Press about Elizabeth Fishel and memoir-writing
*From "More retirees are self-publishing their memoirs as a family legacy" by Lisa Fernandez in "Inside Bay Area" in The San Jose Mercury News, October 4, 2011
“Elizabeth Fishel comes at self-published memoirs from a different perspective. She has been teaching journalism at UC Berkeley for 20 years and also has taught memoir-writing out of her Oakland home during that same period.
Fishel says memoirs are hotter than ever, and older writers have jumped on the bandwagon, often with help from their web-savvy kids or grandkids. Thanks to what she calls the ‘Oprah-fication’ of our society, people feel comfortable now telling all, and the memoirs are largely replacing autobiographical novels as the vehicles. She says, ‘People are just more willing to come out emotionally than they were 30 years ago.’
‘Older folks go through this life review,’ Fishel says. ‘A lot of seniors are at home and are filled with memories. They reflect on turning points in their lives. And many are motivated to write it down and pass along these lessons. They want to share this gift for posterity.’ ”
Press Clips for Something That Matters
*From “Literary Liaisons” by Jackie Burrell in The Contra Costa Times, September 30, 2008 (also appeared in The Montclarion)
“As the autumn sunlight streams through creamy Roman blinds, nine women tuck themselves into comfy chairs or settle on Elizabeth Fishel's cozy couch to talk about life, love, and literary pursuits. But while the scenario sounds a lot like a book club, the writing they're discussing is their own.
With two books in print and a dozen more projects in the works, the Wednesday Writers are a prolific group. Now, meeting again after a long summer sabbatical, they plunge into catch-up mode, sipping tea and talking about Sue Antolin's haiku, Leah Fisher's book proposal, and Laurie Battle's somewhat unusual nonfiction epistle.”
*From “Media Shelf” in Oakland Magazine, June, 2008
“The Wednesday Writers, the accomplished Rockridge-based cadre of midlife women wordsmiths, has published a second compendium of page-turner essays, donating the proceeds of this new anthology to the Carol Ann Read Breast Health Center, Alta Bates Summit Medical Center. This moving collection, from 41 distinctly voiced contributors unafraid of revealing personal secrets, focuses on, as co-editor Fishel puts it, “the moving target of middle years”—aging, parents, intimacy, children, pleasures, writing and healing.”
*From “Heart-felt words” by Marta Yamamoto in The Montclarion, January 19, 2008 (also appeared in The Piedmonter and The Alameda Journal)
“Over the course of 16 years, a lot of women have passed through Elizabeth Fishel's living room. They've gathered together to meet other women, and to share, in writing, the stories that make up the things in their lives -- the things that matter.
Fishel, a Rockridge resident, has authored four books and also has written widely for magazines. A longtime instructor at University of California/Berkeley Extension, she has also taught at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. In 1993, she decided to begin offering her own classes, with the focus on creative nonfiction, especially first-person essays.
‘In a sense,’ Fishel said, ‘these classes are my pride and joy.’
Since then, every Wednesday, between 10 a.m. and noon, 10 to 15 women meet. Fishel begins each session with some good literary conversation, and then the group will read and discuss a member's work. During the final segment, Fishel will toss out a topic for the group to write about.
‘We're part writing class, part support group, part literary salon, and part writers' community,’ Fishel said. ‘The women who have come to my groups were often at some sort of life transition. There was something deep that motivated them; this was a time that they wanted to write.’
In 2003, the group, led by Fishel, published its first anthology, Wednesday Writers: Ten Years of Writing Women's Lives (Harwood Press, $12), raising $17,000 for the University of California San Francisco Breast Care Center. It received considerable media attention and became a local best seller.
Now, four years later, a second anthology has been released. Again, all proceeds benefit breast cancer, this time targeting the new breast health center at Alta Bates Summit Hospital in Oakland.”
