Letter from Heather: Remembered Event Grades


Hi all!

Your grades have been posted for your first essay along with my comments.

If you are having difficulty accessing my comments, here is a quick video I made to help you out.

I welcome questions about your final grade; however, there are 3 provisions:

  1. I require a 24 hour waiting period to provide a little distance. (So, Friday during office hours is fine)
  2. You must read all of my comments and bring targeted problems and issues to my attention.
  3. I will not talk about it over email or in a short chat after class. You should plan on attending office hours, so that we have the time and the privacy to go over all of your questions. (The link to sign up for an appointment is here)

If you have any questions, of course, let me know!




The Moth (Weekend Inspiration)


The Moth, an effort by George Dawes Green, which is supported by NPR, to reinvigorate the art of storytelling, is part performance, part autobiography, and part stories-for-stories-sake. Since it debuted in 1997, thousands of people have told their stories in front of live audiences all around the United States.

Participants can tell whatever story they want within the universal parameters–each storyteller must present her/his story:

  1. In front of a live audience.
  2. Without notes.

From The Moth’s website: “Moth shows are renowned for the great range of human experience they showcase. Each show starts with a theme, and the storytellers explore it, often in unexpected ways. Since each story is true and every voice authentic, the shows dance between documentary and theater, creating a unique, intimate, and often enlightening experience for the audience. Moth stories dissolve socio-economic barriers, expose vulnerabilities, and quietly suggest ways to overcome challenges and see with new eyes.”

This is not only the goal of The Moth, but it is also the mission statement behind this course. By thinking about how we write our own lives, we should get to questions about human existence, life, God, society, and on and on.

You’ve already watched/listened to Dan Savage’s story, but there are thousands of other stories out there. They might be helpful examples for your Remembered Event paper, but they are definitely helpful examples for living an examined life.

Do you have a favorite storyteller in your life? Someone who always has an interesting tale to tell? Tell us about her or him in the comments!

Schedule: Week 3, 4/11-4/15

The schedule for week 3…

Monday, April 4th: Structuring Memories

  • Homework Due
    • Body Paragraph
      • Should be approx. 250 words. You should have several done at this point, but just bring in one.
      • Print out a copy and bring it to class.
    • Read:
      • Dillard, “An American Childhood” [SMG pages 17-22, thinking through the post-essay activities]
  • Paper Benchmarks (suggested, not required)
    • Your rough draft should be mostly complete. Remember the principle of “Shitty” for your rough drafts.
    • Use SMG 44-46 to guide you on this.

Wednesday, April 6th: Self-Editing (attendance is mandatory)

  • Homework Due
    • Shitty Rough Draft
      • Must be approx. 750 words and include the introduction and several body paragraphs.
      • Print out a copy and bring it to class.
    • ***If you do not have a rough draft, then there is no reason for you to come to class.***

Friday, April 8th: Introduction to Profiles

  • Homework Due
    • “Remembered Event” Essay Due
      • Submit via iLearn
      • See prompt for specifications and grading rubrics.

“How Jaques Pepin Saved My Life” (Weekend Inspiration)


One of the most interesting components of your Remembered Event papers is that sometimes the most important things happen in the most mundane ways or on any normal day.

Here is an excellent example of a Remembered Event paper: Brett Martin’s “How Jaques Pepin Saved My Life.” I came across it earlier this week, and I cannot get it out of my head. It is well written and perfect for this course.

Has anyone had this sort of impact on your life? Someone who just showed up the moment you needed them to? To give you advice? Or just listen? Leave a comment, because I would love to hear about them!


Schedule: Week 2, 4/6-4/10

For Week 2…

Monday, April 6th: “Writing is…”

  • Homework Due
    • BP:
    • Read:
      • Lamont, “Shitty Rough Draft” [the PDF is on iLearn]
      • Didion, “On Keeping a Notebook” [the PDF is on iLearn]
  • Paper Benchmarks (suggested, not required)
    • Now that you have an event, brainstorm everything you can about the event. Smell? Feel? Sounds? As well as location and people? What were you wearing? What season was it? … and on and on. Give yourself some time to think through your remembered event. Re-experience it, before your write it.
    • Use SMG pages 33-35 to guide you on this.

Wednesday, April 8th: Taking a Tone

Friday, April 10th: Introductions

  • Homework Due
    • Write up a Rough Draft of your Introduction (shoot for 200 words)
      • Use SMG pages 42-44 as a guide
      • Make the font 18pt (aka, BIG)
      • Double-Space it
      • Print it out
  • Paper Benchmarks (suggested, not required)
    • None, because you are already working on an introduction!

Schedule: Week 1, 3/28-4/1

Here is the schedule for this week.

Monday, 3/28: Introductions

  • Homework Due:
    • None
  • Paper Benchmarks (suggested, not required):
    • None

Wednesday, 3/30: Who am I? (Dramatic Arc)

  • Homework Due:
  • Paper Benchmarks (suggested, not required):
    • Brainstorm ideas for your remembered event paper

Friday, 4/1: Writing about Yourself (Vivid Descriptions)

  • Homework Due:
  • Paper Benchmarks (suggested, not required):
    • Go through your brainstorm list and decide what the significance is for each idea: Why would someone want to read this story? What does it say about you?About your life? Your experiences?Why do you find it interesting?