Writing and Healing
Louise De Salvo compares writing to a fixer, the chemical in photography that stabilizes the image. She is one of many advocates for using writing to discover our strength, power, wisdom, energy, and creativity as a route to managing stressful events and finding healing from difficult experience.
In addition, studies have shown physiological effects from expressive writing such as reduced heart rates and blood pressure and strengthened immune system. This interactive workshop will explore some of the techniques—many of which intersect with practices for artistically strong work—for using writing as a means of transformation and healing. Available variations on this workshop include The Healing Power of the Artful Essay.
Finding and Shaping Your True Story
Many of us have important personal stories to tell, but how do we transform interesting anecdotes or fragmentary episodes into fully realized pieces of writing that will engage and move readers? Join instructor and memoirist Nancy McCabe in exploring techniques to find the story you’re really trying to tell.
Storytelling principles dating back to Aristotle still inform our creative nonfiction and fiction and can help us bring our experience to life and make it meaningful to readers. Through discussion, examples, writing exercises, and critique in a supportive setting, we’ll work on telling the truths of our lives using these storytelling principles as a framework.
Bringing Memoir Alive Using Techniques from Fiction
When telling stories from our lives, how can we honor the nonfiction contract with the reader to tell the truth as best we know it while also creating lively, engaging pieces? Through discussion, examples, and lots of writing exercises, you’ll learn to apply devices from fiction to create or enrich your own memoirs. You are welcome to bring 15 copies of 2-8 pages from a memoir piece in progress to discuss in class as time allows.
Playing with Story Structure
There are as many ways to tell stories as there are stories to tell. Some writers choose straightforward, traditional approaches, while others experiment with alternative structures inspired by recipes, liner notes, instruction manuals, and quizzes. We’ll look at examples of nonfiction and fiction that borrow from different forms and do exercises and experiments, trying a variety of approaches while discussing what makes a story’s structure effective. You are welcome to bring 14 copies of up to eight double-spaced pages of a story — fiction or nonfiction, experimental or traditional—to discuss in class as time allows.