How are we approaching memoir?
Memoir is a unique genre. Ex-presidents, the founding fathers, war heroes, politicians, scientists, and even famous athletes write memoirs. Memoir allows writers to remember and relive their exploits, their accomplishments, triumphs and even failures. Writers of memoir look back at their lives with reflection. They remember poignant moments in their lives and express their thoughts on the major events with years of wisdom, insight, and most importantly, hindsight. Memoir can be informative, emotional, and even inspirational. For us, as young writers, we have had many interesting experiences and adventures. However, it is possible that we might not have enough years under our belts to create the sort of classic memoir previously mentioned. Instead, we will focus our memoir in a different direction. We will write about who we are and what we believe about ourselves. We will look into the past to develop an idea about ourselves and use memories to develop our writing.
Over the course of a few weeks, students will develop a big idea about who they are. Our memoirs will revolve around this big idea. We will share this idea with our readers the way an essayist would explain a claim. In other words, some of our memoir will look like an essay, directly stating our big idea. We will also use our personal narrative skills. Certain parts of our memoirs will include stories. These stories will develop our idea for the reader, proving that our big idea is true.
Some memoirs look more like stories with patches of idea-based writing around a big story. “Eleven” and “Sunrise” are fantastic examples of story-based memoir. Other memoirs look more like essays, with lots of ideas and just a few, shorter stories. “Quietly Struggling” is a great example of a memoir that is structured more like an essay.