Memory Maps: An Introduction to Creative Nonfiction
WRIT S1101 - 3 points
In recent years, scientists have found that memory and imagination call upon the same “default network” in the brain, suggesting that the recreation of memory is not merely an act of retrieval, but also one of imaginative projection. Philosophers and artists have long noted that memory is mutable territory, its topographical features dependent entirely on the stories we tell ourselves. Another way to think about narrative is that it provides an account for how we got to the present moment, reaffirming once again that we were here, here, and here, which means that the next logical turn should be over there. Well-worn paths may be familiar, but not all are safe or lead to happy endings. Sometimes boundaries shift after a storm, or new mountains erupt into the horizon. When this happens, narrative becomes a necessary navigation tool to help us travel from past to future.
In this class, we will approach narrative writing as mapmakers of memory: We will visit the terrain, determine our location, establish the scale, insert symbols, and learn how to refine what we have mapped. We will read essays, theoretical texts, and memoir excerpts to explore each of these concepts and skills, and reinforce them through discussion and in-class exercises. Finally, we will apply these skills in workshop by generating meaningful and constructive feedback that will provide a foundation for further exchange and collaboration.