WSP 91 — How to Start Your Story: A Memoir Workshop
Course Format: On-campus
Duration: 1 day
Date(s): Feb 3
Time: 10:00 am—4:00 pm
Drop Deadline: Jan 27
Grade Restriction: NGR only; no credit/letter grade
Instructor(s): Monica Wesolowska
10:00 am—4:00 pm
NGR only; no credit/letter grade
Whether you have attempted to write memoir before or not, this course is designed to give you a fresh start. That’s a powerful opportunity considering how many ways there are to tell a story. In fact, brain researchers now tell us that memories aren’t stored intact but get “rewritten” each time we remember them. What does this mean for your story? Is it possible to include something you can’t quite remember? Can you write your own version of someone else’s story? We will start this workshop exploring how memory works and what this means for us as writers. We will work to dispel any critical voices that may prevent you from writing fully about your own life. From there, we will get practical, discussing the components necessary to draw a reader into a memoir such as setting, character, and theme. Moving on to the issue of voice, we will read a variety of excerpts from writers such as Vladimir Nabokov, Maxine Hong Kingston, Abigail Thomas, J.M. Coetzee, and Ta-Nehisi Coates. You will have an opportunity to share your own story and experiment with starting it from a fresh perspective. By the end of the day, you should have a fresh start for your own story and the inspiration to keep it going.
Monica Wesolowska, Author; EditorMonica Wesolowska is the author of the memoir Holding Silvan: A Brief Life, which was named a Best Book of 2013 by The Boston Globe. She has published essays and short stories in many venues including The New York Times and has a children’s picture book forthcoming. A former fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, she has taught at UC Berkeley Extension since 2002 and also runs an independent editing business.
Textbooks for this course:
There are no required textbooks; however, some fee-based online readings may be assigned.