While flipping through pages of a family photo album earlier this year, my daughter looked up and asked me what she was really like as a child, the word ‘really’ emphasized. I paused a few seconds. Then I offered a litany of adjectives: curious, independent, ardent, funny, imaginative, and smart. When she cocked her head to the right, I immediately knew I hadn’t hit the mark. She hadn’t uttered a word but I got her message. (I should have added “demanding” to my litany.)

I sifted through my mental photos, family anecdotes, and stories but opted for a fresher approach. Here’s what I told her:

When you would be playing in your room with the little people you made out of Kleenex and string, I would eavesdrop outside the door. In a feverish monologue, you spoke to them as mother, father, and deus ex machina. You spoke for them, too. Lulu, whose string was red, giggled with Ted, who had a blue tissue head. With Lulu in your left fist and Ted in the right, you whispered their dialogue in your small raspy voice. I stood at the door astounded at the intensity of your Kleenex planet.

It occurred to me that I could write this vignette down and let it grow into a story of my time as a young mother and hers as a young child. Waving a metal detector over my memory, I’d prospect for other nuggets, like my older son’s Superman years and my younger son’s Captain Hook life. A good start.

If you are interested in writing your memoir, register for the Mummy Mountain memoir workshop and begin mining your own memory. During each workshop session, the leader will teach the bones of memoir writing and ways to flesh out those bones through exercises, discussion, and selected readings. In subsequent meetings, writers present their work to the group for review, critique, and support.

The memoir workshop fee is $300 for 6 two-hour sessions.

Limited to six writers per workshop.

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