Juncture Notes is our free monthly offering of essential memoirs, timely reflections, and writing prompts. You’ll meet some of the leading memoirists of our time. You’ll read the work of our readers. You may even become one of the writers our readers read.
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BINDbyBIND: handmade books for writers and artists
This past September, Bill and I launched our own ETSY shop featuring handmade journals and books. Each is unique, crafted out of materials like cork and leather, handmade paper and ephemera, painted canvas, hand-pressed flowers, and khadi paper. Bill’s illustrations—portraits of Virginia Woolf, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Henry Thoreau, as well as fanciful characters and still life scenes—float across many of these books. Sometimes stories get told within canvas triptychs. Often the books offer prompts. We hope you’ll consider taking a look at our shop and treating yourself or a friend to a book unlike any other. We do take custom orders.
WE ARE THE WORDS: the master memoir class
In a range of provocative and personal essays, memoir writer and teacher Beth Kephart offers new ideas about locating our past, developing self-portraits, writing the other, generating telling details, refining scenes, and building obsession vessels, among other topics; considers a myriad of memoir forms and writing strategies; relates the privileges, priorities, heartaches, and hopes of the writer’s life; and offers an arrangement of question cascades and exercises designed to carry readers into and through their own true stories. Kephart is a National Book Award finalist and an acclaimed memoir writer (Wife Daughter Self), an award-winning teacher of memoir at the University of Pennsylvania, a widely published essayist (Catapult, Literary Hub, The New York Times, Ninth Letter, and elsewhere), and co-founder of Juncture Workshops. More at bethkephartbooks.com.
“This is—hands down—the best book on writing memoir I’ve ever read.” — Judy Goldman, Together: A Memoir of a Marriage and a Medical Mishap
Wife | Daughter | Self: a memoir in essays
Forest Avenue Press
Words have weight, and Kephart, a prolific writer, teacher, and critic, reminds us they can reveal our world anew when wielded with care. In this memoir-in-essays, Kephart explores her various selves as the American wife of a Salvadoran artist, caring daughter to an aging widower father, and a writer never far from the question of why. From the serenity of a kayaking-on-the-lake moment to fragmenting struggles with self-criticism, Kephart deftly and succinctly captures entire expanses of human experience…. Kephart’s essays are a joy to read as they reveal a self-aware writer at work and offer new perspectives on how we can experience life.
Shoba Viswanathan, Booklist Starred review
Bill and I are happy to announce the publication of the illustrated journal, Journey: a traveler’s notes. Journey combines Bill’s beguiling, fantastical, and sometimes haunting art with my poetic fragments. It invites writers, artists, journalers, students, and teachers to take a journey of their own—to complete the pages with their own stories, colors, and art. We think of Journey as a starting place, a series of visual and linguistic prompts.
Strike the Empty: notes for readers, writers, and teachers of memoir brings together five years of Beth Kephart’s writing on memoir and memoir makers, some of which first appeared in Juncture Notes. It offers reflections on eternal imperfection and the poetics of truth, memoir as politics and the abandonment of the linear, the power of not insisting and failure as the first indicator of success, and dozens of truth-bleeding books. Interviews with Casey Gerald, Kristen Radtke, Megan Stielstra, Chloe Honum, Paul Lisicky, Inara Verzemnieks, Judy Goldman, Nicole Chung, Will Dowd, and others are featured. Abigail Thomas’s place in memoir history, Bruce Springsteen’s memoir-inducing river songs, Andrew Wyeth’s inspirations for writers, the empathetic imagination, the high-wire act of reviewing memoirs, and the art of the suppose are among the topics that are deeply explored.
Beautifully illustrated with black-and-white photographs and inspirational quotes, Strike the Empty is, by turns, emphatic and questing. It celebrates memoir for what memoir can be—transcendent and transcending.
Read the review that appeared in The Woven Tale Press.
In an era of increasing divisions and divisiveness, Juncture Workshops sponsored a literary contest seeking the best essays on the complexities of walls, both literal and metaphoric. Writers from around the world responded. The resulting book contains sixteen full-length essays on topics ranging from deep yearning and personal loss to kiwi birds and urban neighborhoods. Nearly two dozen brief excerpts further tell the story of geopolitical and intimate schisms. Curated and introduced by memoirist and memoir teacher Beth Kephart, The Walls Between Us: Essays In Search of Truth offers profound insights into the ways in which we both construct and shatter divisions. Sometimes tender, sometimes angry, sometimes funny, always moving, the book features the work of both established writers and emerging ones.
What are we supposed to do with that lovely, infuriating, instigating, mischievous blank page? Who are we, when we’re being uncommonly honest? Where do we stand, in the landscape of truth?
In Tell the Truth. Make It Matter., a one-of-a-kind memoir workbook, Beth Kephart offers an insider’s look at the making of true tales—and an illustrated workbook to guide the wild ride. Combining smartly selected samples with abundantly fresh ideas, dozens of original exercises with cautions, questions with answers, Kephart inspires, encourages, and persistently believes in those with a story to tell.
Write this, Truth says. Read this. Consider this. Discover who you are. Have some honest fun with words.
Truth should find a home among high school teachers, college professors, workshop leaders, autodidacts, secret writers and public ones.
Writing memoir is a deeply personal, and consequential, undertaking. As the acclaimed author of five memoirs spanning significant turning points in her life, Beth Kephart has been both blessed and bruised by the genre. In Handling the Truth, she thinks out loud about the form—on how it gets made, on what it means to make it, on the searing language of truth, on the thin line between remembering and imagining, and, finally, on the rights of memoirists. Drawing on proven writing lessons and classic examples, on the work of her students and on her own memories of weather, landscape, color, and love, Kephart probes the wrenching and essential questions that lie at the heart of memoir.
A beautifully written work in its own right, Handling the Truth is Kephart’s memoir-writing guide for those who read or seek to write the truth.
All writers stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before. All writers benefit when exposed to classic and groundbreaking texts … and to careful, unexpected analysis. In this six-part, nearly one-hour course, Beth Kephart, an award-winning memoirist, teacher at the University of Pennsylvania, and author of Handling the Truth: On the Writing of Memoir, celebrates the form. She explores the work of Virginia Woolf, E.B. White, Annie Dillard, James Baldwin, Mary-Louise Parker, Alison Bechdel, Helen Macdonald, Maggie Nelson, and others as she defines what great memoir does and how it gets written. Each video is organized around a theme. Silence and writer’s block. The art of the intimate letter. Lessons from the kitchen. Writing of loss. Writing the natural world. Memory and mortality. Each theme yields a series of writer prompts. The entire package is accompanied by a PDF writer’s journal that recaps key lessons and prompts.The series is perfect for writers, of course. But it is also just right for avid memoir readers who are seeking to better understand the books they read, as well as instructors at the high school, college, and workshop level.