Letters from the Program Director: The Problem of Memory in Memoir

Hello writers,

If you’re writing memoir or personal essays, your memories are the foundation and driving force of your narrative, but this process is far more complicated than simply writing down what you remember because our memories are flawed. We do not remember things exactly as they happened and we can’t guarantee that our truth of a story is the same truth for everyone else involved. But when you’re writing memoir and personal essays, there is an expectation that the story you’re telling is completely factual.

So how do memoirists and essayists navigate the flawed nature of memory? And what do you do when your memory alone isn’t enough to craft an entire book or essay? These are questions that every nonfiction writer will have to consider eventually. Luckily, there are a lot of resources and practices out there to help you navigate this journey.

That’s why we’re excited to be offering the class “Tackling the Problems of Memory in Memoir” with Rachel Starnes on Saturday, May 14. If you’re working on a memoir or essays and are interested in learning how imperfect memories impact your contract to tell the truth, this class is for you.

All the best,
Sam Babiak
Program Director

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