I wrote a 918-word practice memoir about my relationship with My Three Half Sisters and my mother. I wrote about my adolescent years. I plan to fill in gaps in my narrative by writing about my childhood. There is an old photograph I am going to look for. In the photograph I am a baby and my sisters are holding me. I think we were at a mosque when the photograph was taken. Edi my memoir teacher said I need to write this scene with me, my mother and my half sisters at the psychiatrist’s office. I also want to write about when I visited my sister Alison often when we still lived in Brooklyn between the ages of twelve and thirteen. Me, my oldest half sister Alison and my friend Lisa went to a concert known as the Budweiser Superfest in the summer of 1994. My parents and I moved to Ewing, New Jersey later in August 1994.
I am going to be reading a short book of about 82 pages that could be considered a novella by Kathryn Harrison called “the mother knot”. My goal for this semester is to write a rich 4,000-5,000 word final memoir about my relationship with my mother Shellon. Our relationship has changed a lot since my childhood, my adolescence even since my 20s. Since I turned 30 I began to feel good about myself as a black woman but my mother always told me I was “her beautiful daughter” or her “Esha”. My mom tells me of how proud she is of the woman I’ve become. My life is not perfect but I love my life. I can remember how when I was a little girl my mother took me to Kindergarten on the first day of school. Here I am about to graduate from college in August ’15. At family gatherings like funerals and weddings and barbeques my relatives that I had not seen in years always were shocked to see how grown a woman I am compared to the child they remember.
I am taking an Advanced Memoir workshop class in this, my last semester of college. I am reading four books that my teacher Edi Giunta is using to teach us how to write time in memoir and how to write scenes and about place and how to write characters and even dialogue. I am looking forward to writing my memoir proposal in the next three weeks and then I have to write a 2,000 word draft the following week. My memoir is going to be about my relationship with my mother and how it’s changed since my childhood or adolescence.
I was reading DeSalvo’s The Art of Slow Writing and I came across a reference to Kathryn Harrison’s The Mother Knot on page 8. I thought oh that’s an idea I can write my 4,000-5,000 memoir about my relationship with my mother Shellon Karim-Lewis. That is what I wish to accomplish by the end of this semester, my last semester in college. I like the idea of writing a memoir about my relationship with my mother. We have had our not so good times of course but I really love and trust my mother with my life, with my dreams and with my secrets. Once I start writing once I finish it I’ll let friends read it. I hope to get honest but good comments.
Since I was a little girl I wrote poetry from the age of nine or ten years old. I found poetry again in high school and then in college when I declared my Writing major at New Jersey City University. I took a class known as Poetry Workshop with Handal and I really enjoyed the course. There I was writing poems with prompts given in class. I have a Chapbook of ten typewritten poems, each a page long, I created in that class. I am so happy I’m actually successful at writing in another genre. I am writing memoir. My memoir teacher Dr. Giunta said great things about the memoir I wrote in Memoir Workshop last semester. She told me that my essay on the creative process was great! She encouraged me to use my essay as a guide for the 1,500 word essay on the creative process I’ll write at the end of this semester. I am writing a new memoir this semester in Advanced Memoir that has to be anywhere from 4,000-5,000 words. I am writing my memoir about my life when I was 9 or 10-years old and the title of my memoir is “Girl”.
Instead of having our regular scheduled Memoir Workshop class in the classroom on February 10, 2015 our class, Giunta’s student memoir writers get a chance to meet Margaux Fragoso, a memoirist. We meet in GSUB 317 on campus. I am sure I am going to ask her at least two questions. One about her writing process and the other maybe any tips she has for a novice like me.