November 18 Activity: Time to explore feelings in your memoir
In the last exercises, I have asked you to explore the sense details of your life. This is not to slight feelings that have characterized various periods of your life. My own writing is full of feeling and feelings.
Feelings are often expressed through sense details. Today you will include feelings in your memoir, feelings of a particular time in your life via sense details.
1. In a journal entry, write about feelings you had during a certain time in your life. These can be happy or unhappy feelings. Write as long as you wish. If you want to rant and rave that is fine; if you want to have a pity party, that is also fine. You may find yourself making a list of dates and feelings. Fine. What you are doing is just simply identifying feelings. In short, you are making a Memory List of feelings.
2. If there are major feelings or feelings that recur frequently, chose five of them; otherwise chose any five you want to write about. For each feeling, make a list of 5 to 10 details that will help the reader to understand these feelings. If you wrote joyful, you might list smile, tingling skin, voice rising, needing to share the news, being incoherent, reading the letter bearing the news over and over again, hugging the person who brought you the news.
3. Using the text you wrote above (#1) in your journal, write a story. In this story, incorporate the sense details from #2. Be sure to include some sort of here is some sort of plot, action.
4. Would you rather read your journal or your new text? I’d wager that the new text is much more interesting. When you include feelings in your memoir, you heighten the reader’s interest. Leave a note below sharing your thoughts.
We have helped many people whose lives demanded to be recorded but who themselves were not writers to create interesting and well-written memoirs.
We listen to you speak your story. We ask you a multitude of questions. Then we get to work writing. We come back to you with text and you make lots of corrective comments and we ask you a whole lot of new questions. Then, we go back to writing again.
Over time, your story develops into a memoir—one that you have shaped at every stage of the writing process.
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