Thursday, May 26, 2011

Writing memoir pieces-a manual for beginners.

If you ever wanted to write essays and sketches about your childhood, you are in luck.
I will begin today, with this post, to outline and walk you through the steps you need to take to get this project going.
Most of what we write comes from our memories anyhow. Here though, we are actually mining the seeds of those memories.

Lesson One:

1. Collect a handful of pictures with you in them.
2. Don't worry about chronology.
5. Be guided by your emotional reaction to the pictures.

Great! Now, the first step is to introduce yourself.  Which one is you? Do you remember this time?
What about the clothes in this picture, the hair?

For me, the bow is the memory  point. So, here is what I came out with my first topic:

 All through elementary school, I was known as the girl with the big bow.

(Your coverage may be as short as one paragraph, as long as a short story. Just write without stopping. When done, clip the picture to the essay and put it aside for a while.)

Look for further lessons in future posts.


  1. Wonderful start! I look forward to more tips and improving on my writing. Thanks so much.

  2. Rosaria, it's so simple, and wonderful — thank you!

  3. nice...i think the picture prompt is a great way to get inspiration...

  4. I'm glad you're making this simple, it seems more possible then.

  5. I shall be following along
    Right now I am knee deep in F.Scott Fitzgerald
    and finishing some writing for a workshop
    But...I will join you in this endeavor..soon
    I want to know more about the bow and what it did for the inside of this pretty child

  6. Great start, ladies and Gent!
    Suz's question is critical: "I want to know more.....and what it did for the inside of this pretty child."

    I shall work on these prompts with you, and will post my response too.

  7. rosaria, i like the idea of using pictures as prompts. perhaps they would press me further away from the few stories i hold as central. this reminds me that my sister has home movies of our family from before i was born, and even of me and my father who died when i was five or so. i can hardle imagine seeing these new images, as though as they are lived these images fall to a box that (usually) is never opened again.

    i should watch some time soon.


  8. What happens when we concentrate on one picture and start talking, our mind makes additional connections, taking us to additional places, adding rooms and furniture to witness our events. Let it happen! Go on and keep writing on that picture until you are tired and spent.

    p.s. when I wrote my memoir, and some of you have actually read it, I kept music in the background to help me through, Italian music for me, as I was going back fifty, sixty years to a time and a place that I no longer owned.

    Erin, ye, the pictures, the movies, will remind you of additional times, add layers of texture to your memories.

    Just going through this step, I warn you, will take you emotionally back to that point. And it will ignite all kinds of fires.

  9. Oh, Rosaria! Che bello!!
    And how timely... I will be using your fabulous prompts, and this image-inspired one is perfect.

    Grazie, Maestra.
    Ti voglio bene