Helen and Teacher

Helen and Teacher
The Story of my Life

Friday, January 28, 2011


Greetings; if you follow me on Twitter as Dr. E's Doll Museum, you will see great tweets leading to articles about writing, getting writing advice, and publishing.  Also, check out Amazon and Alibris for various materials on Memoir and for examples of books.  Another place go go is Edward R. Hamilton Bookseller.  This is one of the most reliable mail order book houses, and also one of the most reasonable and fun to surf.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Some other Blogs I Maintain

http://memoirlifestory.blogspot.com/  - A Blog for my seminar on writing memoir.

http://pymbronte.blogspot.com/ - A Blog for my course on Charlotte Bronte and Barbara Pym, with graphics, pictures, bibliographies and other materials and ideas.

http://dollmuseum.blogspot.com/ - Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog with book excerpts and materials about dolls and related subjects.  Also, the beginnings of a web museum to preview the actual museum being planned.

http://dresgreening.blogspot.com/.  Tips for living green, crafts, recipes, and recycling.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Sample Memoir Writing

Great Excerpts and a few examples:

For style and transition; fiction written as memoir. Reichs, Kathy: Cross Bones. NY: Scribner, 2005.

From Chapter 39:
“Dear God! Where was Jake?
“I ran toward the Citröen.”
“Twenty fee out the heat stopped me like a wall.. I threw up an arm.”
“The car was an inferno. Flames licked its underbelly and leaped form its windows. No sign of Jake.”
“I felt ash and sweat on my face. Mist. Tears streaming down my cheeks.:
“A second depth charge blew metal and flames into the sky.”
“A sob rose in my throat.:
“Hands gripped my shoulders.:
“I was yanked roughly back.”

From Chapter 40:

“I’ll tell you right out the gate. Everyone survived.
“Change that. Everyone survived but the guy in the should He went from being bone to being bone ash.”
“Jake burned his hands and singed his brows. No big deal.”
“Purviance lost a lot of blood and fractured some ribs and a foot. Her spleen was removed in pieces, and she’d need hardware in the ankle. But she’d recover. And serve time.”

Samples Below: Narrative Essays about a Person who has Touched your Live:

Violet’s Doll Head: There are some people we meet in life who transcend labels like family, friendship, even soul mate. For me, that person was Violet Ellen Page. Violet was nearly 70 when I met her in 1974, and I was 14. I was at the Aledo, Illinois doll show, a show no longer held. Violet made dolls, and had her own collection of antiques. She liked setting up at the shows, especially with her porcelain dolls and the cloth dolls she adored making. She was super reasonable in her pricing, and very popular with everyone. My special trips when I was a teenager were to her house in Galesburg on Sanborn street. Every nook and cranny held wonderful doll secrets; I spent my allowance on antique dolls, doll parts, clothing, dishes, anything she was willing to sell. She used her earnings to buy ceramics equipment, even a little kiln. Violet even poured her own molds and created her own greenware. She could do everything. She became one of our closest friends, and my dad called her “Yia Yia,” or grandmother, in Greek. She always kept something aside for me of the things she made, always with the story “this mold didn’t pour right, I made too many arms, this dress is a little torn.” “ Would you like this to experiment on?” she would ask. We all knew she wanted to give me something, and I liked giving her small presents, too. Sometimes, when her eyes began to fail, I would embroider doll faces for her and send them to her.

Even when her health failed, we kept visiting her and sending her things. My mother and I would go to Galesburg wherever she had moved, from assisted living to nursing home, and my Dad would often drive us, too. I loved the doll heads and porcelain dolls she made; they all looked like her somehow, with her rosy complexion and flawless skin. Violet used to show me photos of herself when she was very young, and she was beautiful and blonde, with a sweet smile. We were destined to be friends, since her middle name was “Ellen.” She had four boys, so there was really no one to love her dolls. Just me, really. Her other grandchildren, nieces, and daughters in law weren’t that interested in her dolls or antiques.

