Lessons in Printing: A Memoir, by Klancy Clark de Nevers. 2018, 212 pp., $13.95 plus shipping.
In the middle of her college years Klancy de Nevers’ father began to hear voices. Her reaction to his breakdown was not what you would expect from a “well-brought-up” girl. At a time when housewives waxed floors, ironed sheets and washed woodwork, the mentally ill were often warehoused, or tranquilized and sent home to fend for themselves. Shielded by her mother from the reality of his condition, de Nevers willingly looked away, and didn’t mourn when he died.
In Lessons in Printing, exploring the evidence carefully preserved by her family, she reconstructs her father’s life and reconsiders her own responses. The result is a meditative memoir, a journey from scorn to compassion, from guilt to forgiveness.
Klancy Clark de Nevers has lived in Salt Lake City longer than she can remember, but her writings reflect her upbringing in the Pacific Northwest. She is author of The Colonel and the Pacifist: Karl Bendetsen, Perry Saito and the Incarceration of the Japanese Americans during World War II (University of Utah Press, 2004). Her essay, “My Life with Fonts,” recently appeared in Cagibi Literary Magazine.
“In Klancy Clark de Nevers’ unflinching Lessons In Printing, the life-lessons are often hard—the sorts we recall our parents referencing when they asked, “Did you learn your lesson?” As with this memoir, such lessons only take on a regretful clarity much later. Along a path of meticulous prose, we are brought into a printer’s shop and are taught the lessons of a fading craft and a fading craftsman, Klancy’s small-town editor-father. Over the course of this memoir, both the printing craft and the printing craftsman diminish—recede in their own ways. But neither are lost. This lovely memoir reaches into a dim landscape of regret and lovingly reassembles its lessons in printing—not as museum objects but in a way that breathes new life into the ghosts and spirits of their past.” – David Kranes, playwright and novelist
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- ways to put ancestors into historical context without fictionalizing
- methods for using appropriate speculation
- several categories of family history essays: memoir, personal, humor, travel, food, and literary journalism
- strategies for revising, editing, and proofreading
Tell is Short contains helpful instruction, examples, and ten sample family history essays by Dinty W. Moore, Rebecca McClanahan, Sonja Livingston, and more. This guide will help you take your family history writing beyond the traditional begats into short works your family will enjoy reading.
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