DIVING INTO THE WRECK: AN 8-week personal NONFICTION WRITING workshop

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My Fall 2017 workshop went so well, I decided to do it again.

"I learned how to open up my writing, to choose meaning over beauty, to allow myself to be seen." —Erika Anderson
"This workshop was an incredible safe space which allowed for major vulnerability." —Morgan Cousins
"As a result of this workshop I learned that I enjoy my own writing voice. I learned this on day one during a fifteen-minute free write, and that knowledge gave me confidence to attempt many subsequent pieces. I also learned to give myself permission to just say it, and then go back and edit, versus editing all the good stuff away and never completing." —Ananda Ambrose
Victory, union, faith, identity, time,
The indissoluble compacts, riches, mystery,
Eternal progress, the kosmos, and the modern reports.
This then is life,
Here is what has come to the surface after so many throes and convulsions.
— STARTING FROM PAUMANOK by Walt Whitman
All art is a kind of confession, more or less oblique. All artists, if they are to survive, are forced, at last, to tell the whole story; to vomit the anguish up.
— James Baldwin
 

ABOUT THE WORKSHOP

This nonfiction writing workshop will endeavor to bring your life's “indissoluble compacts, riches, [and] mystery” to the surface; it will guide you in making your confessions and vomiting the anguish up. But it will not be therapy. Fine literary nonfiction is art-making—and to endeavor upon it, each of this fall's workshop meetings will focus on different and varying ways to mine your story's voice. It is, after all, the unique, overseeing narrative voice that must manage one's multitudes of identities, times, unions, and modern reports, which together comprise the story that only you are meant to write.

In personal nonfiction writing (essays and memoir), this voice must also provide connective glue or thematic context. In fact, there's a lot of work that voice must do, and we'll explore the issues of persona that arise from it. Who's the character in the story and who's the narrator telling it? You will learn the space that must be cleaved between these roles and the literary riches that are to be found there. By diving into the wreck, using experiments with voice and persona, writers will learn to distance themselves from their stories, thus enabling themselves to write with purpose and power.

As Vivian Gornick writes in The Situation and the Story: The Art of Personal Narrative: “Man is free only when he is doing what the deepest self likes, and knowing what the deepest self likes, ah! that takes some diving.”


ThE 8-week workshop will include:

  • short in-group writing exercises each week
  • weekly in-group readings of short published works
  • weekly writing workshops of participants' works in progress
  • one, 45-minute one-on-one session with the instructor (to be scheduled individually)

MONDAYS, 6:30–8:30PM

 February 5, 12, 20*, 26; March 5, 19, 26; april 2

*(DUE TO PRESIDENTS' DAY, WE WILL NOT MEET ON FEBRUARY 19; WE WILL MEET ON TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 20 instead.)

(THERE WILL BE NO MEETING MarCH 12)

MEETINGS WILL TAKE PLACE IN The instructor's apartment in North Williamsburg, Brooklyn (L to Bedford, G to Nassau)

$600

This class will be capped at eight participants, so sign up today by emailing Sarah at dohrmannsarah@gmail.com.

ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR

Sarah Dohrmann is a Brooklyn-based writer of literary nonfiction, fiction, and poetry, and has been a writing educator in New York City for more than 16 years. She's taught writing for The Writing Institute at Sarah Lawrence College, for Gotham Writers' Workshop, and for Teachers & Writers Collaborative. She currently teaches writing at New York University.

Her literary nonfiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Harper's Magazine, Tin House, The Iowa Review, Lumina Journal, and OZY, among others. She has received grants, scholarships, and awards from Fulbright (Morocco), Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, New York Foundation for the Arts, Jerome Foundation, Aspen Writers’ Foundation, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, and the Lange-Taylor Prize from the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University.

Sarah also works as a freelance journalist and as a writing, editorial, and communications consultant. She is currently at work on a memoir in essays called POINT OF DEPARTURE.


WANT TO SIGN UP? still GOT QUESTIONS? need a friendly nudge?

Email Sarah at dohrmannsarah@gmail.com.

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