Laurie’s moxie is expressed through her writing. Through this creative medium, she has explored herself and others, tackling challenges, embracing change, understanding setbacks, and making sense of universal themes in the human experience. In this episode, Laurie shares her writer’s journey and provides insight into the creative process and the discipline required to make writing a career. It’s a deep dive into a writer’s brand of moxie.
Laurie, the author of six books, cultivated her curiosity about the lives of American women, digging for truth and understanding before examining her own life.
Drawing extensively on her journals, she has written a memoir, Word for Word: A Writer’s Life. Written with courage and grace, writing it was an extraordinary inner journey–full of memories, discoveries, and insights–which enriched her understanding of the past and the present.
She began writing as a young girl, almost always about what really happened rather than what she imagined. Her first job after college was working for The Providence Journal, where she got her first professional bylines for writing feature stories. After moving to New York City, she worked for Newsweek before writing her first book, the best-selling Portrait of an Artist: A Biography of Georgia O’Keeffe.
She moved to a village in New England, and wrote a biography about a sculptor, Louise Nevelson: A Passionate Life. Then she began to write books drawing on her own experiences–like passing up motherhood, passionately tending a flower garden, and attending a traditional girls’ boarding school in Connecticut.
A chapter from her next book, Without Child: Challenging the Stigma of Childlessness, has been included in an anthology about the topic. Her Four-Tenths of an Acre: Reflections on a Gardening Life, is a modern pastoral about her relationship to nature, including the ways gardening and writing nurture each other.
Besides writing nonfiction books, she has published essays, book reviews, and articles in publications, such as Fourth Genre: Explorations in Nonfiction, The Journal of the Southwest, and From the Faraway Nearby: Georgia O’Keeffe as Icon, Women’s Studies, and Woman’s Art Journal. She also writes a blog and newsletter called Jottings about the writing life.
She is a member of a long-standing academic seminar for biographers and memoirists, Women Writing Women’s Lives, in New York City. Other memberships include the Authors Guild and PEN American Center. She has been awarded residencies at writers’ colonies, including at the MacDowell Colony.
She lives with her husband, the painter and printmaker Robert Kipniss, in the hills of northwestern Connecticut.
This episode is sponsored by Oblong Books and Elyse Harney Real Estate.
Laurie Lisle website