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The memoir and personal essay are two of the best-selling and most universally acclaimed genres in the world of modern creative writing. At Wesleyan, distinguished scholar-teachers work closely with students, taking advantage of fluidity among disciplines to explore the world with a variety of tools.The university seeks to build a diverse, energetic community of students, faculty, and staff who think critically and creatively and who value independence of mind and generosity of spirit.If you haven’t spent a summer doing something important and striking, like knitting sweaters for abandoned baby penguins, what is something that makes you who you are?
This class is the chance to create your personal essay or extend into a full memoir -- from planning and structure to bold narrative brushstrokes to the layering of significant detail.
I describe how I would prepare a string of jokes on a common subject (shoes, or parts of the body, or zoo animals), casually work the conversation around to that topic, and then launch a pun war.
I valued my ability to think on my feet and use language, and the pun wars were ways for me to establish that identity.
When I offered you tea, and you unlaced your boots at my hearth, we didn’t need any words stating that there was a comfortable lull in our conversation. It was a good example of showing rather than telling.”Outside, the wind howls. I sip my tea, feeling it warm my insides.“Thank you.” I say.
“For sharing your hermitage on such a stormy night.”“And…?