Violet taught me everything she knew. I learned to put dolls together, to restring them, sew, paint them. She sold and gave me books, scrapbooks, magazines. My best dolls were once hers. I wouldn’t trade anything of hers for the world, and all of them are precious to me, especially the ones she made with her own hands.

She died at nearly 96 in August 2001. It was one of the saddest times in my life. It’s hard to believe even now she is dead. To the end, her mind was sharp and clear. She told poignant stories of life in the nursing home, especially of one old lady with Alzheimer’s who wanted to call her mother to come and get her out of the home. Violet used to say, “you know, one day I’m going to give her a quarter. It might make her feel better.” I used to say Violet was 96 going on 18. Three days after 9/11, about one month after her death, I was at the Stark County Scenic Drive. Visiting the fall scenic drives was a tradition in my family. This year was almost unbearably sad because of Violet’s death and because of 9/11. I was wandering in a park flea market at one of the stops. I walked to the furthest dealer, not really knowing why. He didn’t seem to have any dolls. I’d bought things from him before, but I wasn’t really looking. I saw a faded doll head in his case. He said it was $2.00, so I bought it. The doll head was of a Victorian lady, with molded curls and ornaments in her hair. She had a molded collar, and was very elegant. She was a very good price, but there was something vaguely familiar about her. On the way home, I rode in the backseat of the car. My parents were in front. I took out the head, unwrapped it, and turned in over. Incised on the back, in Violet’s writing, was her last name, “Page.” I had a smaller version of the doll finished at home. Violet had done that one in 1966. I don’t believe in ghosts or portents of any kind, but I still think this was a sign from Violet, a message that she was alright, and that she hadn’t forgotten me, either. I take it as a sign that we really are soul mates, and that no one really dies. Rest in peace. Violet, I will always love you, and your touch will be part of every doll I make.

Mamie Bolin’s Doll Collection: My grade school was Eugene Field School. This was an appropriate name for the school I would eventually attend, because Eugene Field was himself a doll collector. His collection still exists at his home, now a Museum, in St. Louis. Perhaps because of our namesake, my principal at the school, grades K-5, Mamie Bolin, collected dolls. Miss Bolin’s collection was displayed in a special showcase at the front lobby of the school. Even driving by at night, one could see the collection against the shadows in the empty building. Miss Bolin was a sorority sister of my mother’s, and her sister, Mrs. Erma Moser, was my kindergarten teacher. My special treat was to sit in front of the glass cases and look at the fantastic dolls, many from all over the world. There must have been about 500 dolls of all shapes and sizes, many from Holland, Mexico, Spain, the Orient, and other parts of Europe. There was an antique doll in a pink dress with a composition head I was especially fond of; the doll had molded blonde hair, and may have belonged to Miss Bolin’s mother, or grandmother. My piano teacher, Miss Gladys Meurling, also had dolls, but she didn’t give them to me! Instead, she added to Miss Bolin’s collection from time to time.

Dolls were a big part of Eugene Field as it turned out. Ms. Moser had several in the kindergarten room, along with a playhouse complete with tiny pots and pans. I used to play with the larger version of Mary Hartline during recess. One day, Mrs. Moser made me throw away a doll made of crepe paper with a silk painted face. It nearly killed me! But, she was very stern about housecleaning, and I had no choice. Now, I have about 50 of this type of doll in my collection.

My third grade teacher was an awful crank, but she did like dolls, and I often got to take them to show and tell. She took us all on a tour of Miss Bolin’s dolls one day, and promised her a doll from Iran. It was the late sixties, and during the Shah’s era, so Americans could still travel freely.

