Upcoming classes: Memoir

Mary Ladd




TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 25  | We’ll read from the masters, Oliver Sacks and Joan Didion, and do our own generative short exercises to explore how to find points of entry into personal experiences of loss.

  • All writing levels and genres welcome.
  • The writing you create in the class will help kick start your writing process and give you tools for processing your grief.
  • As a seriously ill patient as well as a caregiver for my mom, I channeled my grief into a book project and writing assignments (to help pay the bills and avoid going crazy) – often using humor.

Rachel Howard




SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 29  |  “Flat” writing hands off lifeless information in a two-dimensional exchange between reader and writer.  Three-dimensional writing places the reader in a charged space of heightened experience, renewed perspective, and active meaning-making.  How is that three-dimensionality created, and what do you do when you find your language stuck in 2-D?  This combination lecture and workshop for writers of fiction and literary nonfiction examines specific strategies for three-dimensionality drawn from contemporary writers like Sheila Heti, Jo Ann Beard, and Maggie Nelson, and classics by Marguerite Duras and Bruno Schulz. We will try out new techniques and tricks—but ultimately what you will achieve is a shift in consciousness that will help make your writing spacious and transporting.


Julia Scheeres




THURSDAYS, OCTOBER 4 —NOVEMBER 15  |  How do we grab the attention of our readers and pull them into our stories? By imbuing our pages with a raw humanity that elicits a deep emotional response in them. A finely crafted opening will keep the reader turning pages, curious about the fate of our characters or subject matter.

Your first pages set the stage for the rest of your book. What works? Masterful storytelling. Strong characters. Artful language. Tension. Drama. A clear sense of theme and direction. A mystery. Elements that keep readers hooked, eager to know more.


Carla Walter




WEEKENDS, OCTOBER 13-14 & 20-21  |  Are you a seeker with existential experiences and questions to phrase or interpret? Have you had a spiritual experience that has moved or changed you? Do you want to write a story about your transformation through a significant emotional event? In this workshop, you’ll get that chance! You’ll unveil, identify, and select the important steps of your journey that you wish to write about.

In this workshop, I will provide an overview of methods used to write about the spiritual journey. This will include memoir, travel writing, personal essay, letter, creative nonfiction, fiction, and short story.


Louise Nayer




SUNDAYS, OCTOBER 21 — NOVEMBER 4  |  In this three-morning class, we’ll go over the basics of great memoir writing. How do you draw readers into your world using sensory detail–the sounds of the BART as it rushes through the tunnel, the smell of your childhood home, the taste of morning coffee? How do you write both summary and scene? How do you make your dialogue sound authentic? How do you deal with time shifts? How can you make your voice sing on the page? Excerpts from memoirs will be used for inspiration as well as Judith Barrington’s Memoir Writing.


Rachel Howard




SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 17  |  Why do some memoirs take off from the first page, while others stall out before the end of chapter one? More importantly: How can you make sure the memoir you’re writing gets all the necessary gears lined up on those all-important first five pages?

In this combination craft lecture and trouble-shooting workshop, you’ll learn the three Cs of narrative engine: Character, Conflict, and Clock. What’s clock, you say? Glad you asked. It’s a simple but elusive element that’s crucial to your story’s drive—but many memoir writers don’t realize their pages are missing it.



Comments are closed.