Sunday, October 21, 2007

Writing about Place -- Listing Exercise

For this exercise, you will not write in complete sentences. You will make lists. Lists help us think in different ways, and can inspire us to remember more about place as we write. You will dig deep into one specific memory, and trick your memory to reveal more than you thought it could.

Step 1: List emotions that are strong to you.

Step 2: Circle one of those emotions to focus on for this exercise.

Step 3: List moments (of an hour or less) when you experienced that strong emotion.

Step 4: Circle one of those moments.

Step 5: Who was with you? Make a list of the people who where there.

Step 6: What did you hear? Make a list of the sounds you heard.

Step 7: What was in the space? Make a list of the objects that were there.

Step 8. What did you touch? What did you feel with your hands, with your body, with your skin? Make a list.

Step 9: What did you taste? Make a list of what you tasted, or what could have been possible for you to taste.

Step 10: What did you smell? Make a list of all the smells that would have been possible.

Step 11: What did people say? Make a list of topics of conversation, or even lines you remember.

Step 12: Finally, now you can write a plot outline of what happened.

After you have finished the 12 steps, now you can start writing your story, but make sure you look back at your notes so that you get all 5 senses in there, and you give us a sense of a specific place and a specific moment in time. Go for concrete so that when you get to the abstract, the reader feels grounded enough to fly with you.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Final Assignments

Memoir Writing
Fall 2007


Turn in a book review of the memoir you chose to read. You will do a 3-5 minute presentation about your book to the class. Post your review to the blog.


By now, you'll have written 3 pieces. You'll have received feedback and revised. Now it's time to polish for publication.

Turn in your portfolios for final grading Nov 10th (at the beginning of the Writing Marathon) if you are turning in hard copies. Post all your final versions to your blog by Nov 11th at 5 pm. Please put "final version" in the title line of your blog posts so we know which ones you want us to grade. You do not need to turn in hard copies. You may simply post to your own blog. Please put a note on the one you would like to appear in our class anthology.


Pick one of your three pieces to submit for publication. You can chose where you submit, but please post to your blog an explanation of what you decided to submit, where you submitted it, and why you chose that publication. This posting should be completed by Nov 14th (last class).


After you’ve completed your portfolio, look back at all you have written for this class, informally and formally. Please post to your blog a response to the question: What have you learned?


Dinner, discussion, sharing anthologies.

Memoir Assignment 3


For this memoir piece, you will create a story in which place (or setting) plays a major role. To help you write this piece:

• Read the chapter in Fact and Artifact on “Writing about Place.”
• Read the following essays in the book In Brief as examples of stories that use place in significant ways: “Dream Houses,” “Sink or Swim,” “Low Tide at Four,” and/or “Infectious Reading.”
• Post a draft to your blog for comments by October 31st.
• Comment on your classmates’ blogs. We will only have one time to meet with your writing group before this paper is due. Use the blogs to help each other. Make substantial comments that will help others’ improve their writing. Commenting on others’ blogs is part of your participation grade.
• Bring 4-5 copies of your draft for your writing response group on November 7th.
• Final draft of this paper with the final versions of your two other memoir pieces will be due November 10th. if you’re turning in two hard copies or by Nov 11th to the blog. Please put “final versions” in the title of the versions you want us to grade.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Memoir Piece 2 Assignment


Memoir Piece 2
Memoir Institute

In this memoir piece, you will write about someone in your life, someone who has had an impact on you.

To prepare to write the piece:

• Read the chapter on “Writing about People” in FACT AND ARTIFACT
• For examples of what we are looking for, read from IN BRIEF: “Come Eat,” “A Missing Star,” “Good Workers,” “Twigs,” and/or “A Sense of Wonder.”
• Meet with your response group
• Post to your blog for comments

Due Wednesday, October 10th.

Publishing Short Memoir

Anthologies Currently Accepting Submissions

Chicken Soup for the Soul Series

* List of Upcoming Books
* Story Guidelines
* Submission page

Cup of Comfort Series

* Introduction (explanation of who we are and what we are doing)
* Call for Submissions

The Hero Story Series

* Hero series call for submissions


Submit 10,000 words or fewer by email or snail mail: only one submission per person. Deadline October 31, 2007.
$500 Prize and publication in our Fall Issue. Click here to read more.

