Jessica Litman is coming to Seattle University School of Law this week, and speaking about "Personal Use" in copyright. The paper is amazing. (It's available at Jessica's website at http://www-personal.umich.edu/~jdlitman/)
She really uses personal examples really well in the paper, and got me to thinking about autobiography and legal writing. I very much subscribe to the idea that autobiographical examples (whether fictional or not) are a great tool for connecting the material to the student/reader/audience. But doing it successfully is not always easy. Litman's writing does this with such grace. And I've been thinking why is this -- her language is straightforward, her examples are not complicated...but that is not it -- I think they are examples we can identify with--is that the real goal - if so, then autobiographical examples must be targeted to the audience. I have always thought of them as trying to explain something the audience may not necesssarily connect, and therefore might need a bridge. Litman's muse is examples of things we all do -- getting dressed (not her example, but mine), which further enlightens the relevant law (or problems with the law).
Just a few thoughts on writing and struggles to connect in a meaningful and memorable way.