My mother used to be in charge of favors for her High School Spanish Club. One year, she made miniature donkeys out of construction paper, covered with glitter and adorned with real miniature serapes and minuscule Mexican baskets. The miniatures were partly a tribute to Miss Bolin and her own miniatures and dolls, and I still have mine today. It hangs on the Christmas tree in Miss Bolin’s honor. In high school, I acquired a leather doll that belonged to a friend of Miss Bolin and Miss Meurling. The friend was Miss Drusilla McCormick, former Superintendent of Rock Island Schools. The doll is a leather Indian doll with stamped features, bought from my friend, the late Mrs. Marguerite Rounds. By the time I was in college, I returned to Eugene Field to complete my secondary hours in education in Mrs. Wisely’s second grade class. Mrs. Wisely had a friend visit her, and then showed us two little dolls in crocheted outfits her friend had made. As a result of the conversation that followed, I brought some of my dolls to my second graders and talked about them. The doll were a hit, especially the Ancient Ushabti from Egypt. I also loved making dolls in sixth grade in Miss Stickler’s art classes and Mrs. Foss’s English class. I often made paper dolls to people the plays we created, and puppets from papier mache and Styrofoam that I still have. Miss Stickler used to inspire me, and I made room boxes and odd dolls from paper bags that she displayed on the piano.

One of my worst moments was in fifth grade, when during recess, two of the boys scattered one of my dioramas for Mr. Wakeland’s history course. I had made a thatched pilgrim house, with a wooden spinning wheel and tiny wax pilgrims, and a Victorian parlor, with tiny playing cards, china headed dolls, and miniature silver dishes. They scattered the dishes into the grate on the counter, and lost the cards. Two other boys must have felt sorry for me; they crawled on the floor to recover the tiny pieces for me.

Finally, when I was in girl scouts, my first badge was the collectors badge. I took about fifty of my dolls to display. They were quite a hit, since many of them had come from Europe the previous summer. Others were handmade, and very old. Some must have reminded the scout leaders of their mothers’ dolls. Even the little girls who didn’t like dolls were intrigued by my collection. Another little girl whose grandmother had a famous collection, brought her swim medals. We chatted about our collections, but a few years later, in college, she didn’t remember any part of the conversation at all!!

Mrs. McAllister’s Dolls: My first grade teacher had a lot of dolls in her room. There were four life-sized dolls, three of cloth, and one of vinyl, that represented Dick, Jane, and Sally, from our textbooks. Sally was represented in cloth and vinyl. As a special treat, children were allowed to take one of the dolls home for short periods of time to “visit.” I got to take all of them to visit, and Jane spent the entire summer with me. She wore my clothes and slept in my bed. Vinyl Sally came home with parents one evening from Open House. Apparently, I had been a very good girl. As a special treat, Mrs. McAllister made sock doll for me out of a pair of my father’s socks. She had glass button eyes and white yarn hair. It was in her class that I dressed as Raggedy Ann for Halloween. I still have the sock doll, but I often wonder what happened to Dick Jane, and Sally. She also had many small dolls and animals, particularly old rubber and celluloid circus animals. Her great nephews moved across the street from me when I was little; I’ve often thought of asking them if they knew of Dick’s, Jane’s, Sally’s and Sally’s whereabouts. My favorite recess activity was to make paper dolls and decorate them with pastel chalks. Many of my friends were the physically challenged little girls in special education. So, of course, the dolls had crutches and were in wheel chairs. One of the girls was in college, and her name was Rita. She was the student teacher for the special ed kids. Rita liked me, and used to wheel up behind me and rebraid my hair when it was messed up from the playground. I think those dolls we made bridged whatever gaps there were between me and the handicapped kids. When we were making the dolls and playing, we were just a group of little girls, playing with paper dolls as little girls had for at least 200 years. No one was “special,” and no one had any disabilities.