WOW! - Women on Writing. FALL 2007 ESSAY WRITING CONTEST

WOW! hosts a (quarterly) writing contest every three months. The mission of this contest is to inspire creativity, communication, and well-rewarded recognition to contestants. The contest is open globally; age is of no matter; and entries must be in English. We are open to all styles of writing, although we do encourage you to take a close look at our guest judge for the season and the flavor of our sponsor, if you are serious about winning. We love creativity, originality, and light-hearted reads. That's not to say that our guest judge will feel the same... so go wild! Express yourself, and most of all, let's have some fun!


Maximum: 1200

Minimum: 800

The title is not to be counted in your word count. We use MS Word's word count to determine the submitted entry's word count.


Describe a time in your life when you overheard a conversation, or found a lucky item on the ground (coin, jewelry, other), or discovered something that wasn’t intended for your eyes (mail, letter, photos, or other). Write about this “chance” event and describe what it brought to you: good or bad luck, serendipity, a missed opportunity, or karma. This is a nonfiction essay, but be descriptive enough so your readers can see the event through your eyes.

Story slant: Geared toward women readers, light-hearted to funny, imaginative, creative—you get it--*original*.

THIS IS INTENDED ONLY TO SPARK YOUR CREATIVITY. STORIES MUST BE ABOUT LUCK (GOOD OR BAD), SERENDIPITY, A MISSED OPPORTUNITY, OR KARMA. Only stories that have the Prompt incorporated in them will be accepted. You may do this any creative way you would like, just make sure anyone would know you wrote your story specifically for this contest.


FALL: September - November 30th Midnight (Pacific Time) – NOW OPEN! For more information, click here.

Literary Magazines

* Fourth Genre
* Memoir Journal

How to Find Markets

* The Writer's Market


* Writer's Digest Contests

Monday, October 1, 2007

Blog Post for Wed 10/3/07

To Write about Annie Dillard:

"The best memoirs, I think, forge their own forms. The writer of any
work, and particularly any nonfiction work, must decide two crucial
points: what to put in and what to leave out" (41).

According to Annie Dillard in "To Fashion a Text", she decided what to
put in -her parents, Pittsburgh's history - and what would not find its
way in - her summer in Wyoming, previous gentlemen callers. She was able
to divorce her nostalgia with her childhood in order to create a piece
of literary nonfiction.

1. Thinking of memoirs you've read or are currently reading - do you
notice the authors deliberately piecing together a life or including
every memory for memory's sake? In other words, have they been willing
to "cannibalize their own lives for parts"?

2. [follow up] Are you willing to cannibalize your life for parts? If
so, did you attempt that in your first piece or in a draft of your
second piece? How hard is that?

In "Lifting the Veil", Gates offers some advice to memoir writers: "be
prepared for the revelation of things you don't even dream are going to
come up" (148).

1. Can you comment on this advice in relation to your own writing?
If so, when you have "lifted the veil", what revelations, insights,
truths, epiphanies.....have you discovered? Elaborate.

To Write about Stephen King:

To write about the Stephen King book, On Writing, I would like for you to explore what he says about seeing yourself as a writer and changing your action and spaces to reflect your perception of yourself. Write about these:

1. Do you call yourself a "writer?" Why or why not?
2. Do you have time set aside, like King suggests, to write every day? Or at least regularly? Why does he say you need to write every day? Do you agree with him or not?
3. King says we all need a space devoted to writing -- where we can shut the door. Why does he think we need this space? Do you have it? Where? And do you agree with what he says about it?

Click on "comments" and copy/paste your comment into the editing window. Hit "publish" and you are done!

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Saturday, Sept 8th Writing Prompt

Write a few lines about what you this is the most important point the author makes in the chapter you read for today.

Click on "comments" and then type away! Or you can type in WORD and copy and paste your response into the editing window. That way you can run spell check.

Memoir Writing Student Blogs

Here will be a list of all of our blogs. You'll be able to read and comment on each others' writing with just a few clicks!

Anne Knight

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Favorite Quotes

I pasted some inspirational quotes below. You can click on the "comments" button to post your own inspirational quotes. Join in!

