Write a Health Memoir
Write a Health Memoir
Several of the authors from our text deploy vivid description and personal narrative to draw the reader into the world of their subjects. Look back over a few of these readings.
Using tools such as vivid description and personal voice, write a health memoir—a short biographical essay of at least 800 words—that foregrounds your relationship to illness, health, and well-being. You may choose to focus on a particular health-related episode in your life, or to identify a pattern that runs through your life that connects your health experiences to your growth as a thinking, reflective human being. Share as much or as little as you wish in the story you tell, but try to give your readers a sense of who you are as a writer.
Questions for Research, Reflection, and Invention
Who is the audience for your biographical essay?
What do you want the audience to understand, learn, or experience from reading your essay?
What kinds of details can you include about the physical circumstances of your health episode, or what kind of story can you tell about your healthful or unhealthful life, to draw in your audience?
What and when do you remember thinking about your health? What helps you to remember? Are there things that you would rather forget?
What aspects of daily life affect or might affect your health? Do you make everyday decisions (such as what to eat) that indirectly or directly have consequences for your health?
About Memoir Writing
Memoirs are biographical essays in which authors also make arguments about issues of concern or in which they reflect upon the consequences and underpinnings of the events in their lives that they recount. Some authors from our text, such as Julia Hansen in A Life in Smoke, deliberately and carefully construct themselves in print as a literary character or persona. Think of your memoir as your chance to present yourself as an author to an unknown reader, as a reflective thinker to your classmates and to persons who already know you well, or as a character in a true-life story. You might begin by writing down any memories you have about health care or illness to see whether any particular episodes stand out for you as vivid experiences that you could share with your readers. If you can recall no particular episodes or incidents that you could memorialize, think about your relationship to a specific area of health, such as nutrition, exercise, relationships, or habits. As you reflect on these aspects of your life, look at them in light of their connection to your physical and mental wellbeing.
This first major writing assignment should contain between 800 to 1500 words and must adhere to correct MLA format. If you rely on outside sources in your memoir, remember to cite your sources within the body of the paper (even those sources you are paraphrasing) and to include a works cited page. If you need MLA reminders, refer to our Praxis textbook and to the OWL Purdue website (link in D2L).
Health. Fountainhead Press. Edited by: Sujata Iyengar & Allison Kellar Lenhardt