Course Duration: 5 weeks

Course Overview:
"Discovering Your Memoir" is a dynamic 5-week writing course designed to help participants explore the rich tapestry of their lives and discover the unique stories waiting to be told. Through a series of engaging exercises and discussions, students will uncover hidden memories, embrace vulnerability, and develop a deeper connection with their personal narratives.

Week 1: The Art of Self-Reflection
- Understanding the power of self-reflection in memoir writing
- Exploring different methods of introspection and journaling
- Reflective writing exercises to delve into personal experiences
- Identifying recurring themes and patterns in your life

Reading: "Girl" by Alexander Chee

Chee takes us on a journey of self-discovery through drag that places him firmly in a space of knowing who he is because he is no longer fielding outsider questions. However, those questions help us define the writer through his experience. What are some of the ways "girl" becomes definitive for him? We will discuss this in class.

Week 2: Memory and Imagination
- Navigating the intersection of memory and imagination in memoir
- Techniques for unlocking buried memories and emotions
- Writing exercises to expand and enhance memories through imagination
- Discussing ethical considerations in blending fact and fiction

Reading: "Feet" in Smoke by Jeremiah Sullivan

This is a telling of an event that was covered in TV. As you read, reflect on how truth is personal. Look for the ways Sullivan casts the story inward, making it his own for in-class discussion.

Week 3: Visual Storytelling
- Incorporating visual elements into your memoir
- Exploring the use of photographs, artwork, and other visuals
- Writing prompts to evoke memories associated with visuals
- Guest speaker: A visual artist or photographer discussing collaboration with writers

Reading: "On Seeing the 100% Perfect Girl One Beautiful April Morning" by Haruki Murakami

Murakami defies the expectation he sets with his title by describing the titular girl through a play on counterfactuals. Still, he is able to coach the reader into imagining this girl. How does he achieve this? We'll discuss in the next class.

Week 4: Experimenting with Style and Form
- Breaking free from traditional narrative structures
- Exploring experimental forms, such as collage, vignettes, and lists
- Writing exercises to experiment with different styles
- Group discussion on the effectiveness of varied forms

Reading: "Woven" by Lidia Yuknavitch TW for domestic violence and infant death.

This is a braided essay composed of passages that grow shorter and more potent as the essay progresses. Throughout, Yuknavitch leans on the symbolism of weaving. How do you think this essay works as a whole? Come to the next class prepared to discuss.

Week 5: Themes and Reflection on Personal Growth
- Identifying overarching themes in your life story
- Reflecting on personal growth and transformation
- Writing exercises to convey growth and change in your memoir
- Crafting a reflective conclusion to your memoir excerpt

Assessment and Deliverables:
- Weekly in-class writing assignments focusing on self-reflection and experimentation
- Active participation in group discussions and peer critiques
- Reflection on the discovery process and the evolution of your memoir project

Recommended Materials:
- Journal or writing notebook for daily reflections and exercises
- Visual materials (photos, art supplies) for Week 3
- Openness to experimentation and trying new writing styles

"Discovering Your Memoir" aims to guide participants through a creative and introspective journey, encouraging them to push boundaries and uncover the unique narrative threads that make their memoirs truly distinctive. Students will leave the course with a deeper understanding of their own stories and a set of creative tools to continue their memoir writing exploration.