For the memoir workshop I taught at the Philadelphia Writers’ Conference, attendees submitted pieces a few weeks in advance for critique. And as always, the stories were heartfelt, moving and inspiring.
A little black girl and her family traveled through the 1950s South, searching for a bathroom they could use without being arrested.
A man visited his father’s people in Ireland, people who played the violin after working a long day on the farm.
A woman fought fiercely to preserve land threatened by development.
A young doctor’s growing numbness in her feet led to a diagnosis of MS.
A woman became her father’s caretaker and learned an important lesson about herself.
So many different ways to tell a real life story: the historical context, the ecology of the land, cultural memories, the messages of illness and more.
Memoirist Patricia Hampl said “memoir is travel writing, …notes taken along the way…”
Last weekend, I was honored to be a guide for a small part of that journey. I am still basking in the afterglow.