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CNF 71 W — Your Life, Your Lens: The Power of the Daily Memoir

Quarter: Fall
Course Format: Flex Online (About Formats)
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Sep 21—Dec 4
Drop Deadline: Sep 24
Units: 2
Grade Restriction: No letter grade
Tuition: $580
Instructor(s): Monique Wentzel
Limit: 40
Status: Registration opens Aug 17, 8:30 am (PT)
Please Note: No class the week of November 23. In addition, some of our refund deadlines have changed. See this course's drop deadline above and click here for the full policy.
Fall
Flex Online(About Formats)
Date(s)
Sep 21—Dec 4
10 weeks
Drop By
Sep 24
2 Units
Fees
$580
Grade Restriction
No letter grade
Instructor(s):
Monique Wentzel
Limit
40
Registration opens Aug 17, 8:30 am (PT)
Please Note: No class the week of November 23. In addition, some of our refund deadlines have changed. See this course's drop deadline above and click here for the full policy.
When poet and nonfiction writer Ross Gay turned forty-two, he made a commitment: every day he would write a brief piece on the topic of delight. For the most part, he kept this promise, and the result is his 2019 book The Book of Delights. In this course, we will follow Gay's lead and make a commitment to the practice of writing a daily micro memoir (around two hundred to five hundred words). During the first few days of the course, you will choose a theme or topic that will organize your memoir writing for the ten weeks, and from the second week on, you'll write daily short personal essays on this topic with the optional help of prompts and encouragements sent to your inbox. This is a process-focused course with no formal workshop. In addition to writing every day, you'll post one piece of writing weekly so that the rest of the class can read it and offer responses. You'll also read and comment on your classmates' weekly pieces. Along the way we'll read work by Ross Gay, Renee Gladman, Maggie Nelson, and others, gaining inspiration for our own writing and analyzing craft techniques that make these short pieces effective. By the end of the course, you'll have a collection of thematically related work, a new appreciation for the many possibilities of the memoir genre, and a robust daily writing habit.

Because of the high enrollment capacity, students will not receive instructor feedback on daily writing posts. Instead, students may receive light instructor feedback on one post per week.

Monique Wentzel, Former Stegner Fellow, Stanford

Monique Wentzel is the author of the short story collection The Woods Were Never Quiet. Her work has appeared in Boston Review, Cimarron Review, Zyzzyva, and elsewhere. She has been fiction editor of the literary journal BOAAT and is at work on a novel and a series of personal essays. She also teaches at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis and is a mentor for the Minnesota Prison Writing Workshop. Wentzel received an MFA from Portland State.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) Vivian Gornick, The Situation and the Story, 1st Edition (ISBN 978-0-374-52858-4)
(Required) Ross Gay, The Book of Delights, 1st Edition (ISBN 978-1-61620-792-2)
(Required) Editors: Judith Kitchen and Dinah Lenney, Brief Encounters (ISBN 9780393350999)
DOWNLOAD THE PRELIMINARY SYLLABUS » (subject to change)