The Dixon Sisters: In second grade, I had three sisters for teachers. The youngest, Desel Dixon, was supposed to have been the teacher, but she had a heart attack. Her two older sisters took over. Mrs. Edna Garret, from Sherrard, was nearly seventy and retired. We loved her the best. Miss Ruth Dixon took over after Edna. She was stern, but had a glass snowman that magically filled with candy when we weren’t looking. Finally, Desel came. She, too, was a sorority sister of my mothers. She enjoyed showing me up, once telling me during math that I was having trouble counting change because I played with dolls too much. I was seven, and her reaction begs the questions, “just what did she want me to play with?” In the spring we made kites. My Uncle Tom had just brought back beautiful Japanese dolls from San Francisco. They represented characters in the Kabuki theater. Another doll was a geisha. I drew the geisha on my kite. Miss Dixon was outraged, and made me tear up the kite while I promised “never to do that again!” I think she thought the geisha was a prostitute. At seven, I loved all three Dixon sisters. I loved their stories about the “handyman” who took them to dinner at the Gay Nineties, and helped tuck Desel in bed at 8pm every night. When I graduated from Augustana College in 1982, Ms. Ruth died in her eighties. Her obituary clarified something for me; the “handyman,” was really their older half-brother.

Stanley and Mrs. Sandway: I hated Washington Junior High, though my Uncle George had gone there, and I got to be “Warrior of the Week” at least twice. The kids were snotty and cruel, and my Uncle George died right before I was in 8th grade, so being home was very sad. Mrs. Sandway had been George’s teacher, too. She liked me from the first, and gave me a small mother of pearl pin shaped like a lute that she had bought in Mexico. She loved stuffed animals, and kept several in her room. One was a purple stuffed alligator named Stanley. One of the high spots of eighth grade was visiting Mrs. Sandway’s room after school and creating outfits for Stanley. He had an opera cape and top hat, and silver rimmed, “Elton John” type glass studded with candy. We made bean bag frogs in Home Ec class that fall, and mine visited with Stanley for a while as his girlfriend. She wore a long Victorian dress and had a bow in her hair. Stanley is long gone, as is Mrs. Sandway, now, but the frog girlfriend still resides in one of the doll cabinets my father built in my parents’ home. These days, she has only her memories and hundreds of other dolls to keep her company. I’m happy to report we stuffed her with real beans, and they are still as dry and good as the day she was first stuffed, over thirty years ago. She is the quintessential “beanie baby.”
The Nun’s Puppets: Somewhere in my archives lies hidden the name of this lady. I kept articles about her as they appeared in our local paper. I have all my clippings, but when I retire, I plan to sort all my books and ephemera. That ought to keep me busy! She was from the Quad Cities, and had a large collection of puppets that she used in her travels from school to school to tell stories. At the now defunct Monmouth Doll show in the mid-seventies, I bought two of these puppets. They are marionettes, with brown celluloid faces. They were the clothing of the Caribbean. I consider them a piece of local history and a valuable addition to my collection. If anyone reads this and remembers the Sister’s name before I retire and begin my archival work, I’d love to hear from you.

I also have an 1830’s papier mache doll that belonged to a priest in Peoria. Gallows’s humor aside, she is a lovely and rare doll, about nine inches high. Her hair is molded in side curls, the hairstyle I coveted for myself, and she is called by some collectors a “Milliner’s Model,” under the theory that these dolls were once used to model miniature sample hats. There is a similar doll lying in its original box in the museum at Lincoln’s New Salem. Apparently, he bought the doll for a friend’s daughter. I like to think that my doll and Lincoln’s may have met at some time. Perhaps they originally came from the same toy shop?

Anne Rice’s Dolls: Anyone who reads Anne Rice knows that she loves dolls, and often incorporates them in her books, especially Interview with the Vampire and Taltos. The Witching Hour features “witch” dolls made of the hair and bone of their namesakes, and the film Interview has scenes incorporating all kinds of dolls in Claudia’s room. Not to be picky, but many of the dolls are not right for the time period; they are later representations of antique dolls. It was Rice who stated that if one loved the people of the worlds, one loved their dolls. That’s as close to my philosophy of why I love dolls as anyone else can get.

