First, consider this quote from Truth & Beauty:

While Lucy and I would later revise our personal history to say we had been friends since we met as freshmen, just for the pleasure of adding a few more years to the tally, the truth was we did not know each other at all in college. Or the truth was that I knew her and she did not know me.


Here are some questions regarding “Memoir,” which will be our focus for the next couple of weeks:

How does this quote help us define “memoir”?

Should we expect memoirs to be factual? Why or why not?

What memoirs have you read or heard about?

How do we separate a memoir from “truth”?

How can we tell the difference between them?

More Practice Critiquing

Sometimes people are unsure about what to say about someone’s creative writing when they’re supposed to critique it. When you’re looking at academic writing, you have concrete items to talk about: Is the argument supported by evidence? Is the evidence cited correctly? Can one easily understand what the author is trying to communicate? But creative writing is more personal. There’s a lot of wiggle room as far as what is good and what needs work.

During Week 2, you need to do two things: respond to Patchett and your classmates’ work.

With Patchett’s work, all I want is: What did you like? What questions do you have for the author?

With your classmates’ work, I want you to dig a bit deeper. I want you to ask more specific questions (this will help them write a revision). If you’re unsure of what to ask, here’s a list of possible questions to ask:

When and how did you first receive or encounter the object?
What was your first impression of it?
Who was there?

Describe your object.
What does it look like?
What does it feel like?
What does it smell like?

Did you know it was significant from the beginning?
How did your object gain meaning?
Has its meaning changed over time?

What does the object say about you?
What event or person taught you the importance of this object?

What is the best reward of owning your object?

If you had to give it to someone, who would that be and what would you say to them?

These questions can also help you when you’re revising your own “Meet My _____” for my evaluation!

Go to our Assignment page to find out more details!