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Ideas For Memoir Essay

The idea of writing a memoir essay may at first be rather curious to you.

You may feel that you have not lived long enough to write anything of any particular significance. What you should think of is the purpose of such a composition assignment. The memoir is an invitation for you to reflect upon your life.

Those things that had a major influence on you growing up with your development as a human being. There is also no reason to imagine that a memoir has to be a linear narrative of your entire life. You can concentrate on things that truly matter in your life, such as:

  • The role sports in your adolescent years;
  • How your grandparents shaped your view of society;
  • The travelling you did, which changed your perspectives;
  • The characteristics of your parents you see reflected in yourself;
  • The twists and turns of your career;
  • The way your personality has been shaped from cultural heritage;
  • How a pet you owned taught you the meaning of love;
  • Your college years and what they have meant to you;
  • Your character and how a disability has developed it;
  • The influence books have had on you;
  • The meaning of friendship in your life;
  • The many ways the lives of famous people influenced you;
  • Why family mean so much to you;
  • The greatest challenge you ever have had to face;
  • What a great loss did to you;
  • The impact of moving from childhood to adulthood;
  • What role romantic love has played in your life.

Hand in glove with these topics are the question you use to stimulate your thoughts.

These are probing inquiries into your past experiences. They may generate confessions, but also impressions of what influences were part of your life. Your thoughts should be put down on paper in a rough draft format before you attempt the main discussion of the paper.

You are then able to go back over the information and give formal definition. You may be surprised at how the words begin to flow into your memoir essay. The task is made even easier if the topic is something you are deeply interested in. It pushes away some of the writing blocks that can occur in writing down the sentences and paragraphs. The memoir is an attempt to perform historical analysis upon yourself.

Do not be surprised if you discover you are developing a better understanding of who you are as you put thoughts into words. Custom writing can write your essay! Just ask our support, can you help me write my essay for me and send your task to our nerds.

Here are a collection of ideas for prompts to get you writing (or drawing or doodling or list-making). We will do some of these in class, but feel free to look over and try some of them on your own. Once you pick a prompt, give yourself ten minutes or so and try to do some freewriting. For another prompt maybe try to make a list of details. If you haven’t done clustering before, try that out. If there are other topics that you’re itching to write about, go right ahead.

  • Click here for a short essay by Sherry Simpson in Brevity that gives a little exercise that invites you to think/write about what you are an expert at; remember to consider things you mastered as a child. (The Craft essays in Brevity might also give you some inspiration, as might a general browse through their current or past issues.)
  • Write about something that you collect: a general class of things which you have found, made, or purchased specimens of (CDs or DVDs, ticket stubs, notes from friends, rocks, baseball cards, teacups, shoes, shades of lipstick, books, photographs, autographs, friends on facebook, whatever). You might write about a few of yr favorites, how and why you started collecting these things, how you judge whether or not to add something to yr collection, how you store yr collection, what all of this reveals about who you are.
  • evocative object (in the practical version: useful tool): Think about the objects you have values and tools you have used in your life. (My show-and-tell examples may have included my slide rule, my block plane, and my great-grandmother’s pastry wheel.) Consider the activities you do that require or produce objects: gardening, cooking, sewing, and other household activities, carpentry and auto repair, hobbies and sports of various sorts. Make a list or do some free-writing. Pick an object that tugs at you, catches your interest. It may not be the most important object in your life, but somehow it opens a window on some event or person or theme that seems worth thinking and writing about. Collect some details about the object. Pull it out of the drawer or garage (or wherever you keep it) and look it over. Describe it. Where did it come from? How did you learn to use it? What person do you associate with it? What events? Can you remember something that happened in which it played a featured role? How has your use or appreciation of it changed and evolved over time?
  • transitional scene: List times in your life of transition, change, times of endings and beginnings. This may be in term of where you live, work, or go to school, or changes in family relationships or social connections, some deliberate change of image/identity, some recognition of psychological issue or disability or abuse problem. Rewind the reality film of your life to find one scene that best captures this time of transition. Try to restrict yourself to one relatively short period of time (a few hours maybe or even shorter). Try to imagine yourself back to that scene, and write about what you see, hear, what the place looks like, what other people (if any) are there and what they do/say.
  • significant person: Write about someone who has influenced your life in some important way. (I suggest that you stay away from writing about romantic relationships unless you have some fresh perspective or interesting twist beyond the usual.) Show this person in action. Let us see and hear him/her. Focus more on making the person come to life on the page, rather than going on and on in the abstract about how you feel about him/her. You might want to respnd to these more specific prompts:
  1. describe this person’s physical appearance (including clothing, way of moving);
  2. describe this person’s most significant personal space (what details reveal things about this person’s character?);
  3. what lessons have you learned from this person (not necessarily positive), or how has he/she shaped who you are or were?;
  4. list five character traits of this person and an example of evidence (something he/she said or did) for each;
  5. listen to the sound of this person’s voice in your head and write down what he/she is saying;
  6. in the reality show of this person’s life, what clip of film would best capture who this person is

Here are some shorter ones adapted from Natalie Goldberg’s recent book Old Friend from Far Away: The Practice of Writing Memoir:

  • Pick a color (or a smell or taste or texture or sound), and list memories connected to that sensory image.
  • Write about a time when you washed the dishes or performed another household chore.
  • Write about the end of a relationship (not necessarily a romantic breakup).
  • Write about doughnuts or ice cream or pancakes or peanuts.
  • What would be the theme song of your life? Why?
  • List the things you can’t live without. The things you can’t forgive. The things you can’t forget.
  • Write about two places (or people or things) that pull you in different directions.
  • What did you learn from your father (or mother or grandparent–pick a relative)? Remember that not all lessons are positive, and some are learned by example not instruction.

The site This I Believe contains many thousands of essays written by people to explain how they came to believe certain things (some important and some, at least at first glance, not so important). The browse by theme section gives a good way to find some ideas you might be interested in. Spend a little time reading some essays and jot down any ideas you get for your own essays. Pick one and write for ten minutes.

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