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Mar 30, 2024

or your first major writing assignment, you will write a memoir (a story about yourself) in the form of an essay addressed to a college-educated audience.
The story must be about a time in which you had a meaningful experience with language– whatever that means to you. Make sure to write about a specific moment or event, not a list of memories.
Express how this memory helped you understand yourself better, question your understanding of communication/language/, and how it shapes the way you see yourself as a writer.

Your memoir MUST include:
Details
Use vivid details and imagery (think of the 5 senses—seeing, touching, tasting, hearing, smelling) to create a narrative with a strong central point.
Significance
Through reflection, your story should reveal an insight, belief, or value that you or a community you belong to holds about language. Consider why you chose this specific memory. Why, out of all your experiences, did you decide to write about this one? What effect did this have on you and the way it helped you understand communication, language, and writing?
Addressed
To a college-educated audience.
Author’s Note
An Author’s Note is a reflective piece completed AFTER you have written your essay. Think of the Author’s Note as a moment of conversation between the author and reader in which the author explains their work and choices. The author’s note must be at least half a page, 12-point font, Times New Roman, double-spaced, and attached at the end of your essay. Make sure the Author’s Note is titled, so not to be confused as a continuation of your essay. It must explain:
The choices you made when constructing your essay
The significance of your essay
The strengths of your essay
Potential weaknesses of your essay
Format
Must be at least 400-700 words (not including Author’s Note)
Must adopt the appearance of a college essay. (heading and creative title)
Completed on a Word document
Include an Author’s Note at the end of your essay.

Steps
Identify a complex memory or experience to write about related to language. Some ideas (pick one to focus on, or go in a different direction of your own):
A story that helps readers understand what it means to be constantly moving back and forth between two or more languages
An event at school that was related to language and that you found interesting, humorous, or embarrassing
A story involving different Englishes you use with friends, teachers, employers, and/or family (slang, blending English another language, texting abbreviations)
A time when you were judged by someone else based on your language use or encountered resistant attitudes OR a time when you judged someone else in this way
Learning to text, creating and maintaining social media.
A moment when you experienced a type of English as having power and authority
A moment with an influential person/event that affected how you use language
A moment when you learned or first encountered work-specific language or disciplinary-specific jargon.
2. Organize, outline, and prewrite!
Look over previous group discussion board entries to generate ideas.
Reread the narratives of Amy Tan and Gloria Anzaldúa as examples of balancing details and significance.

3. SHOW – don’t just tell!
Illustrate your main points through specific, vivid examples and descriptions that demonstrate what you mean. Help your reader feel your emotions and understand your perspective. Use first-person point of view (“I”).
Consider using descriptive details, dialogue, vivid scenes, and/or imagery (5 senses).
4. Communicate the significance of this experience/memory. That is, reflect on what happened and articulate how you make sense of it—show us the insight you’ve gained!
Why should other people care about this experience?
How could this experience be relevant or insightful for other people?
How has reflecting on this memory helped you understand yourself better, question your understanding of communication/language/, and how it shapes the way you see yourself as a writer?

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Total: GBP120

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