“Mirrors, Windows, and Sliding Glass Doors,” from the essay of the same title, by Rudine Sims.
For this hour-long, interactive workshop, participants will explore the memoir as a narrative creative form. For this occasion, participants/creators will recount significant experiences through meaningful dwellings from their life. To frame this experience, a selection of memoirs will be shared through which participants will discuss and reflect on the significance of dwellings in their own experience as relates to the development of their personal and cultural identity. Following the discussion, a series of questions or prompts will be given from which each can choose to create a memoir of their own. Works in forms and formats, including visual collage, poetry, and/or prose will be encouraged and explored.
Participants will come away with an understanding of the genre, how it is distinct from others, like autobiography and ethnography, as well as how memoir can take shape in other forms and formats including collage, graphic novel, and poetry. Works will be saved and chronicled (if the participant so chooses), digitally, for posting on the CLE Cultural Rememory microsite.
“Graffiti: A Memoir”
“We gabbed through the night, gossiping, playing truth or dare, and applying make-up while we crowded around the powder room mirror of our home in, Orange County, California. The little bathroom was generic, like most of the tract homes on the block, and of the era. All the fixtures; sink, faucet, and Formica countertops, were standard issue. But there was one element of the décor that made the restroom at 709 Concord Street distinct. One wall had been decorated with graphic wallpaper in a design that simulated graffiti. Yeah, that’s right, graffiti. In our sterile, cookie-cutter, suburban, tract home, our bathroom was decorated to look as if it had been tagged.”
From the Artist’s Statement:
“To create this “Home” scene, I meditated on my own childhood and days spent at my grandmother Mary Evelyn (a.k.a. Evie) Givens’ house. Evie’s house was my home away from home, and time with Evie was always an adventure. Afternoons were spent in discussion of big ideas, learning, and fun. It was Evie who encouraged me in my youth to “write something every day.”
Scrabble was most always on the agenda at Evie’s, and day trips were frequent. An avid fan of the arts, Evie and I would travel by bus – Evie didn’t drive— to museums, galleries, and gardens in my native Southern California, filling my childhood with vivid memories of love, laughter, and light. Even when no one was home, as was the case while she and I were out having adventures, Evie’s cluttered yet tidy home was a cherished space that I return to in my heart even now as an adult.”