Selected Works

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Janice Gary is the award-winning author of Short Leash: A Memoir of Dog Walking and Deliverance (Michigan State University Press, 2013). She is known for her dynamic memoir workshops and also works as a coach and mentor to help writers find their voice and understand how to weave meaningful stories from the threads of life experience.


Rising from the Mud (photo: J.Gary)
Those of us who write memoir have been accused of gazing at our navels, limiting our vision to the lint and circular grooves of our own small stories. But what is a navel but an ancient portal, a scar reminding us of a mysterious and unknown journey leading to life itself? There is so much unknown, all of this life, really, how could we ever stop asking questions, stop looking, stop gazing inward and outward and through the cracks in between?

Call me navel gazer, call me womb-writer, call me detective, for that more accurately describes the vocation I have chose. I am searching to recover what has been stolen. To find it, I start at the beginning, even before the beginning. I write about the past to understand my present.

Some people say, donít look back, as if the past is an snake-headed Medusa and that by turning toward it, the one looking will be turned to stone. But I have found the opposite is true. Taking apart the past and reflecting how it impacts the present creates a mirror of meaning. And as I look there, a strange thing happens.
I see myself clearly for the first time.

From "Origins: A Miami Beach Love Story"

Janice Gary is a writer, teacher, dreamer, dog lover and passionate observer of the natural world. Her memoir, Short Leash: A Memoir of Dog Walking and Deliverance (Michigan State University Press, 2013) was awarded an Eric Hoffer Award for Memoir, two 2014 Silver Nautilus Awards (Memoir and Writing about Animals/​Nature) and a Finalist for the 2014 Sarton Women's Literary Award for Memoir. She is the recipient of the Christine White Award for Memoir/​Personal Essay and the Ames Award for Essay and is a fellow of the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Her work has appeared in Brevity, River Teeth, Literal Latte, Kaleidoscope, The Baltimore Review, The Cincinnati Enquirer, The Potomac Review and Women Speak Out, an anthology from The Crossing Press.

She teaches nonfiction for the Master of Liberal Studies Program at Arizona State University and leads writing workshops at conferences, writing centers and retreats including Writing the Memoir You've Been Dreaming About at the C.G. Jung Institute of New York City and Memoir craft classes at the The Writer's Center (Bethesda, MD). Her book, Short Leash: A Memoir of Dog Walking and Deliverance, (Michigan State University Press, August, 2013) is available online and at local booksellers.

Janice is available to work one-on-one with writers to help them find the heart of their story and develop the voice and structure to carry the narrative.

For more information, fill out the contact sheet on this website.