Memoir: Pieces for the Whole


This workshop is based on the premise that the whole story is made up of parts, that writing a memoir starts with a compilation of many pieces—episodes or anecdotes or vignettes or moments held in memory. Designed for those who are in the process of sketching out these moments, this workshop will look at ways to “fashion a text” as Annie Dillard says, from “fragmentary patches of color and feeling,” especially for those trying to write about family with its many competing voices. We will look for narrative potential in the fragmentary material, the narrative potential in family artifacts, and vividness in language and detail. We will spend some time looking at short nonfiction examples to discover the possibility of form and narrative structures, but the majority of the workshop will be given to reading your work by an informed and sympathetic audience.

In this workshop, we will critique writing you bring from home. Please bring two short pieces of your work in progress, a variety of questions, and a curiosity about how all this is done.

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