Memoir - l IIOW3W , C ONTENTS Essays, notes on craft, etc....

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CONTENTS Essays, notes on craft, etc. Memoir notes "Writing Personal Essays: On the Necessity of Turning OneselfInto a Character" Phillip Lopate "Why I Write" Terry Tempest Williams "The Art and Craft of Memoir" Lewis Thomas "Twelve Ways ofLooking at Memoir" Louise DeSalvo From The Situation and the Story Vivian Gornick Writing the Memoir Judith Barrington: Voice Dialogue Plot (what to leave out) Tone Scene & Summary Moving around in time Subject Matter Subjects Narrator Memoir vs. Fiction Concrete and Abstract Memoir Readings "Rooster at the Hitchin' Post" David Sedaris This Boy's Life Tobias Wolff The Year ofMagical Thinking Joan Didion The Liar's Club Mary Karr The Discomfort Zone Jonathan Franzen Running With Scissors Augusten Burroughs 1 8 12 13 19 23 ..... 26 27 - 28- 29 /" 30 . .- 32 =- 36 - 37 - 38 - 39 40 42 48 55 60 66 73 Heaven's Coast Mark Doty 79 111M ~~btJJ~)JiB~V: Sudi- ~t; g~ }J\dc-~
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ENGL300 Some Notes and Questions on Memoir Definition and Characteristics: A memoir is a piece of autobiographical writing, usually shorter in nature than a comprehensive autobiography. The memoir, especially as it is being used in publishing today, often tries to capture certain highlights or meaningful moments in one's past, often including a contemplation of the meaning of that event at the time ofthe writing of the memoir. The memoir may be more emotional and concerned with capturing particular scenes, or a series of events, rather than documenting every fact of a person's life. Focuses on a brief period of time or series of related events Is focused in time; doesn't cover a great span of years (that would be an autobiography) Explores an event or series of related events that remain lodged in memory The writer's contemplation of the meaning of these events in retrospect Describes the events and then shows, either directly or indirectly, why they are significant (or why you continue to remember them) Personal reconstruction of the events and their impact Centers on a problem or focuses on a conflict and its resolution and on the understanding of why and how the resolution is significant in your life Fictional quality even though the story is essentially true Narrative structure~ including many of the usual elements of storytelling such as setting, plot development, imagery, conflict, characterization, foreshadowing and flashback, and irony and symbolism Differences between memoir and fiction: Judith Barrington: The modern literary memoir also has many of the characteristics of fiction. Moving both backward and forward in time, re-creating believable dialogue, switching back and forth between scene and summary, and controlling the pace and tension of the story, the memoirist keeps her reader engaged by being an adept storyteller. So, memoir is really a kind of hybrid form with elements of both fiction and essay, in which the author's voice, musing conversationally on a true story, is all important.
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Memoir - l IIOW3W , C ONTENTS Essays, notes on craft, etc....

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