What I like about Rice’s collection is that it was so eclectic. There were antiques, and artist dolls, Santos, masks, miniatures, expensive and inexpensive dolls. Rice sold her collection two years ago, as well as the building that housed her museum, St. Elizabeth’s Orphanage. I was very sad, but was able to purchase one of her dolls, documented as hers. He is a doll house sized Confederate soldier, complete with buttons on his grey coat, and a very dapper hat. I actually had to call her “doll” curator, and send two checks, one to Anne Rice, and one to her office for postage. Over the years, I’ve tried to get Miss Rice to answer me regarding research projects. I have taught her, written about her, presented papers, published about her, led book discussions. She is a real recluse these days, and does not answer mail, but I did send her a card once with antique dolls on it. I hope she got the card, and that she kept it. I found an Effanbee doll with dark hair that resembled Rice. My mother dressed her in a copy of one of Rice’s black outfits, and the doll holds a miniature copy of The Witching Hour. I also have a doll house, complete copy of Interview, and a Lestat doll, shirt, and bag, that I made. I converted one of my doll trunks into Louis’s and Lestat’s townhouse. Of course, Claudia and her doll collection are in residence.

Voodoo Dolls: Actually, New Orleans is full of dolls. I brought quite a few back, including several Voodoo dolls. These I took to my World Masterpieces class, just to shake things up. You should have seen their faces when the dolls appeared and I told them what they were! I have at least two Marie LeVeau Voodoo queen dolls, and a Juju doll I bought in her store, Marie LeVeau’s House of Voodoo. My father, who was with us, did not want me to go into the store. “What if someone we know sees you in there?” Never mind that the chances of our seeing someone we knew in The Big Easy were next to nil! My mother was already in the store, however, admiring various paraphernalia, including wax candles in human shape, and skulls with dagger imbedded in them, with the words, “that’s cute!” I bought the little Juju doll, but regret not buying some others. We also saw antique wax dolls, and dolls in museums up and down the south on that trip. I brought home a lot of Mammy dolls and Mardi Gras masks as well.

Candy, My Favorite Doll: It was September 1965, in the old Younkers Department Store in Bettendorf, IA. That store, located in Duck Creek Plaza, was torn down about two years ago. Nothing about the plaza is the same. In the old days, we practically lived there. I was able to roam free in the outdoor mall, with the giant planters that contained real trees, and I could walk around the rim of the planters for entertainment. Woolworth’s was thriving, and a great place for me to find doll clothes and tiny plastic dolls. Toy Fair was the best toy store around, and one Christmas, I got all sorts of replicas of antique dolls and Sasha dolls from there. Kile’s gifts, still around, but better then, carried miniatures and Hummel dolls. Younkers’ had the greatest toy department of all. The dolls were lavish, in fancy dresses, and were from Vogue, Madame Alexander, Effanbee, Mattel, Nancy Ann, Lenci, and other makers. The gift department carried Royal Doulton figurines, and had great sales. When I was five, that fated September, my parents took me to Younkers to look at dolls as possible Christmas presents. I wasn’t supposed to buy any. But, there in front of me, was the most wonderful doll ever. It was a Baby Dear, by vogue. She wore a pale pink organza dress, with a white eyelet jacket, and eyelet bonnet. She had white booties. She didn’t have any hair, just like a real baby, and was about the size of a newborn. I loved her. From the start, I named her “Candy.” I don’t remember why I started crying, but I know I couldn’t stop. Much to my mother’s chagrin, and my father’s disgust, Candy came home with us that night. She’s been a member of the family ever since. She has survived countless washings, “surgery” to repair limp stuffing, a crayon heart I drew on her, and years of sleeping with me and two rambunctious puppies. My dog Smokey often slept on top of her. The only place she didn’t go with us was Europe when I was nine. My parents deemed her too frail and decrepit. A new Pussycat by Madame Alexander took the trip instead. I love Pussycat, but she has always known she just isn’t Candy. Candy has several outfits, now, and holds a place of honor sitting on my pink and white doll house, in my living room. She no longer cries “mamma,” but it scarcely matters. She is my favorite doll. I’ve collected her in different sizes and variations since, and I have the books written by her creator, Eloise Wilkin. One little, six inch version is called “Madeline,” and she was the favorite of my best friend in grade school, Brook. When I die, Candy will take that final journey with me. If I could only have one doll, she would be it. Her companion is a gray plush mouse, Mousie, with a jingle bell on his elastic tail. He has a tear drop in his eye, and wears a pink and white lace collar. He also came from the same Younkers, when I was seven. That year, he posed in a photo with me, a formal portrait taken on my birthday. We were entered in a Beautiful Baby photo contest, judged by Aretha Franklin, among others, but we didn’t win. I’m sorry to say I’ve always held a grudge against Aretha for that slight!

