Upcoming classes: Memoir
SUNDAY, JUNE 9 | Michel de Montaigne, perhaps the father of the personal essay, wrote, “I have never seen a greater monster or miracle than myself.” That sums up the personal essay — identifying the monster within and transforming it into something miraculous. Whether it’s a small realization or a dramatic triumph over tragedy, the personal essay takes the reader on a journey where the writer — and reader — come out different on the other side. This day-long class will teach you the basics of writing essays about your life, and you’ll finish the class (miracle!) with an outline for an essay of your own.
TUESDAYS, JUNE 25; JULY 2-23 | Life proliferates at the continent’s ragged edge, where sunlight illuminates the water and a wide variety of species flourishes. Such is the case with writing, which grows most vivid at the roughest spots. Regardless of your genre, this is where you too will find your richest material.
Over these next five weeks, we’ll explore ways to connect with what lies within and bring it to the surface through the power of the written word. This will take the form of reading assignments from diverse authors including Persimmon Blackbridge and Mark Doty, handouts, writing prompts and feedback from me as well as from your peers.→ READ MORE
MONDAYS, JULY 8-29; AUGUST 5-12 | You have a story to tell about your life, but don’t know where to begin. The tendency is to start at the beginning and plod along, but that rarely makes for a compelling read. Writing guru William Zinsser suggested starting the process by writing vivid scenes, the moments that have the most emotion – the most juice – and then slowly letting the memoir take shape in theme and structure. In this class, we will work on those beginning scenes, and over time, see where your memoir, fiction, or essay is going.→ READ MORE
SATURDAY, JULY 13th | For some writers, first drafts are the fun part. Anything is possible! After that, revision can feel overwhelming. But it can also be fun and rewarding, especially when broken down into manageable components.
Come to this one-day revision boot camp with your manuscript (two hard copies of either a fiction or creative nonfiction piece, 10 pages maximum) and you’ll go through a series of timed stations, examining and working on your pages from a wide angle and up close. Learn how to focus on one element at a time: dialogue, character emotions, setting, sensory details, plotting, time elements, a title brainstorm and more.→ READ MORE
SUNDAY, July 14 | Michel de Montaigne, one of the masters of the personal essay, wrote, “I have never seen a greater monster or miracle in the world than myself.” Personal essays are stories of transformation – a journey of revealing and exploring that monster within, and taming it into self-knowledge. A personal essay is full of specific details of an experience that reveal a universal truth. In this one-day class, we’ll look at some examples of great personal essays, talk about the structure of an essay, spark some ideas for your topics, and set you on course to write your own.→ READ MORE
THURSDAYS, JULY 18-25; AUGUST 1-29; Sept 5 |
Writing memoir draws upon all of us. We are the writer, the narrator, and the character living the events recounted. But which events, and how recounted? Many of us start with a specific period of time or relationship in mind; others memoirists travel over decades in pursuit of a thematic connection. The hardest part is deciding how to organize it all. Our stories rarely leap fully-formed to the page, however well we think we remember all the pieces.
This class will provide concrete help through exploration and practice of such craft elements as narrative distance, scene and summary, and the handling of time.→ READ MORE
SATURDAY, JULY 20 | Writing is wonderful when it flows, but how can we regularly tap into the flow state? In this class we will explore ways of accessing the unconscious for our writing. We will brainstorm, explore, play writing games, look at our dreams, and explore guided meditation for creativity. I will give you ten activities that you can use outside class to get inspired when the inspiration is not happening, and you will create 23 Ideas for Me — a book that we will brainstorm together with individualized prompts for your writing. This will be three hours (with a 10-minute break) of intense brainstorming, creating, idea-making, and writing that will leave you inspired to write NOW.→ READ MORE
SATURDAYS, JULY 20-27; AUGUST 3-17 | This class is designed as a follow-up to Work in Progress Workshop. It is limited to students who have taken the Work in Progress Workshop (or the equivalent) by the end of June 2019. Students will need to have 10-15 pages ready for workshop by the first class session. If you have not taken Work in Progress Workshop, please write to me to see if this class meets your needs before signing up.
This class focuses exclusively on the exchange and reading of your fiction or narrative nonfiction (including memoir).→ READ MORE
SATURDAY, AUGUST 24 | If you’ve longed to attend a writing residency, where quiet, food and uninterrupted time are provided, you can experience a taste of indulgent focus at the Grotto’s first weekend writing retreat. Bring that unfinished story, that new chapter, those poems to our writing nooks and crannies, and enjoy the time and space to write in community with others. You’ll be well fed, supported and inspired to make solid headway with whatever writing project you’re working on.
You’ll get tips from a seasoned writer and writing retreat facilitator on how to make the most of our time together.→ READ MORE