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"Tackling the Problem of Memory in Memoir" ONLINE with Rachel Starnes

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Online Classroom

6/20/2020 From 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM


$49 for Members
$109 for Non-Members

All registrants will have access to the class recording for one week.

Are you trying to write a memoir but can't remember every gritty detail of what happened?

This class will examine the problem of memory by drawing on a blend of literature, art, and neuroscience in order to grapple with the question of how one selects, recounts, and handles moments of imperfect memory in the writing of memoir. Often, the stakes of these moments are high and various conflicting versions of a story exist. Did it really happen that way? Why do the witnesses disagree, and what does this mean for how I tell the story? At the heart of the issue is the question, “How does the memoirist acknowledge the flawed nature of memory while constructing a reliable narrative persona?”

The instructor will discuss the difference, both in neurobiological terms and literary ones, between “objective truth” and “narrative truth,” and reveal ways in which the writer can help a reader (and is, indeed, obligated to) understand the difference between the two. Well-known scandals and shifting trends within the genre will be discussed, and participants will come away with a variety of best practices for handling reconstructed memories and the impacts of these moments on the larger course of a developing memoir.



  • You're working on a memoir and have hit the limit of what you remember.
  • You're looking for practices for reconstructing memories that you know won't be perfect.
  • You want to avoid some of the common missteps made by memoir writers in the past.



  • "The workshop was incredible and enlightening from a very refreshing viewpoint!"
  • "I rarely rate everything "excellent"....but this class deserved it."
  • "Rachel was so engaging and presented so much useful material that I could have listened to her for 3 more hours."



Rachel Starnes is the author of the critically-acclaimed memoir The War at Home: A Wife's Search for Peace and Other Missions Impossible. She received her MFA in Creative Nonfiction from California State University, Fresno and her BA from the University of Texas. Her essays have appeared in The Colorado Review, Front Porch Journal, and O Magazine. Born in Austin, Texas, she has lived in Scotland, Texas, Saudi Arabia, Florida, California, and Nevada.



Online classroom



$49 members (sign in for member pricing)

$109 nonmembers


Before purchasing, please read all policies as noted below and on our Classes page.

Online registration will close on Friday, June 19 at 5 pm CDT. If your browser has difficulty with our website store, or if you prefer to mail in a check, click here for a class registration form. The document provides instructions on where to mail it. If you prefer this option, please email with a copy of the form as well. We are working out of our office at this time.

Once a purchase has been made, tickets are not refundable and registration cannot be transferred to a different class or event. No exceptions will be made. If you purchase a ticket and then find you cannot attend, someone else can attend in your stead. Simply contact us at or 512-499-8914 and let us know so that we can update the class roster.


Our classes offer a combination of lecture and practical exercises, determined by the individual instructor, on focused aspects of the craft and business of writing. Your fellow participants will come from a range of writing experience, from beginners to people with MFA degrees and published books. WLT instructors, participants, and administrators all work together to create a welcoming, supportive environment.

If you haven't taken a class with us in recent years, feel free to give us a call at 512-499-8914 if you'd like to discuss whether our programming is the right fit for your needs.

This project is supported in part by the Cultural Arts Division of the City of Austin Economic Development Department. Visit Austin at


Writers' League of Texas classes and workshops are also funded in part by the Texas Commission on the Arts - Investing in a Creative Texas. For more information, go to


This project is also supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. To find out more about how National Endowment for the Arts grants impact individuals and communities, visit