live to tell.

So this past Saturday was my big day. The moment of truth. I had stayed up late the night before, working in on that week’s assignment. It wasn’t a lengthy paper. Just a small assignment where we were supposed to choose a routine task and talk through something that happened to us while doing it and seeing it to its completion. My selection was a bit of a stretch… my routine task was taking the subway and my writing focused on a particularly rough day I had where I just had to focus on getting back home on the subway. I think anyone living in Manhattan would say that the subway ride could count as a routine task!

It was interesting though. The odd part about writing memoir is that you’re rehashing events and times you’ve let go of. Our teacher mentioned the fine line … you want to write about your experiences while you still remember enough detail to pull together a story. However, if you do it too soon, it’s almost too recent for you to effectively distance yourself from the encounter to write about it – especially if it’s an emotional experience. I found myself watching 27 Dresses and listening to some mellow music. It was pretty hard. I think I chose something too recent, but I’m curious to see what my teacher thinks about it. The piece had to only be 500 words and my submission is going to instead present her with over three times that. Ooops. It’s a very different one for me though.

The class session was just amazing. I wanted to be able to take it all in. Rather than be scribbling away notes as my classmates spoke, I opted to bring in my mini-tape recorder and to record the session. The way it works is the writer cannot speak during the beginning of the session. We go around the room, with everyone saying what they really liked. There’s then a second trip around the room, where everyone offers constructive criticism. Finally at the end the author gets to speak, offer clarifications, and any other comments.

They liked the storyline. Loved my voice (the overall way in which I write) and my effective usage of descriptions throughout the story. Most of what I submitted was background info to kick the story off, so I was concerned they would find it boring – but I was pleasantly surprised.

With my parents coming into town for an extended visit, I had to move up the next time I go and so now I find myself with another 5-10 page submission due in on Saturday. With my friend Mag coming up for the whole weekend and potentially arriving in tomorrow at 5:30, I don’t quite have my typical Friday night buffer zone. Oh. My Indian restaurant is going to think I just don’t love them. Luckily, I’m almost six pages in and it’s going pretty well. Whew. Relief.

Just needed a little break for a few, so thought I’d jump over here. I’m behind over here, yes, I know. More coming soon. Perhaps another procrastination break shortly. In the meantime, oh yes, a little go me dance is in order 😉


7 thoughts on “live to tell.

  1. YAY for your paper being a success! I still think it’s really cool that you’re taking the time to do this class.

    I remember from taking writing-intensive classes in college that having random assignments like this (writing about stuff you most likely wouldn’t have thought to write about otherwise), can really stretch your mind and cause you to think about things you might not have otherwise. 🙂

  2. Thanks Lex! I am taking a memoir writing class — not for a college or certificate program. Just because I’m working on writing one and wanted to get some more help on the process. It’s been fabulous.

    Thanks Zan and Annie! Totally agree. The encouragement and being in a group environment has been great. I’ve never done that for writing.

    I’m going again next week…

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