Beth Schulman and host, Crystal-lee Quibell discuss Mothers, Monsters & Memoir, writing about childhood trauma, coming to a place of empathy for those that have hurt us, and the power of sharing your story with the world.
Beth Schulman McGonagle is a teacher and writer. Beth has devoted her life’s work to creating supportive, creative and literacy rich learning environments for young children. She works with The Penn Literacy Network (PLN) as an instructor and literacy coach.
Beth is an avid reader of memoir. One of the first memoirs she read in her early twenties was Blackbird by Jennifer Lauck. The story of young Jenny navigating her way through loss and loneliness reminded Beth of her own early childhood struggles. Busy trying to balance her career as a teacher and her life as a young wife and mother, Beth started recording memories of a childhood she’d worked hard to forget. Her writing was confined to a journal she took out mostly in the summertime when she had a reprieve from teaching. Over many years the journal entries developed into scenes and the scenes into a story.
Fast forward fifteen years – Beth was divorced and busy teaching kindergarten children during the day and graduate students at night. The story she’d written about her childhood had been packed away in a box alongside the scrapbooks she’d started making when her babies were still babies. Now her children were almost fully grown, living their own busy lives as high school students and athletes. She dusted off her old journal, contacted Jennifer Lauck the author who inspired her so many years before and began her journey as a “real” author. Beth consulted with Jennifer, took her online courses and eventually traveled across the country to participate in a Writers Retreat Jennifer hosted in Manzanita, Oregon.
Beth continues to teach children and adults. She is passionate about creating supportive, creative and literacy rich learning environments. Beth currently lives in the Philadelphia area with her two teenage sons, James and Ian. Her memoir, The Gold Mailbox, was released in August 2015. Beth hopes her memoir inspires readers to share their own stories.