writing for film and television" seminar and the executive (from Lifetime) said that television is driven by advertisers who are armed with ancient data suggesting that after age 50, no one forms a new brand loyalty (read: opinion) but are set in their buying ways; so they market to the supposedly more impressionable age 18-49, more nearly 18 to 35, set. Even though the hard data says the buying power now is in this enormous boom of older smart adventurous adults. So the television execs are missing their market, but think a new cable channel called "Senior Living" will fill the niche. This well-dressed executive woman in the audience laughed - "I would never turn on a channel called that!" Small wonder then we have so few "adult" love stories...

Do you think that mature love stories are more raw and complicated (as life is) than the romances of the young? Or do we just reject the intrusion of the realistic and mundane in a love story because we believe romance is fantasy - and we want it to stay that way?

message 3: by Jerry (new)

Jerry (jerrywaxler) | 1 comments I haven't read the book yet, but understand it is poignant and personal containing thoughts and feelings that typically stay locked deep inside our own mind, rarely spoken to anyone other than extraordinarily close confidantes.

From my experience, many aspiring memoir writers struggle mightily with this exercise of putting their most intimate feelings out into the open.

Could you say a few words about the inner journey you had to take in order to convert these very interior thoughts and feelings into words on a page that would shared with the reading public?

Memory Writers Network

message 4: by Glenda (last edited Sep 03, 2008 11:48AM) (new)

Glenda Burgess (glendaburgess) | 24 comments Mod
Hi Jerry,
Your question is certainly an interesting one!

Memoir, or "my story" from the French, is indeed both intimate and subjective, which is why we love to read memoir - we respond to the personal and frank and revealing nature of the author/reader connection. I think most memoir begins as an interior dialog within the author: a quest to comprehend, organize, reveal and identify those significant "flash points" of our lives. This can begin as journal writing, essays, notes...the form is quite individual. But once the author decides to make the interior dialog "public" then the focus changes from what the author originally needed and sought to understand through writing, to what the reader needs or would wish to take away from reading. It is a subtle but significant shift.

At this point, when a reader is engaged, a memoirist is telling a story, and I believe all the rules of story telling apply - is there a story arc, character development, sub-context, scene and dialog. In my opinion the test of a successful memoir rests on the organic integrity and originality of the subjective narration, and the what the writer has been able to offer the reader in the telling that could only have come from his or her story.

message 5: by Ariell (new)

Ariell I have not read a memoir before. This was a great one to start with. It was inspiring to read a first hand experience about something that probably the majority of us have or will have been witness to whether in our immediate families, extended or even close friends. I think sooner or later we all have a glimpse of those feelings. Not all of us are capable of sharing them.

I truly appreciate the relationships you described in your book. Especially the one with your Husband. I can truly respect a relationship that is real and full. It is wonderful to see that even through trials and differences a relationship that is melded together with such strength and love.

message 6: by Glenda (new)

Glenda Burgess (glendaburgess) | 24 comments Mod
Dear Ariell,
You are so right - each of us will someday know and love and perhaps lose, someone to illness or tragedy...and yet even knowing that, how can we ever be prepared for the vulnerability that love leaves within us? Probably we can't, but I hope we can find comfort, some understanding, solace. A wise friend of mine, a teacher in Buddhism, quotes a saying I used throughout the book- "No way out but through." I think love makes us brave.

Do you agree?

message 7: by Ariell (new)

Ariell Absolutely, I agree. Sorry, I think I may have come across as your experience being trivial because it may appear common. That is not at all what I meant. Because we all may experience something similar, to me, makes it all the more significant. That's not the right word.
I will have to come back to this later. I am having a lapse of writers block or something akin to it.

message 8: by Glenda (new)

Glenda Burgess (glendaburgess) | 24 comments Mod
I know what you meant :>) - I think your words were genuine and eloquent, Ariell. its what we humans share that is our strongest bond!

(And writers, don't you think when we find the right word to be elusive, its a bit like Gremlins? - pranksters in our heads? You can see them hopping around in there, those words, they just won't settle down in order!)

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