A Fifteen-Minute Memoir

If Stuck, Start Here

By Annette Rey

This exercise can go anywhere each individual writer can take it. Make an effort to be accurate and include high points (and low points) you’d like a reader to know.

The result can be a start to a longer memoir piece.

Here is my attempt —-

I’m sorry. I can’t publish what I wrote. I can only give you the first few paragraphs.


Shadows of my past lie in the darkness beyond my desk lamp and interfere with my writing plan for tonight. Instead, familial ghostly memories from a time long past are pushing their stories onto my page, in want of understanding from you, my reader.

If it is my memoir, why is it they who want understanding? And I answer: it is because they lived self-centered lives, always putting themselves first, always putting me last. So, in death they are the same as in life.

They are primary players – the most influential on the formation of the interior world of a child for whom they were supposed to be nurturing and responsible.


Give this exercise a try. You may be amazed at what you produce.




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