YaleWomen Writers' Group - 2nd & 4th Mondays - 7:30 pm EST/EDT

Two images side-by-side. Headshot of author Margot McMahon smiling. Book cover with the words "If Trees Could Talk: a memoir, Margot McMahon" over a watercolor image of a woman's face superimposed on a pine forest with a road curving through it and a lone car on the road.
Author Talk: The Luster of Things Gifted, Margot McMahon.  
Art historians interpret a myriad of details into paintings, artifacts and sculptures to uncover insights into historical moments and people portrayed. The things left behind matters in what we bring to it, what it triggers in us. The intent and energy summoned to make it, use it, or care for an object keeps it evolving. Like a book changes with subsequent readings, the thing, the smell of rice pudding, the jingle of a charm bracelet, reveals itself like a melting snowflake: unique, pristine and fleeting. The nouns spring into verbs. Grasp that flash of memory in a word. Jot it down, flesh it out, give background and tell its story.

Whether you want to read a story, watch a movie, or write your own, Aristotle’s Three-Act Story Structure offers you a macro-habit to buff and polish your thing into your lustrous story. Introduce the Problem with a character, or two, and a setting. Flip it in a twist. At the boiling point of Confrontation, this midpoint pivots the plot. Your character changes course. Surprise your reader with a kink, curl or slip that hints at the Solution easing into the conclusion.  Your reader, watcher, listener wants to experience this plot arc allowing you the joy of filling in your memory.

Margot McMahon shows her predicament of untold family stories with one… last… very-quiet relative, a painter. His paintings gave her the clues for her questions. Tidbits of responses guide her reading to fill in the details. She was on a several-year quest for answers until her writing began to feel like a book. Join Yale Women to watch how Margot, in three acts, uncovers her past from interpreting a series of paintings to reveal family stories never told.  She begins her story with, “My questions got cryptic answers and often, “It was kind-of like that.” We had survived the teeth of stupefying odds…Moments evolved into his story of interwoven truths, both mentioned and imagined, until one became the other.”

A lifelong-environmentalist, internationally-awarded artist Margot McMahon’s The Fifth Season received a 2020 Mate E. Palmer First Place Book Award (IWPA) that she had expanded from her MIT Press published paper, Transforming Nature. Aquarius Press launched her Mac and Irene: A WWII Saga in June and If Trees Could Talk in November of 2021.  RESIST! A Visual History of Protest will be launched in 2022. Airdrie, a young adult book, was published in 2021. The Gift of Art: Sculpture Ventures for Young Artists was published by Yale University Print & Publishing in 2018. Margot taught at Yale University where she earned an MFA, the Art Institute of Chicago and DePaul University amongst other places. Margot’s environmental statements are also published in Scholastic Magazine, Chicago Magazine and World Book Encyclopedia. For more information please visit https://www.margotmcmahon.com .


Join a community of YaleWomen writers on Zoom to share successes and challenges, exchange tips on the craft and business of writing, and remind ourselves that all of our stories matter. All writers are welcome, regardless of genre, medium, or level of experience.

Second and fourth Monday of each month at 7:30 pm EST/EDT.

You'll receive an email with the login info after you RSVP. Hope to "see" you on Zoom!

March 14, 2022 at 7:30pm - 9pm
Yale Women Writers' Group ·

Will you come?

Be the first to comment

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.