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Join us online from Fairfax City for some good old-fashioned conversation inspired by articles, short stories, feature pieces, book excerpts, podcasts, videos, movies and more. We’ll tackle all and sundry—current events, issues of philosophy, timely social science, art, writing, music, science, and all other subjects that pique the interest of curious minds! We’ll organize around specific readings to foster our discussions and encourage a broad range of people and backgrounds to weigh in. Come discover, explore and sort through your ideas with us!

Upcoming events (1)

Memoir Essays: The Story of a Life in 5,000 Words?

Teresa & Damen's House

A memoir essay can be a lot of things: a journey through a moving experience, an insight into the author's mindset at a particular time, an inspiration for those seeking to understand. How do people think and write about their lives? Let's explore through the genre of memoir essay—a shorter version of memoir typically between 2,000 and 10,000 words.

I've compiled a handful of pieces for you to peruse. Read at least three essays and come prepared to talk about what makes memoir essay different from memoir, what literary devices these authors choose, what is most/least effective, how you connected to the pieces you read and/or what themes resonated with you, and whether you'd try your hand at writing some memoir essay yourself! (What experience would you write about? Why?)

This is an IN-PERSON discussion! We'll meet in the backyard of my house in the City of Fairfax, near George Mason University. For the safety of all, we are requiring that you be fully vaccinated (2 weeks after date of last shot) in order to attend this event. Please be prepared to show your vaccine card upon arrival. You are not required to wear a mask outdoors, but you are welcome to do so. We'll have some light snacks. Feel free to bring beverages or munchies to share if you'd like.

Please only RSVP if you are confident you will attend—we have a cap of 20 RSVPs. If we reach max, we'll split into two groups during our discussion.

There is plenty of street parking; walk directly to the backyard via the right side of the house—we'll be sitting outside!

Please choose at least three memoir essays from the following list (or read them all if you feel so moved!):

Allie Brosh, "Richard"

Tara Westover, excerpt from Chapter 1 of Educated entitled "Choose the Good"

Nora Ephron, "The Story of My Life in 3,500 Words or Less"
http://glaw114.weebly.com/uploads/1/2/0/0/12005777/the_story_of_my_life_in_3500_words_or_less.pdf (approx. 7 pages)

Scott Stossel, "Surviving Anxiety"
https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2014/01/surviving_anxiety/355741/ (audio version here: https://soundcloud.com/user-154380542/surviving-anxiety; approx. 30 pages)

David Sedaris, "Me Talk Pretty One Day"
https://www.esquire.com/lifestyle/a1419/talk-pretty-0399/ (approx. 5 pages)

Harrison Scott Key, "My Dad Tried to Kill Me with an Alligator"
https://www.outsideonline.com/outdoor-adventure/exploration-survival/my-dad-tried-kill-me-alligator-2/ (approx. 5 pages)

As always, please come having read your selections and be ready to listen and exchange ideas. See you soon! :)

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