You want to write about an experience, an idea, or a person—or all three—but you’re not sure what that might look like. Welcome to the essay, perhaps the most elastic nonfiction form. There’s room for voices as diverse as David Sedaris, Roxane Gay, Meghan Daum, and Geoff Dyer, and subjects as wide-ranging as you can imagine, while the essay’s tone can encompass humor or high style. In this four week class for writers of all levels, you’ll read a variety of essays and learn about how to play with structure and voice in this classic form. Through exercises and prompts, you’ll work towards a first draft of your own. We’ll discuss your work and offer responses, although this class is not a workshop with formal written responses.
“Tell me the landscape in which you live and I will tell you who you are,” wrote Jose Ortega y Gasset. Whether we climb mountains or stroll through neighborhood parks, we ascribe meaning to the landscapes that surround us, and our personal and communal identities are shaped by the people, place, and history of the places we live. And sometimes we are left wordless and deeply moved in the landscapes that speak to us. In this daylong class at Buffalo Peaks Ranch, we’ll explore the meaning of landscape in our lives through writing, reading, guided meditation, and exploration of the ranch. Among the questions we’ll consider: How does where I live shape who I am? What about certain places causes a sense of wonder in me? How can I deepen my connection to the places I live and visit?
This class welcomes, journalers, meditators, outdoors people, and writers of fiction and nonfiction who wish to better understand the role of landscape in their work. Please bring something to write with. Readings will be emailed in advance of class.
Tentatively scheduled for August, 2019.
The “I” Of the Storm: The Nonfiction Narrator’s Role
Noted essayist and academic Phillip Lopate writes, “Nonfiction writing thrives on daring, darting, subjective flights of thought.” What, after all, is a story without the storyteller? A good narrator is a guide, friend, confessor, provocateur. The narrator shapes the story, sets the tone, decides the details, and most important, determines the meaning of a piece. In this half-day workshop, we’ll explore what it means to tell a nonfiction story. Our topics will include the narrator’s mind (and voice) as it relates to memoir, essay, and other nonfiction forms. Among the topics we’ll consider are narrative perspective and distance, the critical job of making meaning of one’s subject, and what I hope are fresh ways of envisioning the narrator’s role.
You’ll receive brief readings in advance of our workshop. Please bring print-outs or electronic copies of those readings, along with your favorite writing device, to our workshop. Our time together will include some lecture, discussion, writing, and sharing.
This seminar will offer tactics for generating and executing powerful subtext: the themes and ideas writers thread into their prose subtly and covertly so readers get the satisfaction of discovering them on their own. We’ll cover what good subtext does, explore why it is such a powerful tool, and consider how it might make our own prose more richly layered and evocative. Ideal for intermediate or advanced fiction, nonfiction, and hybrid prose writers.
Register at Lighthouse: https://www.lighthousewriters.org/workshop/generating-and-managing-subtext?session=1473
Come join me and Ashley Elsasser of Your Ashtanga Yoga for classes that combine yoga and writing. Classes offer an hour of gentle yoga, followed by tea and cookies, and then writing prompts and discussion. Come see how movement inspires creative thinking!
Donation based (pay what you like)
612 10th Street, Golden, CO
Please register by emailing me on my contact page!