A teacher affects eternity:
he can never tell where his influence stops.

--Henry Adams

What nobler employment, or more valuable to the state,
than that of the man who instructs the rising generation.

--Marcus Tullius Cicero

The important thing is not so much
that every child should be taught,
as that every child should be given the wish to learn.

--John Lubbock

Those who educate children well are more to be honored than parents, for these only gave life,
those the art of living well.


By learning you will teach;
by teaching you will understand.

--Latin Proverb

We cannot hold a torch to light another's path without brightening our own.

--Ben Sweetland

We learn by teaching.

--James Howell

It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken
joy in creative expression and knowledge.

-- Albert Einstein

The most effective teacher will always be biased,
for the chief force in teaching is confidence and enthusiasm.

--Joyce Cary

Whatever you want to teach, be brief.


He that teaches us anything which we knew not
before is undoubtedly to be reverenced as a master.

--Samuel Johnson

Be careful to leave your sons well instructed rather than rich, for the hopes of the instructed are better
than the wealth of the ignorant.


Teaching is not a lost art,
but the regard for it is a lost tradition.

--Jacques Barzun

Education is the transmission of civilization.

--Will Durant

To teach is to learn twice over.

--Joseph Joubert

A schoolmaster should have an atmosphere of awe,
and walk wonderingly, as if he was amazed at being himself.

--Newton D. Baker

One good teacher in a lifetime may sometimes
change a delinquent into a solid citizen.

--Philip Wylie

A child miseducated is a child lost.

--John F. Kennedy

A master can tell you what he expects of you.
A teacher, though, awakens your own expectations.

--Patricia Neal

Recommended Books

2007 Summer Institute
Book Recs

Writing Reminders by Jim Burke (Amanda & April) 2003
• What Teachers Must Do “reminders”
• What Students Must Do
• Offers suggestions for prompts, adaptations, forms, examples
• Could work for any content teacher

Rural Voices by Ed. R. Brooke (Lainey) 2003
• “place conscious education”
• Making reading/writing applicable to students’ world / universal experience
• Book born out of experiment from grant to improve education in rural schools
• Intradependence addressed
• Some published student work

Writing About Your Life by William Zinsser (Tilda)
• Anecdotes about memoir writing
• Tips/instructions on how to add – place, character….
• Effective ways to approach this genre writing
• Simplistic / realistic
• Includes Books of the Month

Creative Writing MFA (Lillian) 2006
• Compiled by graduate professors
• A “walk through” of their curriculum for a Master of Fine Arts
• Weekly activities for both reading and writing
• Rec. readings
• Applicable

Mini Lessons for Lit Circles by H. Daniels & N. Steineke (Debbie) 2004
• Lessons geared to reinforcing pieces of lit circle work
• Hands on activities with time indicators
• Projects that Rock!
• Includes discussion skills and assessment
• Helps create effective lit circles
• “what can go wrong” “what next”

Visual Literacy by Lynell Burmerk (Chad)
• Using art/visuals to teach reading & writing
• Helps ask questions = being an engaged reader
• Practical examples / activities
• Can foster point of view with students
• Color as emotion examples
• Learning visually – across content and grade level

Voices on Voice by K. Yancy (Ben) 1994
• Collection of articles by teachers produced by NCTE
• How you define/teach/assess voice?
• Subjective, gray area
• Authentic vs. artificial voice
• Is voice based on genre?
• Theoretical & engaged debate format

Reading with Meaning by D. Miller (Tara)
• Strategies for teaching reading comprehension
• Start by using “real language” = common comprehension language
• How to’s on reading workshop, making connections to text and truly responding to text

Craft Lessons by R. Fletcher (Tara)
• K-8 specifically
• Offers mini lessons and other writing direction

If You’re Trying to Teach Kids How to Write – You Gotta Have this Book by M. Frank (Susan)
• Hodgepodge of ideas for writing inspiration
• Evaluation of writing can be throughout
• Teacher is “catalyst and helper” for writing students
• Applicable to all levels

Writing Across the Curriculum by M. Cumin (Amy)
• Using book as springboard for policy making in school
• Speaks to each discipline and genre
• Theoretical argument for why writing should happen across curriculum
• Must take in to account that all students will eventually need skills to write for a larger audience, no matter the job….

