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CNF 88 — From Catharsis to Craft: A Memoir Workshop

Quarter: Fall
Day(s): Tuesdays
Course Format: Live Online (About Formats)
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Sep 21—Nov 30
Time: 6:30—9:20 pm (PT)
Refund Deadline: Sep 23
Units: 3
Tuition: $675
Instructor(s): Monica Wesolowska
Limit: 21
Class Recording Available: No
Status: Closed
Please Note: No class on November 23
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Live Online(About Formats)
6:30—9:20 pm (PT)
Sep 21—Nov 30
10 weeks
Refund Date
Sep 23
3 Units
Monica Wesolowska
Please Note: No class on November 23
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Is writing memoir cathartic? It can be. After all, to take a reader on an emotional journey, a memoirist must go on that journey first. Just getting one’s feelings onto paper can be a relief. However, in order to write something that affects other people profoundly, a memoirist must eventually move beyond emotion to craft. Craft enables a memoirist to take a deeper dive and use narrative to return to the surface with the truth. This course will give you the tools to take that journey. Each week, you’ll practice a new craft element including plot, pacing, point of view, and the creation of characters based on the complicated people in your life. Using examples from a wide variety of writers such as Trevor Noah, Lidia Yuknavitch, Maxine Hong Kingston, and Sarah M. Broom, you’ll learn to approach tough topics using humor, imagination, and empathy. After achieving the aesthetic distance to tell your tale well, you will receive feedback on your own well-crafted piece of memoir in a supportive, rigorous workshop.

Author; Editor

Monica Wesolowska is the author of the memoir Holding Silvan: A Brief Life, which was named a Best Book of 2013 by The Boston Globe and Library Journal. Her essays and short stories have been published in a wide variety of venues, including The New York Times, and she has written two children’s picture books, Leo Plus Lea and Elbert in the Air (forthcoming in 2022). For almost two decades, she has taught creative writing and worked with clients as an independent editor.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) Joshua Mohr, Model Citizen (ISBN 978-0374211721)