Selected Bibliography:

Anderson, Peggy. Nurse.

Bailey, Pearl. The Raw Pearl. NY: Pocket Books, 1973.

Baldwin, Monica. I Leap Over the Wall. NY: Signet, 1950.

Bergman, Ingrid. My Story. NY: Delacorte, 1972.

Browne, Sir Thomas. Religico Medici. NY: G.P. Putnam’s Sons. N.d.

Cleveland, Agnes Morley. No Life for a Lady. Lincoln: Univ. of Nebraska P, 1941.

Crawford, Christina. Mommie Dearest. NY: 1979.

Douglass, Frederick. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass.

Eareckson , Joni. Joni. Minneapolis: World Wide Pub., 1976.

Edison, Thomas A. The Diary and Sundry Observations of Thomas A. Edison.

Flowers, Gennifer. Passion and Betrayal. Del Mar, CA: Emery Dalton Books, 1995.

Fontaine, Claire. Come Back. NY: Harper Perennial, 2007.

Franklin, Benjamin. The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin.

Frey, James. A Million Little Pieces.

Gaines, Ernest. The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman.

Gaskell, Elizabeth. The Life of Charlotte Brönte.

Hillary, Edmund. High Adventure. London: The Companion Book Club. 1955.

Joyce, James. Dubliners.

---. Portrait of the Artists as a Young Man.

---. Ulysses.

Kahlo, Frida. The Diary of Frida Kahlo. Intro. Carlos Fuentes. NY: Abrams, 1995.

Kaufman, Belle. Up the Down Staircase.

Kazantzakis, Helen. Nikos Kazantzakis:: A Biography. NY: Simon Schuster, 1968.

Keller, Helen. The Story of my Life. 1902. NY: Dell, 1961.

Kirwan, Anna. The Royal Diaries. Victoria. NY: Scholastic, 1829.

Lane, Rose Wilder and Roger Lea Macbride. Rose Wilder Lane. NY: Stein and Day, 1977.

Maison de Balzac. Guide général.

Malcolm X. The Autobiography of Malcolm X.

Mead, Margaret. Blackberry Winter.

Norris, Kathleen. The Virgin of Bennington. NY: Riverhead, 2001.

Plath, Sylvia. The Journals of Sylvia Plath.

---. Letters Home.

Pym, Barbara. A Very Private Eye.

Richardson, Samuel. Pamela.

Rice, Anne. Interview with the Vampire.

Smith, Helena Huntington. A Bride Goes West. Lincoln, NE: Univ. of Nebraska P, 1942.

Specht, Robert. Tisha. NY: Bantam, 1976.

Stanley, Mary Kay. She Taught me to Eat Artichokes.

Tharp, Louise Hall. The Peabody Sisters of Salem. Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1950.

Tudor, Tasha. A Time to Keep.

---. Drawn from New England.

---. Tasha Tudor’s Sketchbook.

Walters, Barbara. Today’s Woman. with Jason Bouderhoff NY: Nordon, 1975.

---. Audition..2009.

