Here’s a fairly simple Writing Exercise for memoir or autobiographical writing:
What is your most prominent or earliest memory? After you describe this, laying out the settings and people, analyze why you think this memory sticks out to you.
For an example, this is one of my most vivid childhood memories involving a loving and protective family dog:
My first stepdad’s family had a dog named Candy. She was afraid of bonfires, but she showed courage protecting me from a tobacco worm the size of my tanned five-year-old forearm.
Swinging on a tree alone in my granny’s front yard, I saw bright-green balls stuck together, worming through the grass. Candy wouldn’t let me walk to it so I peered over her large back at the segments.
The crawler was enormous with two rows of big black cone spikes. The dog shifted and moved me. I was so small Candy corralled me and persistently pushed me away from the large Georgia tobacco worm. What a sweet dog, but that worm intrigued me. I bet it was out looking for food, just as hungry as I was always.
Mom used to take me to school. One time during summer, the cracked roads had smashed bee hives in our lane. We got out, Mom told me to get back in the car. She used a stick to poke the hive to the nearest ditch. We arrived just in time for school breakfast and I think she made it to work.