Darcey Steinke Invents the Menopause Memoir

June 28, 2019
I suppose what we need is a taxonomy of hot flashes, because mine are nothing like Darcey Steinke’s as described in her new memoir, Flash Count Diary: Menopause and the Vindication of Natural Life. Initially the feeling was closer to a panic attack, until I eliminated caffeine and the episodes evolved into benign waves of heat—as advertised. I started enjoying the sensation, especially in bone-chilling winter. Now I laugh if my glasses fog up, and I know I’ll miss my hot flashes when they’re gone. My friend Lisa says she misses hers.
Whether I exaggerate in saying that Darcey Steinke has invented the menopause memoir, you may judge for yourself from this NewYork Times review and the earlier works it cites. But there’s no question that menopause is an under-examined phase of life, of acute interest to a community of women writers like ours. Puns on heat are irresistible, as in the Kentucky Foundation for Women's longtime e-newsletter and in our publicist's press release on Steinke's upcoming visit to Kentucky. Maggie Nelson, author of Bluets and The Argonauts, said of Flash Count Diary, “Many days I believe menopause is the new (if long overdue) frontier for the most compelling and necessary philosophy; Darcey Steinke is already there, blazing the way. This elegant, wise, fascinating, deeply moving book is an instant classic.”
Steinke is best known as the author of five novels including Sister Golden Hair, and she has written a previous memoir, Easter Everywhere, on her relationship to faith as a preacher’s daughter. She was also, we learn in this New York Times column, a stutterer. Steinke’s workshop for KyWomenWriters on September 20-21 will be:
It’s all in the details! This workshop will use a variety of exercises to help us find details that evoke emotion and mood. Pacing and tone are important parts of writing but it’s often by image and the smallest detail that good writing reaches a reader’s heart. “Caress the detail,” Vladimir Nabokov wrote, “the divine detail.” We will discuss the use of sensory detail in building a literary mood.
Slots are still available in this workshop as well as in Chantel Acevedo’s fiction workshop, Lydia Millet’s fiction workshop, DaMaris Hill’s poetry workshop, Barbara Hurd’s nature writing workshop, and Ifa Bayeza’s playwriting workshop. For more information or to register, please visit: https://womenwriters.as.uky.edu/register or call 859-257-2874 or write to us at kentuckywomenwriters@gmail.com.