I took Memoir Workshop and Advanced Memoir with Edi Giunta my last two semesters at NJCU. I am so happy I took Memoir Writing with Edi Giunta. I wrote an almost 20 page memoir in Advanced Memoir. I started a ten page memoir I call Memories of Me in Memoir Workshop. I sort of wrote two memoirs without realizing that was what I was doing. I just wrote! Oh and I could have gotten As in both courses. Edi invited me to Memoirfest on December 19, 2015 at 5:30pm. I have to decide what I will share this year maybe a long Process Journal entry. Memoirfest is always nice. Thomas is my ride but he has to pick me up early because he’s planning the party. I’m bringing mozzarella sticks from Wegmans to the party.
I became a part of the NJCU community during my last two semesters there. I took Memoir Workshop in the Fall of 2014 and Advanced Memoir in the Spring of 2015 with Dr.. Edi Giunta and my whole life changed. I became a Memoir writer and an African American woman writer. Edi focused on my memoir Memories of Me both semesters I took Memoir with her. This Christmas I thank God for Edi Giunta for believing in my ability as a memoir writer and for saying she’d be my editor and all I had to do is write and use The Art of Slow Writing by Louise DeSalvo. Amazing teacher! Oh and I got an A in Advanced Memoir.
I have been doing so much better these past four or five years. I’d say my greatest strength is understanding my race and having Insight into my (mental) illness. Even though I have Schizophrenia I always check my race/ethnicity on college/grad school/job applications. I often say “Yes I am African American or Black” when asked. I am very proud of my accomplishments and my race. I don’t apologize for being Black. I always remember this older Italian man named Lou who would call me Black Beauty. I loved being called Black Beauty! It describes me so nicely. Thank God my schizophrenia did not take my racial consciousness and pride in my ethnicity away from me.
I wrote two memoirs in my last two semesters of college that are a part of what I like to call my Schizophrenia autobiography. My teacher was Edi Giunta. I took her Memoir Workshop and Advanced Memoir in the Fall of 2014 and the Spring of 2015. Once when I went to discuss some trouble I was having with the memoir I was working in her office Edi told me about a former student of hers that had published a memoir piece in a Memoir anthology called “Cracked” about her past crack addiction. I remember thinking now that is cool. Here I was writing about my experience with mental illness and my three half sisters who did not want me in their lives and the onset of my mental illness and my parents and family and this woman had written something just as personal as I did: her experience with crack addiction.
I started writing memoirs in Edi Giunta’s Memoir Workshop class at NJCU. I took Memoir for 2 semesters. First I took Memoir Workshop and then I took Advanced Memoir with Edi Giunta. She chose to promote my memoir out of all the students in her class both semesters. I was one of few African American students in the class and Edi Giunta “endorsed” my memoir. I wrote more in her class than I’ve ever written in my life. I wrote a ten to fifteen page memoir in Memoir Workshop and an almost twenty page memoir in Advanced Memoir. I became a memoir writer and when I think of African American woman writers I have Memories of Me.
I am starting to fill my second process journal. I used two marble composition notebooks as my process journals for my memoir (my schizophrenia autobiography) Memories of Me. Once the second process journal is filled I plan to write out my whole memoir, then type my memoir. I began with my 3,000 word memoir piece I wrote in Memoir Workshop and my 4,000 word second memoir piece I wrote for Advanced Memoir. These memoirs are the bones of my book length memoir Memories of Me. I still have not figured out what the structure of my memoir will be. Will I have five chapters like Lucy by Jamacia Kincaid? Or will I have fourteen autobiographical essays like Boys of my Youth by Jo Ann Beard? I like the structure of Lucy but I don’t know!
I applied to Cave Canem again for one of their winter/spring poetry workshops coming up in February to April. I only worry about traveling in the snow and ice conditions. I know I will take the train and be okay though one week at a time.