Body of Memory: Writing Innovative Nonfiction
January 30 - April 3, 2018
Tuesdays, 7:10 - 9:10 p.m.
Hugo House; Seattle, WA
Register here starting 12/5.
Intermediate. Each week we will explore themes such as mindfulness, the 5 senses, body parts, desire, memory, trauma, love, and death as we experiment with in-class generative prompts and exercises. We’ll also read and discuss lyric essays and memoir excerpts that utilize juxtaposition, braided structures, and risk-taking from authors such as Sherman Alexie, Roxanne Gay, Melissa Febos, Brenda Miller, and Lidia Yuknavitch. Students will receive feedback on their work from the instructor and optionally from the entire class during the final weeks.
CREATIVE Nonfiction II
February 4 - March 25, 2018
Sundays, 1-3 p.m.
Hugo House; Seattle, WA
Register here starting 12/5.
This class is for those looking to build upon craft learned in Creative Nonfiction I or those already familiar with the basics of the genre including points of view, scene, reflection, and form. Each week, we will delve deeper into the process of generating our own vital material from prompts, and examine a diverse range of voices and structures found in essays and memoir excerpts. In the final weeks, students will have the option to workshop their own nonfiction pieces.
Building a Writing Practice
September 28, 2017 - November 16, 2017
Thursdays, 10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Hugo House; Seattle, WA
Introductory/Intermediate. Do you love to write, but struggle to keep doing so? Do you want to commit to a regular writing practice within a supportive community? Together we will outline our intentions and check in weekly to hold ourselves accountable. During class, we will free-write from prompts (geared toward nonfiction, but adaptable to any genre), share, and discuss the process of sustaining a “writing life”—from solitary practice to publication goals to writing groups—drawing inspiration from Natalie Goldberg, Annie Dillard, and more. Come join us!
Creative Nonfiction I
October 1 - November 5, 2017
Sundays, 1:00 - 3:00 p.m.
Hugo House, Seattle, WA
Introductory. Do you have a true story that you wish to tell? A desire to explore your ideas, experiences, and emotions in writing? This class will introduce you to the process and craft of writing compelling creative nonfiction: from mining for memories and details through free-writing; to asking yourself what is this story truly about?; to examining your form and structure; to learning how to receive feedback and embrace the work of revision. Each week we will read and discuss a diverse range of creative nonfiction from authors such as Natalie Goldberg, Jesmyn Ward, Lidia Yuknavitch and Cheryl Strayed. Simultaneously, we will experiment with our own topics through writing prompts, and learn about essential craft elements such as: balancing scene and reflection; choosing a point of view; editing for strong, vivid language; and utilizing white space and form. Students will be encouraged to share from their free-writes; to turn in a short piece to the instructor for feedback; and some may also volunteer to workshop their piece with their peers.
Writing as a spiritual practice
July 11, 2017 - August 15, 2017
Connect to your heart and mind this summer by spending six weeks generating new writing and reading short works by authors such as such as Terry Tempest Williams, Joy Harjo, nayyirah waheed, William Stafford, Naomi Shihab Nye, Kerry Egan, and more. Each week we will free-write from prompts and have the option to share our writing, as we contemplate themes such as awareness, gratitude, ritual, grief, empathy, isolation, fear, longing, community, and giving. We will also look at the act of free-writing as a meditative practice that can enrich our daily lives and inform our long-term writing habits. This workshop is open to anyone interested in writing nonfiction-- poets, essayists, those who haven't written in a long time, or those looking for new avenues of exploration. It is also open to anyone regardless of your spiritual beliefs (or lack of beliefs).
Memoir as Collage
April 27 - June 29, 2017
Each week we will explore personal narratives that are told in a lyrical, fragmented, nonlinear fashion. We will also read excerpts from writers such as Pam Houston, Nick Flynn, and Claudia Rankine, examining how they weave together memories, themes, metaphors, genres, and points of view into a rich, complex whole. Utilizing plenty of in-class free-writes, discussion, and an opportunity to workshop/receive feedback on your work, we will aim to explore the theme(s) and structure(s) that exist within your own memoir-in-progress. If you have been looking for an opportunity to produce new writing, to see your memoir from new angles, and to connect to other writers in a supportive environment, this 10-week workshop is for you! All are welcome, though discussions are geared towards intermediate levels.