Rituals of Failure by S. Contenta (Christy)
• Educational policy examination
• How do schools “we” fail our students?
• School = Factory, not individualized enough
• Reflective based – how can our practices be more conducive to facilitate an enjoyable school environment or individualization
• Offering ideas to instill some type of change

Salt by Kolansky (Lisa)
• Historically based novel
• Story of World History told through the origins and movement of salt
• Proves nonfiction writing can be exciting and connected
• Proves “research” can /should be used in writing
• Could be a book study / case for writing across curriculum

Inventing the Truth by ed. W. Zinsser (Tracey) 1995
• Compiled chapters from famous memoirists recounting struggles and triumphs of writing their works
• Idea that “truth” can be different for writer, reader……if it feels true, it’s true to you
• Concept to base early writing ideas / genre for student writers – write what you know
• Differentiates from autobiography – not whole life, not necessarily linear….
• Authors also list their favorite memoirs

Coming to Terms by P. Lynne (Tom)
• Explores theories about writing assessment
• Idea that teaching and evaluating function under different sets of rules
• Uses literary jargon, terminology
• Complex reading but helpful and exciting

I've posted a few other books that helped me decide to become a teacher, and then helped me stay one. You can click on the "comments" button below to post some of your own choices.

The Water is Wide by Pat Conroy

I read this book back when I first started teaching as a MA student. I imagined myself, as I trudged, terrified, to teach my first English 101 class, as also crossing a body of water, one that flowed between me as a student and me as a teacher. Since I was a child, I played teacher with my younger siblings, and I remember as early as 6th grade critiquing the style of my teachers. "I'll make sure I do that when I am a teacher" or "I'll never do that when I am a teacher." But until I crossed that water into the world of being a teacher, it was all fantasy. Now, I was facing the real thing, and Pat Conroy helped.

I Answer with My Life: Life Histories of Women Teachers Working for Social Change by Kathleen Casey

I read this book the year I finished my Ph. D., and I was wondering if it had been all worth it. I had summited -- I had reached the educational goal that had consumed me for years, for which I had sacrificed so much. And as I began to climb back down from that peak, the flat lands below looked blank, and, well, boring. I felt directionless without the compass that the degree had become. This book helped me find my way again. The teachers it depicts "answer with their lives" -- meaning, they act rather than simply talk, and their lives reflect their philosophies. I had been taught in my program to be a thinker more than a doer, and something didn't feel right about that. So, this book offered me a different perspective, and reinforced what I felt deep inside. I decided to work to become more like the teachers in the book. I've kept that book on my shelf since then, and when some student asks me, "What do you think, what is your philosophy?" (which often happens to a southern liberal feminist who once taught at UC-Berkeley), I hand them the book: "I hope you can look at my life and see what I believe." That is, I now think, the highest goal.

Favorite Teacher Blogs

Here are some of my favorite teacher blogs out there in the blogosphere:

* Teacher Magazine's Blogs
* Hobo Teacher

You can visit these, then click on the "comments" button to comment on them, or you can tell everyone about teacher blogs you like to read.

LWP News

Check here for the latest LWP News!

Summer Fellows' Blogs 2007

Click on the names below to read the 2007 Summer Fellows' blogs:


Thursday, June 28, 2007

In-class writing prompt 1

Click on the "comments" button to leave your own response to the following question:

What do you think is the most important point Janet Emig makes in her article “Writing as a Mode of Learning”? Why? This is not a quiz. You can look at the text and your notes to help you answer the question.


Welcome to the class blog of the Lowcountry Writing Project Summer Writing Institute!

The Summer Institute brings together teachers from across the Lowcountry, in all grade levels and all disciplines, for several weeks of reading, writing, research, and practice. Participants, selected on the basis of an application and a personal interview, meet each day to write, discuss their writing, read about and discuss effective ways to teach writing and use writing as a learning tool, research writing topics of their choice, and improve their teaching practices by leading or taking part in demonstrations of effective teaching practices.

For more information, go to the Lowcountry Writing Project webpage.