Summer Session 2020
Prompt: A funny misunderstanding and/or a time you realized the gap between generations
Online Session, 5/21/2020
Prompt: Something I don’t remember
Online Session, 5/14/2020:
Prompt: Life After…
Online Session, 4/23/2020:
Prompt: Writing to Place and Memory
Online Session, 4/16/2020:
Prompt: This is where the story begins…
Prompt: Home, the idea of home
Prompt: Surprises. A unexpected turn in your life.
Prompt: Choose Your Own (from class) or Write about a time you met someone you immediately liked (or disliked!)
Scars by David Owen
Our Scars Tell the Stories of Our Lives by Dana Jemmings
Prompt: Write 3-5 pages about a scar/s or take us through the physical scars you have.
How To Write Your Memoir by Abigail Thomas
Prompt: See handout.
Prompt: I Remember…
Reading and last class!
Prompt: Reflect on a color that might describe you or your life. Or begin with a sentence that says it all and go from there.
Bring 5-8 pages, double spaced for our potluck and reading on 1/16. And a quote or excerpt of your own from a book or story you like.
Link to Handout 12/19/19:
Prompt: What is the story or event you’re burning to write about that you haven’t written about yet?
Link to Handout 12/5/19:
Prompt: Slow down….Tell the story of an important or a usual hour or few hours. Use details, imagining to stretch it out. Fiction has so much to teach us about writing about ourselves.
Link to Handout 11/21/19:
Prompt: Neighbors and the Neighborhood
Link to Handout 11/14/19:
Prompt: A favorite childhood object
Link to Handout 11/7/2019:
Prompt: In the Summer of…
Link to Handouts 10/17/2019
Prompt: Turning Points. Write about a significant age in your life–turning six, turning fifty, turning 81–or alternatively, someone you know and their significant birthday. Linger in details. Rely on the beauty of a scene. Allow the details to tell you what the piece–and that age–is abut in a deeper sense beyond the obvious, say getting your driver’s license. (Prompt and reading taken from Marylin Abildscov.)
Link to Handouts 10/10/2019
Prompt: Write about the influence of a family member, guardian, or community member on your life or your family’s life as a whole.
No Class 10/3/2019
Link to Handouts 9/26/2019
(The above is not the exact excerpt I passed out in class but that’s okay.)
Prompt: Write two pages about something or someone being broken. Or about broken-ness.
Link to Handouts 9/19/2019
Prompt: Where I’m From…
Link to Handouts 9/12/2019
Prompt: Write Two Pages About Your Name or an Important Name in Your Family or Two Pages beginning with, I Survived…
Link to Handout 9/5/2019
Prompt: Write Two Pages of Nine Things You Don’t Remember or Nine Things You Do Remember About Growing Up.
Link to Handout 4/22/19
Polish or write a new piece for our final reading next week.
Prompt: Take a holiday, any holiday and write about how well it went. Or similarly, how everything went wrong.
Link to Handout 4/15/19
Prompt: What is your sharpest memory of someone or an event that transpired? Bring it back to life like Mary Karr.
Link to Handout 4/9/19
Prompt: Did you ever take a trip that had unexpected results? Or a journey that meant something more in the end? Get specific: Focus on detail as Dillard does.
Link to Handout 4/2/19
Prompt: What is that burning story you haven’t written yet? What is the story you’ve been dying to tell?
Link to Handout 4/25/19
(Optional) Prompt: Singing or Song, however that resonates with you. Maybe a song that defines you at a certain point in your life or a song you always find yourself singing.
Link to Handouts 4/18/19
Excerpt from Leaving Tinkertown by Tanya Ward Goodman (handed out in class)
Homework: Beginnings. If you’re stuck, make a list. When I was born…When I was ten….When I was 18…
Links to Handouts 4/11/19
Homework: Write about the origins of your name, or the naming and/or re-naming of someone or something, or the difficulties of a having your name.
Links to Handouts 3/7/18:
Homework: Write a portrait of someone in your life focusing on them or your relationship with them like in He & I.
Links to Handout 2/28/19:
Homework: Goodbyes, saying goodbye to someone or a place or a time in your life
Links to Handout 2/21/19:
Homework: Water. Slow down a moment in the water, underwater, almost drowning. Or write about metaphorically drowning. The important part of this assignment is to slow down a moment as in Girl Underwater.
Links to Handout 2/14/19:
Homework: Write three pages about whatever you’d like really focusing on a scene(s) in your piece. If you need a prompt, write about a hobby or craft as a means to talk about something else about your life like Christine Hyung-Oak Lee or using a humorous tone like David Sedaris.
Links to Handout 2/7/19:
Homework: A special family photograph you may have or a photograph you’ve taken in your mind’s eye or describe a photograph you should have taken.
Links to Handout 1/31/19:
Homework: Write about your first job or an interesting job or the most boring job you’ve ever had.
Link to Handout from 10/25/18:
Link to Handout from10/18/18:
Homework: Write about a time you were accused of something you didn’t do.
Link to Handout from 10/11/18:
Try to profile someone else in your memoir:
Links to Handouts from 10/4/18:
Links to Handouts from 9/20/2018…NO CLASS (9/27):
Homework: Write two pages about your earliest memory like Jeannette Walls or arriving somewhere new (a job, city, country) like Wesley Gibson. Email your pages by next Thursday to the whole group via email.
excerpt from You Are Here by Wesley Gibson (not what I read aloud in class, but similar)
Links to Handouts from 9/13/18:
Homework: Write two pages about a time you got into trouble or Write about a summer that changed everything. Or both.
A Snowy Bogota by Ingrid Contreras
Our Perfect Summer by David Sedaris
Maybe It Happened by Joanne Beard
Links to handouts from 9/6/18:
Homework: Write your own brief history.
Life Span by Molly Giles
How To Write Your Memoir by Abigail Thomas