*From “When You’re Halfway There” in The East Bay Monthly, November, 2007
“Wednesday’s child may be full of grace, but so are the Wednesday Writers. Five essays excerpted from Something That Matters: Life, Love, and Unexpected Adventures in the Middle of the Journey—a second book from the Wednesday Writers—strike themes of surreal loneliness, maternal relationships and the seduction of one’s own spouse. Essays by Swathi Desai, Elizabeth Fishel, Suzanne LaFetra, Janis Mitchell, Karen L. Pliskin, and Karen Yencich.”Click here to read the entire feature.
*From “Be East Bay” in The East Bay Monthly, October, 2007
“The Wednesday Writers have produced another anthology of essays, entitled Something That Matters: Life, Love, and Unexpected Adventures in the Middle of the Journey, edited by Elizabeth Fishel and Terri Hinte (Harwood Press). The Wednesday Writers have written together for some 16 years, nurturing several well-known local writers including Hinte, Diana Divecha, Christine Parsons, Risa Nye and Beatrice Motamedi, many of whom have written for The Monthly. This anthology is a fund-raiser for Alta Bates Medical Center’s Carol Ann Read Breast Health Center.”
*From Oakland magazine, September, 2007
“Catch a reading by this illustrious writers group as it tours its new anthology, Something That Matters: Life, Love, and Unexpected Adventures in the Middle of the Journey--all over the Bay. The compilation is the second in the series to benefit Alta Bates’ breast health center and fittingly covers women’s true tales of midlife--from love, marriage, work, and motherhood to caring for aging parents. The authors are Oakland freelancers who, at one point or another, met for a workshop in the Rockridge living room of Elizabeth Fishel, an established writer and instructor who co-edited the anthology. Writing salons are alive and well in Oakland.”
*From The Oakland Tribune, August 30, 2007
“Inside the Bay Area” by Kathleen Grant Geib
*From The East Bay Express, July 25-31, 2007
“Press Here,” by Anneli Rufus
“Midlife stories: Why don't Minnesotans say much? What do you do when your eightysomething dad sobs like a baby? And how do parents of hyperobservant teens have sex? Answers await in Something That Matters: Life, Love, and Unexpected Adventures in the Middle of the Journey (Harwood, $15). Edited by Elizabeth Fishel and Terri Hinte, it's an anthology of true-life tales by members of Oakland's Wednesday Writers group. Proceeds from sales will benefit the Alta Bates Summit Hospital Breast Health Center.”
*Featured in The San Francisco Chronicle, “Here’s to the Ladies Who Launch: Bay Area women team up to publish their own books,” in Datebook on August 14, 2003 by Adair Lara
“The big advantage to publishing [as a group] is in that word ‘group.’ Fishel says the contributors to Wednesday Writers….work their contacts. One contributor, Kathleen Faraday, whom Fishel said had not written a word before joining the group, keeps swinging by Fishel’s place to pick up another 10 or 20 copies. ‘And she’s just one person,’ Fishel said. ‘All the writers took loads of books and went out in their own community to sell it. We’re the Girl Scout cookies of the literary world.’”
*Featured in Diablo magazine, “Feel Good Story” in “Speak of the Devil,” October, 2003 by LeeAnne Carson
“In the last years of her life, fighting breast cancer, Lorna C. Mason sought solace out-doors. In a dory on the Colorado River, she discovered the thrill of rapids, the pleasure of company, and the spiritual force of nature. Lorna’s story (she died in 1997 at 59) is shared in Wednesday Writers: 10 Years of Writing Women’s Lives….The group’s members have been meeting weekly for the past decade, discussing their literary projects and relying on one another as editors and encouragers.”
*Featured in the Hills Newspapers, “From Real Life to the Printed Page,” in “Bookmarks,” August 29, 2003 by Barbara Sloane
“The variety of entries adds to this book’s appeal. Susan Antolin has written four pages of poetry entitled, “Looking for Me: Haiku of a Suburban Mother.” Linda Joy Myers remembers the thrill of discovering music through the magical presentation of an elementary school orchestra teacher, “The Music Man.” And in a piece designed to strike a responsive chord in most mothers and wives, Michelle Wells Grant revels in the blessed solitude of two days vacationing alone in “Listen to the Silence.”