Monday, April 2, 2012

What Good Are Memoirs?

Dear readers and writers,

I just returned from Allentown, PA where I keynoted the Pennsylvania Academy of Sciences conference for the year.  It was a lovely event, based at the women's college Cedar Crest.  So many young women planning confidently to go into science were there, and a lot of them talked with me about combining family and career, something I hope they will all feel free to do if they want that combination.  There's so much talk about how women can't do both these days, but it's just not true.

One thing I've learned about writing a memoir is that it has embedded within it the message you have received from the part of your life you feature.  Mine is, I chose along the way, each time selecting the choice that made it possible for me to have both family and science.  I know my way of putting together that combination isn't the only way to do it, in fact I"m now writing a dual biography of two women in the top flight of scientists who also married and had a child, and who feel that balance is both possible and important.  I'm having a lot of pleasure as I go around and speak at colleges, research institutes, marine laboratories, hospitals, bookstores and each time, I talk with women who feel that giving up family was not going to be worth it, that science is fascinating but not sufficient to build a life upon.  It's important to find your core message and enjoy spreading the word about it, via your memoir and also by speaking about it to as many people as you can.

Image credit; Creative Commons, with thanks.


Anonymous said...

Good on you, Laura, keep telling 'em!

Chandra P

Anonymous said...

I appreciate your message, Laura. If I ever write a memoir, I hope it will be as worthwhile to share as yours is, and also that I learn to write well enough to convey what I want to say. Your efforts have paid off; the book flows well, doesn't sound scientific at all.