I was a big fan of Nora Ephron, who died last month after carving a niche for women writers who share witty observations of modern times. While the late Erma Bombeck did much the same but focused on homemaking, Ephron added the workplace. I first discovered Nora through her book of essays, Crazy Salad, and last year read her latest, I Remember Nothing, which was an actual book rather than a collection of essays. But the sum of her essays alone gave the reader a good picture of her life story.
The heir to the female essayist throne is Anna Quindlen who, like her predecessors, shares views about normal home and work life through the eyes of a woman. Quindlen’s latest entry, Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake, covers a pivotal moment in time of the author’s life as she leaves her 50s to enter her 60s. Her chapters cover the different categories of things that tend to evolve at that stage of life, like appearance, faith and confidence.
Many people who do not write professionally but would like to pen a memoir have a tough time organizing it and creating transitions between chapters. If that describes you, try structuring your autobiography as a collection of essays. Write just one essay about a time period, a person, a location or an idea that made an impact on your life. Then write another one. When you put these essays together, each can become a chapter of your book without the necessity of tying them together.