What is a memoir? • Memoire in French means memory.
Definiton • According to the dictionary… • A record of events written by a person having intimate knowledge of them and based on personal observations • An account of one’s personal life and experiences; autobiography • A biography or biographical sketch
A writer’s definition… • Memoir is defined as “contain[ing] a mere slice of ordinary life—a certain time period, a special relationship, a particular theme or angle on life.” • Julia Watson
Memoir writing gives an opportunity for everyday folks to get their stories told and shared
Small moments in time, when written about, can make a strong connection between the reader and the writer • Most likely, the person who writes a memoir knows that his or her life or situation is worth reading about and that he or she has some sort of story to tell
Who can write a memoir? • Anyone! It doesn’t have to be a celebrity or someone in a position of power. Reading about anyone’s life in an in-depth and personal way can be quite interesting and/or educational • Readers are oftentimes more interested in reading about the lives of other “regular” people just like them
What makes for a good memoir topic? • One of the keys of writing a memoir is to look back or reflect on one specific moment or period in time • It is important to look back at that moment from the place you are now, not trying to remember how you were feeling then
Without retrospection or reflection, the writing about oneself might be something closer to a diary or journal • It is important for writers to remember that just writing about event after event in one’s life is a list, not a story
For a memoir to be successful and interesting, the writer has to put feeling into it as well as think about the moments that he or she writes about and think about what exactly makes those times so important
So what should you write about? • Usually the moments that autobiographers write about are not that particularly interesting or captivating • Day-to-day situations • More important than the situation is the way that it is written
Why write a memoir? • It creates meaning from a past memory • It can be cathartic or therapeutic • Can be used as a gift to family members or friends • The writer doesn’t allow that moment to fade • The information can be used as a teaching tool
A memoir can relate ordinary events using extraordinary writing… Everyone has a story to tell!