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Writing the Humorous Memoir
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With Melissa Hart, author of Gringa: A Contradictory Girlhood

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Has the misery memoir run its course? Melissa Hart's Gringa is so much fun that it might just be the harbinger of a new trend: the comic memoir.

Set in 1970s Southern California, Gringa is the story of a young girl caught between two extremes. When her mother leaves her father to begin a lesbian relationship, Hart and her two siblings are caught in the middle: her mother embraces a bohemian lifestyle in a Hispanic neighborhood in Oxnard, California, while her father maintains a white-bread, well-to-do existence that's  predictable, stable, and boring.

Melissa Hart teaches journalism at the University of Oregon and memoir writing for U.C. Berkeley's online extension program. She's a contributing editor at The Writer magazine. Her essays have appeared in The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Advocate, Fourth Genre, and numerous other publications.

After Melissa's interview, Jeff DeRego and his son Ian recommend a cool writing exercise that gets them operating at peak efficiency.

Try Jeff and Ian's challenge words.

Interviewee: Melissa Hart
Host: Paula B.
Date: April 11, 2010
Running time: 01:02:07
File size: 30 megabytes
Rating: G
Melissa's Web site:

Purchase Melissa Hart's book at