Memoir and Legal Education


Memoir Writing

Lessons from Writing My Memoir
Richard S. Gilbert [review of Sven Birkerts, The Art of Time in Memoir: Then, Again]
[Honest and Chronology]

"[T]he memoirist must reflect."

In a memoir, there is a "differentiating between the writer now, at his desk, who’s telling the story and sometimes musing on it, versus the character in the story—the narrator’s earlier self—who doesn’t know what’s going to happen or even, sometimes, what is happening. . . . Memoirs vary widely in their balance among scene, summary, and reflection, but especially in the amount and the nature of the writer’s reflecting upon meaning."

Authenticity & Imagination in Memoir
Michael Steinberg, founder of the journal, Fourth Genre: Explorations in Nonfiction and author of the memoir, Still Pitching

"The difference between crafting a memoir as a literary work and writing it just the way you remember it depends on the permission the writer gives him/herself to imagine and rearrange the chronology of events. We do this not to cheat or write a more interesting story, but to help us better understand what it is we’re trying to say."

"[A]llowing oneself the permission to use the imagination is the hardest thing to teach would be nonfiction writers."

"If a memoir is crafted with careful attention to language, detail, and form, it’s striving to become a literary work rather than a direct confession or retelling of one’s own personal story. Whether a piece of creative nonfiction succeeds or fails has a great deal to do with the writer’s skill and ability to shape his or her experience into a satisfying artistic whole." [Michael Steinberg -- Finding the Inner Story in Memoirs and Personal Essays]

Political Memoirs, Fact or Fiction?
Minnesota Public Radio, Thomas Larson and David Greenberg are the guests [audio file] [Thomas Larson--This Writing Life Now Is What I’ve Lived For] [Thomas Larson, author of The Memoir and the Memorist (2007) chapter 1 of The Memoir and the Memorist]

New Directions in Teaching Memoir
Dawn Latta Kirby & Dan Kirby (Heinemann, 2007)

The Personal Memoir
Purdue Online Writing Lab

"[T]he memoir interprets, analyzes, and seeks the deeper meaning beneath the surface experience of particular events. The memoir continually asks the following questions: Why was this event of particular significance? What did it mean? Why is it important?"

"The memoir seeks to make sense of an individual life."

How to Write a Memoir
William Zinser, author of Inventing the Truth: The Art and Craft of Memoir (1998)

"Writers are the custodians of memory, and that’s what you must become if you want to leave some kind of record of your life and of the family you were born into."

"The crucial transaction in memoir and personal history is the transaction between you and your remembered experiences and emotions."


Getting Started Writing a Memoir
Victory Crayne

Creative Nonfiction

Creative Nonfiction

Captioning and Capturing the Past
Robert Root, Dept. of English, Central Michigan University

The Art of Reflection in Creative Nonfiction
Robert Root

The Lyrical Tense in Creative Nonfiction
Robert Root

Entering Place in Time and Text
Robert Root

Reflective Writing

Reflective Writing

Effective Writing Text: Reflective Writing
Alice L. Trupe

Reflective Writing: A Way to Lifelong Teacher Learning
Jill Burton, Phil Quirke, Carla L. Reichmann, Joy Kreeft Peyton (eds.)


Why the Essay Still Matters
The Telegraph

The Return of/to the Essay
G. Douglas Atkins, ADE Bulletin (1990)

Narcissistic Navel Gazing? I Think Not
The Australian

Best Australian Essays 2007
edited by Drusilla Modjeska, commentary on the collection by Brenton Holmes

Life Stories & Telling Our Lives

"We are reflective creatures, capable of thoughts about thoughts, feelings about feelings, and emotions about emotions. Of course, we can be unreflectively engaged in daily interaction with the world, and most of us often are. But our capacity for reflection gives rise to something of a need: a need to understand our lives though reflection on what has happened." [Anthony Hatzimoysis, Philosophy and the Emotions 201 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002)]

The Power of Stories

The Power of the Stories We Tell

Personal Narratives and Life Stories

Telling Stories: Aging, Reminiscence, and Life Review

Why Study People's Stories?

Arthur W. Frank: Teaching & Work