Monday, January 5, 2009

Your Life in a Snapshot: Writing the Memoir

mem⋅oir –noun
1. a record of events written by a person having intimate knowledge of them and based on personal observation.
2. Usually,
a. an account of one's personal life and experiences; autobiography.
b. the published record of the proceedings of a group or organization, as of a learned society.
3. a biography or biographical sketch.

ad⋅o⋅les⋅cence –noun
1. the transitional period between puberty and adulthood in human development, extending mainly over the teen years and terminating legally when the age of maturity is reached; youth.
2. the process or state of growing to maturity.
3. a period or stage of development, as of a society, preceding maturity.


Throughout the course of the first semester, we have discussed the importance of memory in writing. It is a function that allows us to make meaning of our experiences, which essentially define who we become not only as writers, but specifically as story-tellers. Even in the context of formal essay or academic writing, there is a story to share.

Eudora Welty's memoir, One Writer's Beginnings, reads like a series of photographic snapshots. This makes sense, considering she was a photographer at one point in her life. Indeed her memoir is a composite whole of many parts, bits and pieces of her life taken together to form a seamless autobiography.

Taking a tip from Welty and a professor I had in grad school, Dr. Richard Wertime,for a course on the adolescent experience in American and British literature, I would like you to write a brief memoir--a minimum of three pages / maximum of five--in which you capture a decisive or transformative adolescent experience that "you" have had. The experience can be a positive or a negative one, or some mixture of both--there's no limit on how extreme the experience you depict might be.

This effort should be:
a. written in first-person singular voice
b. drawn from your own personal experience
c. as realistic and true to the way the event happened as humanly possible

Please give me a typed hard copy in the following format:
12 pt. Georgia font
Double Spaced
1" margins all around
Header (aligned right) with last name and page number

Please format your front page with the proper heading:
Your Name
My Name
Eng 165 / Writing the Essay
Date Due

Please include a creative title, centered directly below your header

The assignment is due in my mailbox on Thursday, January 15, 2009. No exceptions for late submissions. You will receive a zero.

This assignment will be out of 100 pts. I will use the typical rubric, which includes a total of 20 pts. for each area of critique: Meaning, Development, Organization, Language, Mechanics.

Any questions, please feel free to axe.

Brother Robert K. Peach, FSC

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