Category Archives: Writing

Final Memoir Piece

Today was our last day of the memoir writing seminar. Despite not really spending enough of our time in the class itself, I’m sad to leave it. I’ve been having such a good time getting to know everyone, and I am definitely enjoying the brief hiatus from reality.

Too bad I have to return from the magical land of writing tomorrow. So tragic.

The last thing we did for the seminar was read our personal memoir piece (that we’d been working on during the course of the seminar) to the rest of the group.

My piece — included below — is one of my earliest memories, when I was about two years old.

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Filed under Memories, Writing

Short Days are Frustrating

My Writing Memoirs class is a bit of a joke. Not the class itself (I love it!) but the fact that it only lasts for two and a half hours every day.

At first I thought, well maybe that’s just for the first couple days while the visiting professor catches up on her rest and relaxation. Maybe it’s a stressful time for her. Maybe she has big things to do in the evening, and so meeting with us for two and a half hours (and then individual sessions with a few each day for three hours) is just about all she can handle.

But then she let us out early today and didn’t tell us that class would resume in the evening. So once again, we’re done for the day way before any of us really want to be done.

But regardless, I’m loving the morning writing sessions. It just leaves me wanting more, because it’s such a blast. The professor will talk for a bit, but mostly she’ll give us a prompt, we’ll write for 10-15 minutes, split up into small groups and share our stories, and then go back to writing another prompt.

And the exercises are really fun. We’ve written about vivid memories and the parts of them that we don’t remember. We’ve compared people we know really well to an animal that matches their characteristics and mannerisms. We’ve created new characters with interesting ambitions. We’ve described a person close to us as if we were describing them to a person who was blind (so no physical characteristics).

All of the exercises have caused me to look at memories and familiar situations and people in an entirely new way. Because when I remember things, I naturally remember them from my specific point of view. But when I start look at a memory through the lens of what I don’t remember, I instantly notice that I don’t remember things about what other people are doing, thinking, and feeling at that time. And by trying to remember the actions and reactions of other people in my memories, it automatically adds dimension to the other characters in my story. It forces me to try to understand people (that I usually take for granted) in an entirely new way. It’s really fascinating. Try it sometime, even if you don’t write it down.

Also, thanks to this class, I am constantly remembering and processing childhood memories long after the class lets out for lunch (and for the day). I need to start writing down all these memories as they come to me so I don’t lose them again.

I just wish the class lasted all day. Or at least until five or six. I completely cleared my schedule for this weekend, and it’s beginning to turn into just one big vacation — that I can’t enjoy fully because I know, in the back of my mind, that I should be using this time to be productive.

If this week was all being spent writing, that would be completely productive enough for me. But it’s not. So I feel like I’m wasting time. That being said, I did take a deliciously long nap outside on a bench in the 75 degree weather today. That was a wonderful waste of time that I wouldn’t mind repeating every single day of my life.

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Filed under Senior Year, Writing

Slam Poetry in OKC

Last night after the first day of memoir writing was over, all the students in the seminar went out for dinner at Coaches, a pub-ish on Main Street. We have each $100 in Sooner Sense (1 pt = $1) to spend for the duration of the seminar (more than we really need, but no complaints), and Coaches is one of the businesses in town that honors those points. Excellent. $5.99 burgers all around, courtesy of OU.

After dinner, a few went to Orange Leaf to spend a few more of those points/dollars on soft serve ice cream. I rode back to the hotel with a few others. About halfway back, Jordan (the driver) mentioned that he was heading into OKC for a poetry slam after he dropped us off.

I almost got whiplash, my head swiveled so quickly.

Before stopping to think of the proper way of handling the situation, I asked if I could come. Practically invited myself.

I guess I’m that girl. But I didn’t care.

I have always wanted to attend a poetry slam. Since my manager this summer performed one of her pieces for our team, I’ve been fascinated with the art, intrigued by its honesty and force of self-expression. I’ve wanted to try it myself, but I don’t have the creative guts to do it. My inner critic tells me that I’d be terrible at it, so I believe it and still haven’t ever tried (though the idea comes back occasionally — to remind me that I’m a pansy, I guess).

In general I don’t care for most high brow poetry, so I don’t really seek out poetry to read on a regular basis. And when I write it, it turns in short iambic pentameter lines that all rhyme at the end. I sound like a fourth grader.

But slam poetry is incredible. I want to learn to write that. It’s honest, raw, and conveys intense emotion.

The poetry slam in OKC (really more of a reading, less of a contest) had the best atmosphere. People shouted out encouragements (“Say it, girl!”, lots of snapping, etc) after phrases that had extra zest and spring, and the general attitude was incredibly supportive. It was just a bunch of people from very diverse backgrounds appreciating and enjoying each other’s creative expressions. It was unbelievable.

It makes me want to go back every Wednesday night to be a part of that.

I’d like to try reciting/performing at least once. Maybe I’ll record myself and share it here (if I do).

To give you an idea of slam poetry (and because I think this is one of the AWESOMEST pieces of poetry I’ve ever heard), watch this. It gives me chills.

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Filed under Musings, Senior Year, Writing