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CNF 83 — Diaries into Memoir: Structuring and Shaping the Daily

Quarter: Winter
Day(s): Thursdays
Course Format: Live Online (About Formats)
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Jan 12—Mar 16
Time: 6:30—9:20 pm (PT)
Refund Deadline: Jan 14
Units: 3
Tuition: $710
Instructor(s): Robin Romm
Limit: 21
Class Recording Available: No
Status: Open
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Live Online(About Formats)
6:30—9:20 pm (PT)
Jan 12—Mar 16
10 weeks
Refund Date
Jan 14
3 Units
Robin Romm
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
It’s easy to think you’ll write at some point: when you figure out the right topic, when you have time, when you get inspired. But the real work—and joy—is learning to write now, finding inspiration in the daily. “I write entirely to find out what I'm thinking, what I'm looking at, what I see and what it means,” wrote Joan Didion, and in this course, we will do the same. A conversation with your doctor could serve as the impetus for an essay on honesty. The evening’s meal prep might provide a springboard to a meditation on waste. What could we learn to see in the ordinary if we allowed ourselves to be extraordinarily open and cultivated the necessary discipline to explore this material in words?

Each week, we’ll read writers such as Heidi Julavits, David Sedaris, and Samantha Irby, whose work grows out of noticing the everyday and recording it on paper. This reading will feed into writing prompts on topics such as character development, nonlinear routes through linear time, sensory imagery, and dialogue, with time for sharing in breakout groups. A final essay of 2,500 words will be workshopped during the last three weeks. Throughout, we will allow the act of writing to unlock an associative brilliance that the mind, left only to think, cannot.

Author; Faculty, Warren Wilson College MFA Program for Writers

Robin Romm is the editor of the essay collection Double Bind: Women on Ambition; author of the story collection The Mother Garden, a finalist for a PEN Center USA (now PEN America) fiction award; and author of the memoir The Mercy Papers, which was named a Notable Book of 2009 by The New York Times and a best book of the year by the San Francisco Chronicle and Entertainment Weekly. She contributes to The New York Times Book Review and has taught at several creative writing programs around the country.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) Sarah Manguso, Ongoingness: The End of a Diary (ISBN 978-1555977658)
(Required) Heidi Julavits, The Folded Clock: A Diary (ISBN 978-0804171441)