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  • Seminar
  • Online: Zoom
  • Adult (18+)

Memoir Essentials: Finding Your Story

No Longer Enrolling

  • $130.00 Non-Member
  • $110.00 Member

Class Description

In her classic craft book The Situation and the Story, Vivian Gornick muses on a river trip she once took with her husband and a guide. All three wrote about the trip afterwards, she notes, and the facts of that trip went unchanged, yet each recounting came to mean something different because of the differing preoccupations of its writer. The situation is what happened; the story is what one has to say about it, why the writer cares, and why the reader should. This is the foundation of good memoir writing: the realization that it is not enough to say what happened but that one must use differing levels of attention to give rise to thematic focus and thus a particular meaning. Out of what happened, *which* story will you choose to tell? And how will you find the conflict at its heart to give your memoir the narrative tension that comes from urgent meaning-making, the quest to understand what happened that lies at the heart of all memoir? In this class, we’ll use a mix of craft readings, readings from published memoirs, and in-class exercises to help you develop your own understanding of your memoir. This is the first in a series of one-day classes in writing the memoir that will span the year, appropriate both for memoirists with advanced drafts and for those just beginning their writing.

Part of GrubStreet's "Memoir Essentials" Series, led by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich and dedicated to exploring the core elements of memoir writing. For more on this series' offerings, click here.

Scholarships Format/Location

Thanks to the excellent literary citizenship of our donors, scholarships are available for all GrubStreet classes. To apply, click the gray "APPLY FOR SCHOLARSHIP" button. In order to be considered for a scholarship, you must complete your application at least one week before the start date of a class. Please await our scholarship committee's decision before registering for the class. We cannot hold spots in classes, so the sooner you apply, the better. Scholarships cannot be applied retroactively.

For more detailed information about GrubStreet scholarships, including how to contribute to scholarship funds for other students, click here.

This class will take place using Zoom videoconferencing. Please visit the Resources tab to access the video-conference link.

Zoom Participation:

Students are not required to turn their camera on, but are encouraged to participate any way they feel comfortable through functions such as the live chat, emoji reactions, and unmuting the microphone. Learn more about using Zoom here.

Zoom Accessibility:

We ask that instructors enable closed captioning and send a transcript of the session after class. You can also enable closed captioning at any time during the meeting. If your instructor forgets to send the transcript, just send ’em an email!