Memoir 101

Memory is often tricky and writing often hard—so why on Earth does anybody want to write a memoir? You may be seeking the truth, or wanting to tell it as best you can. Maybe you want to gift a record of your life to your family. Perhaps you’ve lived through an event or series of events that has affected you deeply, brought about new wisdom or insight, or highlighted the complex reality of human resilience.

Whatever your reason, telling your story matters. Let’s venture together into figuring out the truth, through storytelling. Let’s explore the various ways to construct an engaging memoir. Let’s try to figure out how to imbue all the recalled and so-called “facts” of our lives with qualities that transport them to something larger than facts stacked on the page.

We’ll talk too about how to walk through the emotional process and “lessons learned” territory of writing a memoir, without stumbling into the abyss of “memoir workshop as therapy or pulpit.” To this end, we’ll start each class with a quick check-in, then launch into participant work—with a strict focus on the pages in front of us, and how they are affecting us as readers. Bring notes you have collected and drafts you have started of up 600 words in 12-pt. font with at least a 1″ margin and enough copies to pass around.

Memoir In-Progress

What better season than spring for those of you who have spent time knee-deep in the murky process of writing your memoir? You’ve done some deep soul searching or head scratching, and you’ve unearthed some wicked, or beautiful, or difficult truths. Let’s work to bring them to light and let them bleed out or blossom!

In this workshop—as with the Memoir 101 Workshop—we’ll continue in our efforts to imbue all the recalled and so-called “facts” of our lives with qualities that transport them to something larger than facts stacked on the page. We’ll help one another weave elements of good storytelling into our work by playing with time, theme, character development, scene, and whatever else comes up.

Each session will start with a quick check-in, then we’ll launch into participant work—with a strict focus on the pages in front of us, and how they are affecting us as readers. Bring your rough drafts of 600 words in 12-pt. font with at least a 1″ margin and enough copies to pass around.

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