work in progress: the teaching of memoir

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Maybe it doesn’t sound all that Ivy League or resume building to ask your students to honor the smear of childhood or to heed the rhythms of remembered talk.   The negotiation of once with the language of right now is unquantifiable.  It’s also a tad shy of rigorous to conduct a classroom full of eased-back kids—dreamers and window watchers, scribblers and flippers of pens, dismantlers of paper clips.  There’s no science to teaching creative nonfiction, and there are no rules, and if one or two of the students emerge from the reminiscing haze with a sentence that feels new, don’t bet that they all enjoyed the ride.


4 comments:

Alice Elliott Dark said...

this--are you writing a long essay about it?

Lilian Nattel said...

I just finished reading Ru by Kim Thuy. It's fiction that reads like memoir--and has some basis in autobiography. It makes me think about memoir as a form for me someday.

Serena said...

I like the idea behind this moment...the moment of teaching something that many may find an insignificant thing to remember...thanks for sharing this work in progress

off kilter said...

Love "the smear of childhood." It cannot be Penn where these paper clip dismantlers are not hearing your words, it must be some group of underprivileged teens. Hah. It's still worth doing what you do. But you know that.

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