Introduction to Readings

By way of examples, Elizabeth shares two brief readings that illustrate beautifully what spiritual memoir is and how it works.  If you’re able, print these readings out so you can mark them up.



The first time you read these pieces, simply enjoy them.

The second time, read with a pen in hand and your writing hat on. Pay attention to your journey through the piece and consider:

  • What catches your attention?
  • What pleases you?
  • What distracts you?
  • What makes you think?
  • What makes you feel?
  • How is the writer creating these reactions in you?
  • What do you learn about writing through this piece?

Underline passages, write in the margins, articulate your questions.  Consider each of these authors your writing teacher.



Reading #1 (Rosina-Fawzia Al-Rawi)

The first reading is a short chapter from Grandmother’s Secrets, a book about belly dancing by Rosina-Fawzia Al-Rawi.




Reading #2 (Brian Doyle)

The second, “Eating Dirt,”  is a short piece by Brian Doyle, a big-hearted writer from the Pacific Northwest.  I’m not giving anything away when I tell you that it’s about a dad who lets his kids eat dirt.  Often when I share this piece, the parents in the class freak out!  Remember that we’re not reading this to comment on Doyle’s parenting skills but rather to inhabit his world for a bit.