Some wise words of advice regarding memoir

“…I had to admit that I was often spending too much time telling stories about the past and remembering myself as the younger person I once was. I was not spending enough time thinking about what had really happened to me and the questions that were raised.”

We'll Be the Last Ones to Let You Down

doorway Your memoir needs to include the outside story as well as the inside story.

Photo Credit: Wiebke Flickr via Compfightcc

I’m prepping for my beginning memoir class at The Loft Literary Center (6-8 p.m. Wednesdays for six weeks, starting July 12), and I thought I’d share a handout I’m planning to use.

I excerpted some passages from “Let Me Think About That: The Memoirist as Ruminant,” by Joyce Dyer (The Writer’s Chronicle, September 2013, pp. 90-99). These passages highlight the importance of reflection in memoir. Memoir requires a duality: the story AND the reflection, often referred to as the outer story and the inner story. Memoir needs both to work. A memoir can be crafted from any story, even something that at the surface seems “small” or “quiet.”

Excerpts:

“We need material—particular and original material—to chew on. Without it, any thoughts we might have will be bare—hackneyed or…

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