English 301: Autobiography as Haiku
750-1000 words (3-4 pages)
This assignment is intended to help you develop your writing voice, and is based on a concept that appears weekly in The Washington Post (sample). Your assignment is a bit longer than the Post’s, but the idea is still to capture your personality in a brief moment of writing. Try to capture yourself through the description of a vivid moment in life that reveals a key element of your personality. In order to arrive at a choice of personal voice, you should try freewriting, brainstorming, outlining and drafting. Experiment with various approaches to this assignment, and finally choose the approach which best fits “you.”
Assignment: Look through Anne Lamott’s “1-inch picture frame” at a situation, image, or moment that you feel captures your sense of yourself in some way. Think about its impact on you, its texture, and how it changed you or others. Since this is based on a small moment enlarged and analyzed, choose the moment carefully and experiment with several moments to see which one helps you establish your voice.
Various ways to fulfill the requirement (you can also move beyond these if you’d like):
1.) Take a current, everyday situation and analyze it. For example, if you are arguing with your partner/loved one/spouse….What is creating the tension? How are people around you reacting? How are YOU reacting? What do these reactions say about who you are, and how you define yourself within a social context?
2.) Describe and analyze an event from your memory—something significant to you or something that just remains vivid after a number of years. Analyze its importance: why does this event remain with you? What is its significance?
3.) Examine in detail one of the following: a memory of a family vacation or moment which you feel defines your family, a moment that defined you personally, a setting or place which is of importance to you.