#93 Crafting Memoir Fueled by Metaphor, Movement, and Mapping Featuring Mimi Zieman

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Author Mimi Zieman


Mimi Zieman is a renowned physician and a former student of mine. When she took my NYU class Writing Midlife & Beyond a few years ago, I knew she was a busy and talented writer, but she blew me away with this well-crafted memoir that takes the reader through her story and transformation, framed in fascinating ways that cover her family history, her connection to her body, finding her way in a chaotic world and upbringing, and so much more. It was a pleasure to talk to her for the podcast.

In This Episode

  • Mimi’s career shift from working in the medical field to writing a memoir
  • Ignoring “expert” advice and focusing on what works for you
  • How she used throughlines to address multiple topics 
  • The genesis of her book’s title
  • Cultivating the book’s structure
  • Writing about her cultural and religious background and family history to honor her ancestors
  • Adding poetry, metaphor and alliteration to enhance the book on the sentence and word level
  • Finding that inciting incident that starts the book off
  • Pushing through difficult moments  to find the gold
  • The benefits of using precise language to build credibility
  • Writing to capture a universal experience for the reader

Watch on YouTube

About Mimi Zieman

Mimi Zieman is a writer, physician, and speaker with a new memoir, Tap Dancing on Everest, about the risks we take to become our truest selves. She’s written a play, The Post-Roe Monologues, that has been performed in multiple cities and has co-authored 16 editions of a medical guide, Managing Contraception. Her writing has appeared in Newsweek, The Sun Magazine, Ms. Magazine, The Forward, NBC News THINK, and other publications. She did her OB/GYN training at Columbia University and is an advocate for reproductive rights, having served as Director of Family Planning, Emory University School of Medicine, Chief Medical Officer Planned Parenthood Southeast and as an advisor to the CDC working on contraceptive guidelines. Her newsletter provides medical news along with inspiration from art and nature. 

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Other Episodes Featuring Memoirists

Episode #92  Writing a Memoir in Feelings, Flashes and Fragments Featuring Lara Lillibridge

Episode #87 Writing Memoir That Reads Like a Novel and Captivates on Every Page Featuring Joanna Rakoff

Episode #83 Writing Your Way into An Engaging and Enthralling Story Featuring Abigail Thomas

Episode #81 The Art of Shaping a Compelling Story Featuring Maggie Smith

Episode #79 Being Vulnerable on the Page and Finding Empathy In Your Heart Featuring Amy Ferris

Episode #44 Telling Your Stories without Shame or Apology

Episode #40 My Father’s List

Episode #39 The Literary Gifts of the Leaving Season with Kelly McMasters

Episode #38 Cheryl Strayed on Writing and Tiny Beautiful Things