Friday, June 8, 2007

Connecting the past through memoir writing

Acclaimed author will teach tricks of the trade

Express Staff Writer

Danielle Trussoni will read from her memoir ?Falling Through the Earth? at The Center, Ketchum.

Danielle Trussoni's visit to the Sun Valley Center for the Arts is more than just an appearance to read from her memoir "Falling Through the Earth," one of the New York Times 10 Best Books of 2006. She will also teach an intensive memoir-writing workshop.

Trussoni will read from her book at The Center in Ketchum at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, June 12, and teach the workshop from Monday, June 11, through Friday, June 15 at The Center in Hailey. On the last day of the workshop, she will read from some of the works produced there.

Trussoni has considerable experience teaching memoir-writing workshops. She taught fiction-writing workshops as well as undergraduate creative writing at the Iowa Writers' Workshop, where she received an MFA in fiction writing in 2002.

"It's totally different," Trussoni said. "I am hoping that people get a good sense of how to put their own life on paper in a streamlined way. The hardest thing is to remove your self."

Trussoni will talk about structure and assist writers in organizing large amounts of information. The workshop will discuss how to hone in on a writer's material as well as where one should start and end a story.

"You need to be able to tell a story," Trussoni said. "A best seller is extremely hard and people need to focus on a story that is close to their heart."

Trussoni's own memoir about her relationship with her father is close and personal. It involves a period of time Trussoni spent with her father after her parents divorced.

"The book is about my relationship with my dad who was a tunnel rat in Vietnam," she said. "He was drafted to go into the war, and it was a horrible experience that he had for three months."

Trussoni wanted to be a writer since she was 15 years old. It took her several decades to figure out how to tell the story about her life with her father.

"This story kept coming back to me, and I tried to write it in different ways," she said. "It was a very hard and emotional story to tell because I was very attached to my dad, but the memoir was the most natural way to write."

Trussoni's memoir weaves her experiences as a young girl while her dad was going through post-traumatic stress disorder with a trip to Vietnam to gain a sense of what her father went through there.

"At 11, I was my father's companion," she said. "I was an accomplice to a reckless man who was always on the run from someone or something."

Trussoni plans to read from chapter 10 of her memoir, which talks about her father's many girlfriends and is a more humorous part of the book, which is generally serious reading.

For more details, call 726-9491 or visit

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