Memoir Assignment

Essay#1 — The Memoir

DUE DATE: Monday, Feb. 3, emailed to by 5:00 PM

 Write about a time from your childhood or adolescence — or any time from your past. Begin with the mapping of the specific place where you lived, and then, move into a specific moment, maybe a single weekend or night. Use essays by Alice Walker and Tony Earley as models. Here are some questions to consider as you write:

  • What were the matters that were important to you?
  • What kind of things did you and your friends talk about?
  • What did you keep hidden?
  • What did the place look like? Work to make the place come alive for someone who has never been there.
  • Who were some of the people who were important to you?
  • Was there specific lingo you used?
  • What did you want then?
  • What do you understand now that you didn’t then?

Shoot for 5-8* pages. Please remember to double space. As with all assignments, feel free to adjust to write what is most urgent for you.


*A note on page lengths. I’m more concerned about quality than quantity. I’d rather read 4 pages of very precise engaging prose than 6 pages of fluff. But 6 pages will push you to dig deeper into the experience you’re writing about, and might even reveal memories you’d thought forgotten. On the other end, you wan’t be punished for going over the 8 pages – good for you! – but keep in mind my normal reading load is about 1000 pages/week. This means it might take longer for me to get feedback to you.