The Virginia G. Piper
Center for Creative Writing

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The Two-Way Mirror: Writing Memoir with Andrea Avery

Date(s): 
Tuesdays, Sept. 5 -- Sept. 26, 2017, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Location: 
Piper Writers House, 450 E Tyler Mall, Tempe, AZ 85281
Cost: 
$199 Regular, $149 Student

About the Class

Have you ever set down to write about your own life and felt like you were howling maniacally about yourself, to yourself, in a locked room? Or have you felt like you were standing coolly apart from your own exciting life, clinically reporting on it? If so, consider the idea of the two-way mirror as a metaphor for memoir writing. We have all seen two-way mirrors on hardboiled cop shows--the suspect sees only him or herself, but the unseen observers on the other side see everything. A good memoir is a little bit like a two-way mirror, except that the memoirist is both suspect-subject (staring back at herself) and cop-author (detached, analyzing, questioning everything). In this class, students will explore that delightfully complicated task before the memoirist: to candidly examine the stuff of one's life while filtering that self-examination through a more removed, strategic artistic lens. We will accomplish this through guided discussion of mentor texts, in-class writing exercises, and workshop devoted to each participant's own memoirs in progress.

Meet Your Instructor

Picture of Andrea Avery

Andrea Avery is the author of Sonata: A Memoir of Pain and the Piano, which describes her experiences growing up as an aspiring pianist even after a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis at age 12. Her writing has been published in Ploughshares, Real Simple, The Oxford American, and The Politics of Women’s Bodies: Sexuality, Appearance, and Behavior. She was the winner of Real Simple’s 2010 essay contest and a finalist in Glamour magazine’s essay contest. She holds a BA in music, an MFA in Creative Writing, and a doctorate in education from Arizona State University. She teaches English at Phoenix Country Day School and is an active volunteer with the Arthritis Foundation.