Writing Our Own Histories: A Spring/Summer Class

“First We Read, Then We Write”
–title of Robert D. Richardson’s study on Emerson’s creative life

“Something that you feel will find its own form”
–Jack Kerouac, U.S. novelist and poet

“You have to write your own history, nobody’s going to do it for you. “
—Allen Ginsberg, bard, activist, professor

This class invites you to experiment with several creative forms that I have found engaging, energizing, and intriguing. The practice of imitation can lead to fresh inspiration for embarking on new work or for reclaiming work we’ve been putting off.

During class sessions we will examine the structure of works by Alice Walker, Svetlana Alexievich, Eduardo Galeano, and Joe Brainard. We will cover each book in two sessions. We will do relevant writing practices in and outside of class, for example, getting in touch with our vast storehouse of memories (Brainard). Also, by the end of each session we will make plans for writing on our own in the week ahead. Possible areas for exploration are personal and collective memoir and autobiography. Participants will be encouraged to connect during the week, and share how the writing and reading processes inter-are. I will be happy to meet up, listen, and share when it is convenient for you.

Also, we all will seek to complete and circulate a project that’s been brewing inside us for a while or that emerges out of our being together. The project I am finishing is entitled Dear Love of Comrades, and it’s definitely something I have deeply felt for years. Who else is going to write about some of my fascinating friends, if not me?

We will meet weekly for a little more than two months at 7 p.m for 90 minutes on Tuesdays via Zoom. We begin Tuesday 19 May and continue through July 14.

Tuition is $125 and you can write a check to me or use Paypal.

Message or email me if you are interested:
Markjchmiel@gmail.com

Essential Books
Alice Walker, Taking the Arrow out of the Heart [2018 bi-lingual collection of poems]

Eduardo Galeano, The Book of Embraces [An interweaving of small personal and political vignettes]

Joe Brainard, I Remember [A quirky, fascinating autobiography of youth]

Svetlana Alexievich, In Search of the Free Individual: The History of the Russian-Soviet Soul [A short pamphlet by the 2015 Nobel Literature laureate]

 

Emily, Lindsey, and Katie, two of whom are taking this class.

 

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