A conversation about men writing memoir with Bowen Dwelle and Lyle McKeany
Writing yourself into existence, how writing is like music, whether men can say “sex”, writing memoir as a man, what we're afraid to write about, writing groups, and our biggest challenge as writers.
One of the most powerful things about Substack is community and connection with other writers. Our goal with this new collaborative interview format is to share something deeper about each others’ work with our readers.
We got together on May 11, 2023 for a deep and wide-ranging conversation that covered why we chose to write memoir, the power of story as a way to write oneself into existence, what memoir is (and isn’t), how writing is like music, the power of reading aloud, the value of having a writing group, the biggest pros and cons of Substack, whether we invested in Substack, writing about writing, what we’re afraid to write about, how men can say “sex”, what it’s like to be writing memoir as a man, the value of writing groups, telling the truth, and our biggest challenge as writers.
If you’re a writer who shares pieces of their personal life on the page, if you’re curious about what it’s like to do so, or if you’re a reader of memoir, we think you’ll get a lot out of this conversation.
Following the interview are links to some of our writing, some other writers of memoir on Substack, further reading on memoir, and some questions for you
— we’d love to hear from you! Use the ♡ and comments below 👇🏻
Bowen and Lyle on Men Writing Memoir
Listen to the audio right here on Substack or watch us on YouTube above. We haven’t included a transcript because it’s so darn long, but if you’d like to read this instead of listen, just ask in the comments below ⬇️
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Bowen writes memoir and personal essay on topics including alcohol, addiction and depression… adventure, fitness, sports, and nature… identity, masculinity, fatherhood and being child-free, advertising, entrepreneurship, and conferences… creativity, intuition, archetypes, consciousness, symbols, and youth… San Francisco, California, travel… love, relationships and sex, among other things. If you’re not already a subscriber to Bowen’s substack, please do take this opportunity to subscribe now.
Lyle writes about his own life as a father to a daughter with cerebral palsy, questions such as How do I define success? and What is normal, anyway?, breaking up with his therapist, his previous life in music, as well as home projects, divorce, time, dogs, exercise, FOMO, living in the suburbs, context switching, travel, not caring so much, small talk, and even couches, among other things. If you’re not already a reader and subscriber of Lyle’s work, please take this opportunity to subscribe now.
Here are two of the more popular pieces we’ve written on Substack:
Other Writers of Memoir on Substack
by Joshua Doležal by Minda Lane
by Alex Olshonsky
by Euwyn Goh
by Marika Páez Wiesen
by visakan veerasamy
Cured: The Memoir by Sarah Fay
by Andrei Șișman
by Rae Katz
Writing on Memoir and… Writing
The Art of Memoir — Karr, Mary
Method Writing: The First Four Concepts — Grapes, Jack
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft — King, Stephen
Body Work: The Radical Power of Personal Narrative — Febos, Melissa
The Memoir Project — Smith, Marion Roach
The War of Art: Winning the Inner Creative Battle — Pressfield, Steven
Sexus (The Rosy Crucifixion, #1) — Miller, Henry
Belonging: Remembering Ourselves Home — Toko-pa Turner
We’ve got some questions for you
If you’re a writer (or reader) of memoir or personal essay, what brought you to that genre of writing?
Who are some of your favorite writers of memoir and other personal writing on Substack?
What are the biggest pros and cons of Substack for you?
Did you invest in Substack? Why or why not?
What’s a favorite story from your own life—especially one that you’re a little bit afraid to tell?
Was this worth your time?
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