Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Memoir Prompts

To get the juices flowing (so to speak) on your memoir assignment, here are some possible entry points:

1. Use the scene you began in class about a kitchen from your childhood to explore food, memory and one of your places of origin.

2. After "Stealing Buddha's Dinner," write about a food obsession of yours--or continue working from the in-class writing.

3. Use the writing from class about a time when you felt different because of the food you ate to launch a larger piece.

4. Write about a memory of your first time with a new food, a time when you experienced a completely new flavor. What effect did it have on you?

5. Write about a longing for food that speaks to a bigger, deeper longing.

6. Write about an experience of giving up food--a particular kind of food, a particular amount, food in general--of denying yourself food.

7. After "A Cook's Tour," "[t]hink about the last time food transported you" (10) and write about it.

8. Write about "site-specific" food or things you've cooked in conjunction with other activities, perhaps inspired by Jane Kramer. Or write about food you have--or would--travel for, like Bourdain and French Laundry. "I like the idea of having to travel to experience a French Laundry meal. The journey is part of the experience--or was for me--an expression of the seriousness of one's intent . . . " (251).

These are just starting points to get you going. Feel free to write from any other place in the universe as long as it speaks to food and travel.

Whatever you write, keep an eye toward crafting scene, developing character and voice, using dialogue, allowing yourself to meander and wander into the recesses of your mind as well as inform the reader about things s/he may not be familiar with. And have fun!

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