Making Memoir Matter [Meghan Daum]
It’s easy for writers of creative nonfiction to get bogged down in telling just their own stories, leaving the reader to wonder at the end, “So what? Why should I care?” In this workshop, we will examine some of the common pitfalls of telling a personal story and learn how to broaden potential tunnel vision. We will explore the importance of grounding your story in a wider context—whether that be a present-day controversy, cultural observation, or even an existential question. After all, memoirs and essays are only meaningful insofar as the personal illuminates the universal. But, when told well, even the most sharply focused personal story can offer great insights into the larger human experience and resonate with all kinds of readers.
Please come to class prepared to talk about ideas for memoir or personal narrative nonfiction that you are either working on or would like to embark on. We will do an in-class writing exercise and possibly discuss a short reading assignment. Bring your generosity, your honesty and your sense of humor!