Engaging the Experience: How to Make Sense in Memoir of What Happened in Life
Vivian Gornick says, “Truth in a memoir is achieved not through a recital of actual events; it is achieved when the reader comes to believe that the writer is working hard to engage with the experience at hand.” How do we organize the events of a life to tell a story? How does the story become a work of art? We will work hard to identify each writer’s core theme and shape a narrative governed by that theme.
You may already have an idea, sections, or a whole manuscript. Wherever you are in the difficult process of writing memoir, this workshop will provide you with some organizing principles to help you move forward.
Susanna Sonnenberg is the author of the memoirs Her Last Death and She Matters: A Life in Friendships, both New York Times Best Sellers. Her essays and personal narratives have been widely anthologized. She teaches writing online and writes in Missoula, Montana, where she has lived since 1993.