Registration for online creative writing classes offered by Stanford University opens August 20. This fall, I’ll be teaching a 10-week course in creative nonfiction. It’s going to be an exciting workshop filled with discussions of dazzling essays by Cheryl Strayed, Richard Rodriguez, David Sedaris, John McFee, Danielle Cadena Deulen, and Eula Biss, among others, as well as fresh writing experiments geared to push your prose in new directions. You can download the syllabus at The Writer's Studio. In the meantime, here’s a preview:
CRAFTING THE PERSONAL ESSAY: A MATTER OF FACTS
“There’s nothing you cannot do with it,” says Annie Dillard of the essay, “no subject matter is forbidden, no structure is proscribed.” This course will explore personal essays and memoir, helping us translate life stories and experiences into lively prose. Over several weeks, we will consider scene construction, narrative persona, associative observation, metaphor, and the effect of structure on meaning. We’ll look to research to enrich the past, fill in lapses in memory, and learn to dramatize events without slipping into cliché. Work by established essayists will serve as models as we examine how to enliven our writing with detail and description. Our goal in this course is not only to enlist facts, but also to electrify them!