3-Week Short Course
February 8– February 29
Fee: Members $59 Non-Members $69
One of the most daunting aspects of writing a memoir is finding and clarifying the thread of the story. You may have already used the tried-and-true technique of drawing a time-line of your life, listing turning points and other key events. Perhaps you’ve mined piles of journals and made long lists of memories. Stacks of vignette stories may wait to be woven into a larger tale. Or, you may be staring at a blank page and wondering where to start. Whatever your situation and stage of writing, this class will give you unique new tools for exploring your life from several perspectives. They will help you find your focus and sort relevant factors from distracting detail.
This interactive course includes a combination of creative exercises to help you view your life from fresh perspectives and writing assignments to help you deepen, refine, and anchor resulting discoveries and insights. These exercises are designed to rev up your right brain, transcending the logical left that can limit you to ruminative ruts. Plan to spend some time with crayons or markers. At the beginning of each week you’ll receive an email describing the week’s exercise and explaining the writing assignment. You will post your written work to a private Yahoo Group for everyone in the class to read.
A weekly hour-long conference call is scheduled for the end of each week to discuss your experience with the exercise and the written assignments. Calls will begin at 8 p.m. EST / 7 CST / 6 MST / 5 PST. Calls will use a free conference line, but normal long-distance charges apply. Although participation in the calls is expected, all calls will be recorded for those who must miss a session.
Week One: email Feb. 8, Call Feb. 15
Exploring layers of your life, discovering transition points, shifts of focus, and tracing ongoing themes.
Week Two: email Feb. 15. Call Feb. 22
Unraveling your threads. Even on those rare days that you do the same thing all day, other aspects of self lurk in the background. Some are dominant and ongoing, others are fleeting and fragile. Find the ones that matter.
Week Three: email Feb. 22, Call Feb. 29.
Finding Connections. String striking new combinations of memory beads on threads of story.
Sharon Lippincott is a life writing teacher and coach and the author The Heart and Craft of Lifestory Writing, The Albuquerque Years, Meetings: Do’s, Don’ts, and Donuts, and the popular Heart and Craft of Lifestory Writing blog and stories and essays in assorted publications. She serves on the Advisory Board of NAMW and teaches lifestory, memoir, and creative writing classes at Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh. She leads writing groups at Gilda’s Club and the Pittsburgh Psychoanalytic Center. She is currently collaborating with the Allegheny County Library Association to establish lifestory writing groups in all county libraries.
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