I have heard Amy Friedman’s name a few times when people submit to be in Expressing Motherhood.
Then, just yesterday, former performer Susan Sheu emailed me saying that a wonderfully supportive woman here in LA, named Amy Friedman, had just published a book, would I help give it some publicity. Yes! Susan says this of Amy:
“She’s an extremely generous and talented writer and teacher, and it was through her help and encouragement that I got accepted to the two writers colonies”
I love other women supporting other women. Susan told me that Amy taught the UCLA writers extension program she attended when her child was 9 months old.
Amy’s book is titled “Desperado’s Wife.” It is about how Amy was a newspaper columnist who walked into a prison to write about the prisoners, and ended up marrying one. Yes, not your every day story. I remembered I had seen her do a reading at Spark Off Rose a year or two ago.
She has a great presence and just seems cool.
Since I know a lot of moms out there who are interested in writing and finding time to write I thought I’d ask Amy about the classes she teaches and how long it took her to write the book. So often we get frustrated thinking our writing should happen over night. Here are my questions that with her responses:
I’ve been teaching at UCLA Extension since 2002 and primarily teach personal essay and memoir (and a combination class that covers both). I also teach memoir at The Skirball Cultural Arts Center and at Idyllwild School of the Arts Summer Program and I teach personal essay in high schools through PEN USA’s Pen in the Classroom program (an extraordinary program that results in published collections of the students’ work. My husband and I have been doing this work together for the last five or six years as he’s a high school teacher; we’ve worked together at both Palisades Charter High and Venice High).
I do occasionally teach privately–though I haven’t for a couple years now. I work as a mentor/coach with various individuals. How does this work? A little more complicated. Essentially it depends on what the person is looking to do. I also work as an editor/ghostwriter/co-author, and depending on where people are inside their books and/or collections, I work with them to see what best suits their needs. (lots of info on this on my website in fact).
Ah, how long did it take me to write this book. Nearly 10 years. I was married to my now-ex husband for 7 years (this is the story of Desperado’s Wife). We divorced in 1999, and in 2001 I met my current husband–alas, I was in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada and he was in LA. Guess who moved? We married in 2002, the year I began working on the memoir. In those 10 years it took many forms–it began as memoir but I was too close to the story and was still working (despite knowing memoir well since I had published two previous memoirs–in Canada–and had been teaching the genre for years by then) from an “agenda.” In other words, I began with something to prove and soon realized that the story could not work so long as I was delivering a message. I tried to reconnect to the material by writing it as a novel, told from the point of view of a child of a prisoner (After all, I raised two girls whose father was in prison). But when I reached the end of the third draft of that novel, a beloved and important writer colleague looked me in the eye and said, “Amy, you know this needs to be memoir.” I was crushed for a few weeks, mostly because I knew he was right. And I dived in again. That was four years ago, so for the last four years I’ve been devoted to what the book finally has become.
Amy’s book, “Desperado’s Wife” is out. You can buy it on Amazon here.