I have been taking a memoir workshop since the spring of 2012. It, and a few other tools saved my life, and led me to writing again. I had never thought of myself as a memoirist or being particularly interested in sharing my life stories, but one of the things I’ve learned over the years is there is no such thing as a wasted prompt.
Any of the prompts I’ve used in creative writing and fiction can be used in non-fiction, and the reverse is the same with memoir prompts. Write your memoir or use the prompt for fiction. Write someone else’s story, with permission of course.
As this season’s memoir workshop was ending, I was hit with a bad case of writer’s block. I’ve shared a bit about that here. I also received on my Kindle the current copy of The Writer magazine, and it is almost entirely devoted to memoir writing.
There is also a contest in that issue that anyone can enter. I’ve pasted it below, but check out their website and the August issue of The Writer for more details on submitting your micro-memoir. I’d equate it to flash fiction, the fictional equivalent that I’m more familiar with.
One definition that you will need from the article itself is wunderkammer. It is a cabinet of curiosities where treasured items are curated, inspiring or reminding you of significant life experiences or dreams.
Give [Leslie] Jamison’s assignment a try. Consider objects from your personal history as potential entries in your wunderkammer. Stock your cabinet with items from your past that inspire curiosity, awe, titillation, and fear. Review the items on your shelves and then choose one to realize more fully. Don’t go for the obvious –evoking danger through a knife, for example. Select an object with an unexpected powerful emotional charge and tell its story in one paragraph. Are you ready to let someone peek into your wunderkammer? If so, submit your previously unpublished one-paragraph (no longer than 200 words) micro-memoir to The Writer by emailing it as an attachment to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Micro-Memoir Contest”by Aug. 8th. (One entry per writer, please.) I’ll judge the finalists, and the winner will be published in our December 2017 issue!
– the August 2017 issue of The Writer