Introduction to Personal Essay and Memoir: Turning the Pen on Ourselves with Mark Dostert
Why might a stranger care about my experiences, thoughts, feelings, joys, sorrows, musings, and confusions? Memoir and personal essay should be a gift to readers, a text that enables them to see something consciously that they had only previous known subconsciously. Our controlling idea will be that effective personal essay and memoir writing does not center itself primarily in confession but rather in self-examination. The essayist/memoirist must interrogate his/her own stories to find something particular in which to offer something universal, and then determine how best to present their theme and meaning through engaging narrative arcs. We will use mentor texts (both memoir and essay) to consider how what engages a reader most is when something is at stake. Once something is at stake, Point-of-View, Imagery, Diction, Details, and Syntax can then infuse the narrative with aesthetic pleasure, regardless of the essay’s subject matter. We will also consider how Tone, Figurative Language, and Allusions impact and enrich such nonfiction writing. Participants are encouraged to bring the opening one-five pages of a personal essay or opening of a book-length memoir manuscript for feedback according to the writing craft concepts introduced and discussed.
INSTRUCTOR: MARK DOSTERT TIME: Sunday March 29, 3-6 PM PRICE: Early-Bird until Tuesday, March 24th: $45 for members, $60 for non-members. After Tuesday, March 24th: $55 for members, $70 for non-members. Become a member here. Scholarships available here. LOCATION: Writespace at Silver Street Studios, 2000 Edwards #208, Houston, TX 77007 LEVEL: All Levels CAP: Limited to 15 Writers