Jump Start Your Memoir
This workshop is part of Creative Nonfiction Week.
Starting your memoir can be daunting. Determining its scope, voice, and perhaps most challenging of all, figuring out where to begin, are no easy tasks. But guidance in a group setting of peers facing similar questions can help. We will wrestle with these big craft questions along with others peculiar to the memoir genre including, truth vs memory and turning yourself into a character. Also: just because our stories are true doesn’t mean they always “feel” true. We will explore what New Yorker critic James Woods calls “thisness,” which he defines as “any detail that draws abstraction towards itself and seems to kill that abstraction with a puff of palpability.” This workshop will be both generative and workshop-focused. Come with a sense of the story you wish to tell and a willingness to dig deep into questions of why we write the stories we write.
Please bring to class copies of 5-10 pages of your memoir project. (Number of copies announced two weeks prior to workshop start date.)
Alysia Abbott is the author of Fairyland: A Memoir of My Father. Her work can be found in The Boston Globe, The New York Times, Out, Real Simple, Triquarterly, Vogue and elsewhere. She’s received scholarships from the Ragdale Foundation and has instructed master level classes at Grub Street and New England College. Fairyland was a New York Times Editor’s Pick and was awarded the ALA Stonewall Award and the Prix Heroine de Madame Figaro. The San Francisco Chronicle named Fairyland a best book of 2013.