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Writing About Childhood Workshop

Melissa Grunow

ASHES, ASHES: Writing Personal Narratives About Childhood by Melissa Grunow

START DATE: This class is currently closed.

END DATE:

DURATION:  4 weeks

COURSE DESCRIPTION: This workshop will guide students to write narratives of childhood experiences and memories using different assigned readings and writing prompts as inspiration. Lessons and prompts will emphasize voice and memory excavation using different forms and techniques to write about your childhood in honest and engaging ways. Methods can be adapted for novice and advanced writers who want to strengthen their craft. Feedback will be provided by both instructor and peers.

I found it most helpful and the feedback from both Ms. Grunow and the rest of the class should help my writing. I am much more aware of some of my bad habits. I appreciate (the) help I got. ~ Christine B., “Mastering the Personal Essay”

I learned more about what a personal essay is and gained experience in critiquing. The instructor’s feedback was helpful and encouraging. ~ Jude W., “Mastering the Personal Essay”

The materials and sample essays were diverse and excellent. ~ Juliana L., “Mastering the Personal Essay”

I found the class to be well balanced between learning more about the form of personal essays and drafting new essays. Ms. Grunow was extremely helpful in giving both appreciation of aspects of my writing and offering suggestions for improvement. ~ Dafna S., “Writing Memoir and the Personal Essay”

Melissa Grunow did a great job of presenting material and organizing the class with lecture, readings, and writing assignments. She was easy to get in touch with and very responsive to questions and problems. I am new to online classes and this was a very positive experience for me. ~ Nancy T., “Writing Memoir and the Personal Essay”

Very well organized, excellent readings, prompt instructor responses, well thought out lessons. I would definitely take another class from this instructor. ~ Bridget S., “Writing Memoir and the Personal Essay”

WEEKS AT A GLANCE:

WEEK 1: Now and Then: Establishing Narrative Voice to Generate Insight

In an essay, there aren’t just two perspectives, but two narrators: the “now-narrator” and the “then-narrator.” The balance of the two narrative voices is essential to generating insight between the events that occurred and the perception of those events now. Negotiating these two narrative voices is essential in writing about childhood as an act of discovery and exploration of self.

Assignment: Read the lesson overview and example essays provided by the instructor. Choose one of the writing prompts and submit 500-1000 words to the instructor and the course group for peer feedback.

WEEK 2: Telling and Showing in Childhood Essays: Discovering Meaning through Exposition

In fiction writing, we’re urged to show rather than tell. However, essays are a more flexible genre in that they allow us to do both. This week, we will focus on scene recreation and meaning-making with a balance of showing and telling, vivid description and exposition.

Assignment: Read the lesson overview and example essays provided by the instructor. Choose one of the writing prompts and submit 500-1000 words to the instructor and the course group for peer feedback. Provide peer feedback on Week 1 assignments.

WEEK 3: Using Artifacts to Jog Memory and Generate Writing

One of the most common concerns writers express when writing about their childhood is fear of forgetting or inaccurately recalling details or events. This week, we will use childhood artifacts—pictures, places, objects—to generate material and make distinctions between fact and truth in memoir writing.

Assignment: Read the lesson overview and example essays provided by the instructor. Choose one of the writing prompts and submit 500-1000 words to the instructor and the course group for peer feedback. Provide peer feedback on Week 2 assignments.

WEEK 4: Writing the Hard Stuff

Many of us are compelled to write about our childhoods because of the challenges we faced and the adversities we overcame. Whether it be health, family, socioeconomics, or other barriers, childhood writing can often dig up narratives without happy endings. This week we will focus on how to write those stories that scare us and move past the fear with purpose and tenacity.

Assignment: Read the lesson overview and example essays provided by the instructor. Choose one of the writing prompts and submit 500-1000 words to the instructor and the course group for peer feedback. Provide peer feedback on Week 3 assignments.

Materials needed: An Internet connection, email, and access to Yahoo Groups. Microsoft Word (or the ability to convert files to .docx—if you don’t have Word, you can use Google Sheets and download as a .docx file); All reading materials, lessons, and handouts will be provided by the instructor.

ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR: Melissa Grunow is the author of I Don't Belong Here (forthcoming from New Meridian Arts Press in September 2018) and Realizing River City: A Memoir (Tumbleweed Books, 2016), which was selected as the overall Second Place Winner-Nonfiction in the Independent Author Network’s 2016 Book of the Year Awards, winner of the “Outstanding Memoir” category and finalist for the “First Book-Nonfiction” category, as well the recipient of the Silver Medal Award-Memoir from the Readers’ Favorites International Book Competition.

Melissa’s writing has appeared in Creative Nonfiction, River Teeth, The Nervous Breakdown, New Plains Review, and Blue Lyra Review, among many others. She is also a live storyteller who participated in the 2016 Metro Detroit Listen to Your Mother show, occasionally competes in The Moth StorySLAM, and participates in local storytelling salons.

Melissa holds a Bachelor of Science in English-creative writing and journalism from Central Michigan University, a Master of Arts in English from New Mexico State University, and a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing with distinction from National University. Visit her website at www.melissagrunow.com.

COST:  $125, which includes weekly assignments, individual feedback from the instructor, and access to a private group listserv for student interactions.

BUY NOW: Ashes, Ashes: Writing Personal Narratives About Childhood with Melissa Grunow (4 weeks, starting 8/5/2018) Limit: 10 students. Early registration is recommended.

This class is now closed. Please check here for our current schedule.

For Class Session Starting 8/5/2018

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Notes: Upon successful completion of payment, your name, email address, and contact info will be submitted to your instructor. Just before class begins, she will e-mail you with instructions on how to get started.

Questions? Email Marcia & Angela at:
classroom[at]wow-womenonwriting[dot]com

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