Photo Illustrated and Provided by Juliette Borda

When I attended the free Gotham Writers’ Workshop almost two weeks ago, I sat next to a woman who caught my attention when she asked about writing a memoir for children. Juliette Borda, 42, an illustrator and Brooklyn resident, recently answered some questions for me about her views on memoir:

1. Define memoir.

One’s recounting of what they consider to be pivotal or transformative events in their lives; the story of the struggles that built their character. It’s the writer’s job to turn the random series of events in their life into a story and to find meaning in the events.

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Welcome to famemoir

March 21, 2010

Main Entry: mem·oir

Pronunciation: \’mem-ˌwär, -ˌwȯr\

Function: noun

Etymology: Middle French memoire, from memoire memory, from Latin memoria

Date: 1571

1 : an official note or report : MEMORANDUM

2 a : a narrative composed from personal experience b: AUTOBIOGRAPHY —usually used in plural c : BIOGRAPHY

3 a : an account of something noteworthy : REPORT b plural : the record of the proceedings of a learned society

– Merriam-Webster.com

Out of Merriam-Webster’s definition of memoir, it is the 2a definition which most closely matches my own thoughts on the genre. I consider a memoir a way for a person to share a private memory with the world. Memoirs are often accounts of “something noteworthy;” however, I am most intrigued by memoirs of seemingly typical people who lead seemingly typical lives.

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