Home as Metaphor
Sunday, April 23rd, 2017; 1-4 p.m.
Where have you lived? What structures have sheltered you? How do you exist within the different spaces in your home? Together, we will free-write from a variety of prompts, share when desired, and co-inspire each other as we listen to our meditations on home. Prompts will be geared towards creative nonfiction, but may be adapted to other genres. Come prepared to generate a lot of new material in a respectful, inclusive, and energizing environment.
Writing About spaces In between
March 8 - April 12, 2017
Who are you? How do you identify? Where do you belong? Through in-class writing exercises, readings, and discussion, we will explore our personal identities and contradictions. Whether writing about race, gender, spirituality, privilege, politics, or other realms where we defy easy categorization, together we will examine parts of ourselves and our world that are nuanced and paradoxical. We’ll read and discuss essays by Roxane Gay, Jesmyn Ward, Rebecca Solnit, Eunice Tiptree, and more. Students may opt to submit to me and receive feedback on their own short personal essays.
Building a writing practice
October 14 - December 9, 2016
This 8-week workshop is akin to a support group/boot camp for writers who need a loving kick in the butt. Together, we will help hold each other accountable to our goals; free-write from prompts; read and discuss pieces about the process and practice of writing; and learn how to start writing groups, set submission goals, and otherwise build a writing life. We will ask: why do we write or want to write-- and how can we keep doing so, even in the midst of life's challenges? How can we stick with our writing practice for the long haul? Or simply: how can we start writing, right now? Together we will form a community that is open to all levels and all genres, although many of our prompts and discussions may be geared more towards writers of creative nonfiction. Readings will include authors such as Natalie Goldberg, Annie Dillard, Rebecca Solnit, David Bayles and Ted Orland.
Travel as pilgrimage
April 17 - June 12, 2016
In this workshop, we will explore our stories of personal questing, travel, and transformation. Each week, we will write and share from prompts that help us examine periods or places through which we’ve journeyed. We will also discuss the process and craft of writing creative nonfiction as we read writers such as Gloria Steinem, Pico Iyer, Patricia Hampl, and Jamaica Kincaid. Students will have the opportunity to workshop an essay in a supportive environment.
To see a complete list of workshops I've taught over the last ten years, please view my CV .
Please also visit my Community page for ongoing Heart Radical Writing Circles and events.
curated for your group or organization:
I am available to design and facilitate a writing workshop for your group's needs.
Workshops can range from 1 to 4 hours, or be spread out over multiple weeks.
Workshops are conducted in a safe, supportive, participatory environment, and will be designed with your group in mind.
- I will give a brief talk, share sample readings (time allowing), and otherwise encourage the group to free-write and share together from prompts. Sharing is always voluntary and confidential.
- You will learn how to keep your pen moving, turn off the internal editor, and trust in the process... anyone can write!
- I will offer your group a chance to process and debrief our experience together, along with ideas for how to continue the practice after our time together.
Groups that may benefit from my generative writing workshops might include:
non-profits looking for a staff team-building experience;
homeschooling groups seeking a creative writing workshop for youth;
senior centers interested in curating your community's memoirs;
- mothers seeking to write their birth or motherhood stories;
- book clubs, women's groups, friends, or family looking to take creative risks, have fun, and connect;
A sampling of offerings:
- Writing as a Meditative Practice
- Writing Compassion: Understanding Ourselves and Others
- Discovering your Story: Memoir Writing 101
- Dear You: Writing Letters to Connect, Heal, and Transform
- Writing Your Birth Story
- Writing Motherhood
If YOU have an idea for a workshop that you would like me to facilitate, please contact me at email@example.com and we can discuss the possibilities! My average workshop rate is $100/hour, with a sliding scale depending on your group's requests and size.