June 19, 2019–August 14, 2019
6 p.m.–8 p.m.
Find the Meaning in Your Memoir
Memoir is more than writing down a sequence of events. You know what happened, but what is your story about? And how do you get the perspective to answer this question? In this class, discussions and writing exercises as well as peer and teaching artist feedback will help you explore the question: what is my memoir really about?
We will borrow fiction writing techniques to audit the secret motivations of your memoir's main "character" and explore that character's ultimate change. We will discuss the secret motivations and deeper meaning in memoirs such as Wild by Cheryl Strayed, Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah, and You Don't Have to Say You Love Me by Sherman Alexie. We will not be reading these books cover to cover, but rather discussing their overall plots and reading excerpts when appropriate.
Writing exercises as well as peer and teaching artist feedback will focus on guiding you to a deeper understanding of the meaning of your story. Class time will be split roughly in half between writing exercises and workshopping. The goal of the class is to help you find an increased awareness of your own memoir, and to provide you with tools to continue to plumb the depths of your story beyond the end of the class. Whether you have an idea for a memoir, but haven't started writing, have writing you'd like to shape into an essay or book, or have a completed manuscript that lacks a deeper meaning behind the sequence of events—this class is intended to help you uncover truths latent in your own story. Class participants need not have a completed manuscript, but should have an idea in mind.
$5 Copy Fee