Memoir Essay Prompts

Blue Tile by Narux26
  • I am most afraid of death.
  • As a child I most misunderstood my parents and their interactions with me. Primarily, I didn’t realize how young they were and how my expectations of them were usually too high for their maturity level. I understand this now primarily because of my interactions with my daughter and her expectations of me.
  • I realized my parents were imperfect, impotent to shield me, and scared when I became a parent myself.
  • The parts of my body that bother me most are my large ‘padded’ shoulders. Remember when all the shirts and jackets had shoulder pads in the ’90s? Apparently my brothers’ teasing that I didn’t need them overshadowed the fact that my “flaw” was actually desirable. Haha! I also dislike my large breasts, my large wrists (I can’t wear bracelets), hairs on my chin, and my flabby abdomen.
  • If I could change my first name, I would change it to Alethia – Truth. It’s the name my dad chose for me, but it was vetoed by my mom and grandma. I am a seeker of truth, so it fits me well. And I always wanted a cool nickname like Ali. Instead, I hate my name in Spanish, and I dislike the usual nickname for Angela – Angie. I do, however, like Angel and the associations that accompany my family’s nickname for me.
  • I would not change my last name, not my married nor my maiden last names.
  • I would change my middle name because it’s dull and overused, and because it means sorrow. However, I realize it is truly symbolic of the shadow side of myself which I have tried to run from much of my life. Perhaps it is actually the perfect “second” name for my joyful self.

If you could choose your first, middle, or last name, what would you change it to and why?


Written by: Angela Magnotti Andrews
Original Prompts Provided by: Dinty W. Moore in Crafting the Personal Essay  (Writer’s Digest Books, 2010)

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