Wilder, Laura Ingalls. The Little House Books.

---. Little House in the Ozarks.

---. West from Home.

Woolf, Virginia. The Letters of Virginia Woolf. NY: Harcourt, 1977.

Hughes, Langston. “Theme for English B.”

Poe, Edgar Allan. “Annabel Lee.”

The Confessional Poets including Robert Lowell, Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton.

Shakespeare’s Sonnets, e.g., The Dark Lady and The Young Man of the sonnets.

Works of Robert Browning.

“The Citroen would not recover. Its remains were barely worth hauling for scrap.”

Course Outline for Writing Memoir

Writing Your Memoirs: We all have an Interesting life story to tell!

Overview: In this course we will explore the genre of memoir. We will review the works of writers who have written about ordinary events in their lives which have inspired them in order to see that our own lives contain many meaningful experiences that will serve as inspiration for our own writing. Students will sample three varied techniques that will show them how to take their life experiences to create a memoir to record their events. Students will receive a packet of materials, samples, and other resources to help them continue with their project once they complete this class. Students will discuss classifying and organizing events and collecting artifacts and photos that will help them in their project. They will also be encouraged to discuss and reflect on the significance of remembered events and to keep a notebook of their thoughts and feelings. The instructor will share examples of memoir that she has taught and created in order in inspire the class. By the end of the session, students will have drafted and introduction and set of notes or outline to help them begin their Memoirs.

Topics covered include:

1. Defining a Memoir, compare and contrast with biography and autobiography
2. What is an epiphany? What is a significant event to you and why?
3. Using treasured objects as catalysts
4. Writing around a photo, or using illustration
5. Using favorite recipes or patterns to tell stories
6. Organizing events around:
a. Stages of life: infancy/childhood; adolescence/adulthood/family life/professional life
b. Major life events
c. Holidays and family/friend gatherings
d. Emblematic moments
e. Audience

Objectives/Outcomes: The student ill demonstrate:
1. Oral and written language skills to create, clarify, and extend their personal understanding of what they experience through their senses through introspection and interaction with others.
2. Practice and apply basic investigative techniques to generating material for memoir , including the use of questions Who? What? When? Where? How? Why?
3. ability and confidence to use oral and written language to the needs of their audience
4. Interest in writing and reading as a means to understanding themselves
5. creation of Memoir to record and preserve emblematic moments in their lives
6. Knowledge to help them complete their project and continue their interest through possibly joining a writers group that specializes in Memoir writing.

Materials and techniques instructor will share with students include:
Books, excerpts poetry, essays include:

Marcel Roust, Remembrance of things Past
Truman Capote, A Christmas Memory
Barbara Pym, A Very Private Eye
Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek
Joan Didion, On Keeping a Notebook
Gunda Davis, Pumpkin Soup and Shrapnel
Personal Memoir and Journals belonging to the author
Works by Laura Ingalls Wilder
The Journals of Sylvia Plath
The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
Works by Maya Angelou
Dolly Parton, Coat of Many Colors
Works by Tasha Tudor
Barbara Cooney, Hattie and the Wild Waves
Jean Little Little by Little
Robert Kimmel Smith The War with Grandpa
Works by Ray Bradbury
Works by Charlotte Bronte
Crescent Dragonwagon, Home Place
N. Scott Momaday, The Way to Rainy Mountain
The Diary of Anne Frank
Patricia MacLachlan, Sarah, Plain and Tall

Students will also receive a bibliography of these and other works helpful to their interest in Memoir. Above works will be prepared and excerpted, where necessary, by the Instructor.

Writing Memoir

This is a blog I am starting for a class I will teach for a local library. I have also taught a seminar for our local writing center. The class was met favorably, and I thought others might benefit from some of the ideas and materials. The most recent postings will, of course, be on top, so scroll all the way to the end. I will post a bibliography and course outline, and will keep up the blog. It will be open to those who take the course, but also to anyone else interested.