Writing Mother and Child
A rare weekday class held at the new Hugo House on Thursday mornings this fall! Ten full weeks to gestate, generate, revise, and receive feedback on your nonfiction writing in a supportive community. We'll explore themes like: birth, time, identity, intimacy, fear, letting go, humor, frustration, challenges, sacrifices, wounds, joy, how we ourselves were parented, and much more.
We'll also read and discuss contemporary essays on motherhood each week that will inspire us to explore new topics, styles, and points of view. Students will have the chance to workshop their drafts, and explore places to submit for publication.
10/4/18 - 12/20/18 (no class 10/25 and 11/22)
10 Thursdays from 10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Creative Nonfiction I Online
Participate as little as much as you want, at your own pace from home! (sorry, the in-person session is full)
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, Naomi Shihab Nye, Jesmyn Ward, Ross Gay, 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.
November 6 - December 11, 2018
travel writing as pilgrimage
We will explore our stories of personal questing, migration, 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 authors such as Rebecca Solnit, Pico Iyer, Patricia Hampl, and Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah. Students may opt to exchange writing with their peers, and receive feedback from the instructor on a draft.
7/3/18 - 8/28/18; no class 7/24
creative nonfiction III
Together we will explore a wide range of essay and memoir forms, including Hermit Crab, research-based, braided, fragmented, and lyrical works. We will ask: what topics have you been avoiding, and how can experimentation help you access your most essential material? Each week, we will write and share from in-class prompts, as well as discuss craft and readings from authors such as Brenda Miller, Ocean Vuong, Kelly Sundberg, Khadijah Queen, and Lily K. Hoang. During the latter weeks, we will workshop drafts with our peers in a respectful environment. Ultimately, we will push ourselves to look both inward and outward; to revise and take risks with our work; and to hold ourselves accountable to our goals.
4/16/18 - 6/25/18 (no class on 5/28)
Renewal: Writing about change
Whether writing about seasons, bodies, relationships, beliefs, systems, or the world at large, together we will examine the theme of change from a kaleidoscope of angles. How have you changed? What is changing now? What change is yet to come? Prompts may explore themes of uncertainty, loss/growth, mindfulness, and more, and be inspired by questions, poems, photos, music, and brief meditations. Participants will be encouraged to write freely without censoring, and to share if desired, in a spirit of playful, non-judgmental exploration. Writers of all levels are welcome. Prompts will be framed as nonfiction, although writers of other genres may adapt them as you see fit.
5/6, 5/13, and 5/20
Body of Memory: Writing Innovative Nonfiction
January 30 - April 3, 2018
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
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
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
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
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.
Other past courses include:
- Mind in Motion: Reading and Writing Contemporary Essays
- Dear You: Letter Writing and Second Person
- Writing, Fear, and Self-Censorship
- Writing Transformation
- Writing Compassion
- Writing Motherhood and Writing Your Birth Story
- Discovering Your Story: Memoir Writing for Seniors
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:
- Building a Writing 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
- Writing about Place and Home
If YOU have an idea for a workshop that you would like me to facilitate, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can discuss the possibilities! My average workshop rate is $100/hour, with a sliding scale depending on your group's needs, budget, and size.