This session will demonstrate ways to create richly layered memoir via multiple genres and visual storytelling. Our lives and those of our ancestors leave traces in the human archive that include much more than photographs. Documents like immigration records, religious institutions, letters, newspaper clippings, government forms, song lyrics, even fingerprints, prison records, school assignments, local histories or ethnographic notes—can all be “mined” for creative inspiration, expanding and enriching the narrative of your family.
Desert Nights, Rising Stars Writers Conference Faculty 2019
About Deborah Miranda
View Sessions by Deborah Miranda
Creating a Mixed-Genre Family MemoirSaturday, February 23, 2019, 10:15 a.m. - 11:15 a.m.
Genre: Creative Nonfiction, Experimental, Fiction, Hybrid, Memoir, Mixed Genre, Multi-genre, Poetry, Research, Short Stories
More About Deborah Miranda
Miscolta, Donna. "An Interview with Deborah Miranda." March 4, 2013.
Linda Hogan says, “History is our illness.” I’m reminded of this when I think of the legacies that Missionization and colonization have left us: diabetes, substance abuse, obesity, depression, domestic violence, racism. Who needs a colonizer anymore—we can do ourselves quite a bit of damage without outside help! Bonnie Duran and Maria Yellow Horse Brave Heart call this Postcolonial Stress Disorder, or Historical Trauma. Our personal histories are shorter versions of the tribal histories we have endured [ . . . ] it is impossible to ignore the fact that certain commonalities run through Native lives and identities that come directly from the colonized experience.
– for John T. Williams, and all Indians living on the street
On Broadway or 1st Ave, on Capitol Hill
or Pioneer Square, the Indians gather
in doorways or benches or grassy bits of park.
They sleep, sell Small Change, tell stories,
carve little totem poles, share cigarettes,
wait for the bars to open –
for the shelters to open –
for the soup kitchens to open
wait for the world to open.
---. "Love Poem to a Butch Woman." Poetry Foundation, 2005.
---. "The Voice." Mud City Journal.
I came to finding my voice through the pain and suffering of those I love most - how do I deal with that? What do I do with that knowledge? – author and environmental activist Terry Tempest Williams
When writing about the California Missions became the focus of my scholarship and poetry, the question Terry Tempest Williams speaks of was precisely the dilemma I began to face.
My “successes” in life (tenured teaching position, house, car, children’s college funding, health care, publications) exist, in large part, due to the fact that I write about and research California Indian history and experiences.
My father walked out of San Quentin after eight years and somehow ended up at the Tuolumne River. My father’s forty-four-year-old body was hardened, callused, scarred, and tattooed with eight years of fighting to breathe, to stay unbroken, or at least alive. He woke up nights in a cold sweat, fists coiled, pumped with adrenaline. Far into old age, he told me, he lived in fear that his release was a mistake, and guards would show up to take him away, lock him back up.
But how did he get from San Quentin to the Tuolumne River, and why? Well, he didn’t mean to make that trip. As to why . . .