Intro to the Personal Essay - 4 weeks (with Carolyn Zaikowski) - ONLINE
Ready to put yourself on paper? Whether you’re just getting started or you’d like to get re-started, this course is for you. Here, we’ll get curious about key concepts in the art of the personal essay, including narrative, writing both scenes and reflections/ideas, and basic revision concepts, while studying examples from essayists like Audre Lorde, James Baldwin, Sy Montgomery, and Berry Grass. We’ll put what we learn into practice using prompts and generation exercises for inspiration, and in the second half of the course, each student will have the chance to workshop one draft with the whole class. By the end of the course, you’ll have generated at least two short essay drafts to take with you, and the tools to continue honing your craft. Feedback will be given in the spirit of encouragement, positivity, and helping the writer hone their voice and vision. This course will involve approximately 1-3 hours of at-home writing and reading per week. Limited to 10 writers.
WHEN: 4 Weeks: Mondays, March 6 - 27 ( 6 - 8pm EST)
WHERE: Online, via Zoom video conference
ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR
CAROLYN ZAIKOWSKI is the author of the hybrid novel In a Dream, I Dance by Myself, and I Collapse (Civil Coping Mechanisms, 2016). Her fiction, poetry, and essays have appeared in The Washington Post, Everyday Feminism, DIAGRAM, West Branch, Dusie, Huffington Post, Denver Quarterly, and elsewhere. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Naropa University and currently works in Western Massachusetts as an English professor and death doula.
- To apply generation and writing methods toward the goal of creating two short essay drafts
- To foster an attitude open-hearted exploration as we study and apply craft methods, with curiosity and gentleness toward one’s own and other’s writing process
- To receive and give feedback in the spirit of encouragement and positivity
- To study basic elements of the personal essay form and build a kit of craft tools to take beyond the course
Most weeks will involve various prompts and generation exercises to do in class and at home, plus short at-home readings for craft study and group discussion so we can learn from the masters. In the first weeks, we’ll do some informal sharing in small groups and large groups, depending on the size of the class. In the last two weeks, each student will get a chance to workshop a short draft with the whole class.
We’ll do an overview of the personal essay form, plus explore scene-building, “showing”, and nonfiction storytelling.
We’ll explore summary, exposition, and the art of “telling” the reader about your ideas and reflections.
We’ll review interesting concepts like voice and point of view, and we’ll start our workshopping.
We’ll continue our workshopping and check out some basic revision concepts for moving forward beyond the class.
RECEIVING THE ZOOM LINK: For one-day workshops, we send out the link to attend the Zoom session 1 - 2 days before the event, via email. For multi-week workshops, you should receive info and the link about 3 - 5 days before. Please mark your calendars when you first register and look for our emails. If you don't see the email in your inbox on the day before the class, please check your spam and junk mail folders (and search all folders) for an email from firstname.lastname@example.org before contacting us. We have found that very often our emails end up in those folders. This is based on your own email settings, and you can prevent this by adding our email as a contact.
ONLINE SESSIONS happen remotely, via Zoom video conference. All you need is a laptop, computer, or phone with functioning audio and a webcam. Those who RSVP receive directions and a link to "join" the session via email (please see above note about receiving the Zoom link). All online instructors will log on to the video conference a few minutes before the start of the session, so please plan to log on early if you'd like assistance! We'll do everything in our power to help you get comfortable with the Zoom format, though we are not able to offer technical assistance beyond basic Zoom orientation.
REFUND & CREDIT POLICIES AT PVWW
Because of non-refundable fees that we, PVWW, must pay for every transaction that happens, we are not able to give full refunds to those who register then withdraw from a workshop or class. If you withdraw from a workshop ten days or more before the start of the class: You'll receive full credit toward another workshop or class of equal value OR a refund minus 10%. If you withdraw from a workshop nine days before the start of the class up until 48 hours before: You'll receive full credit toward another class OR a refund minus 30%. If you withdraw from a workshop less than 48 hours before the start of a class or after the class has begun: We are not able to offer you credit toward another class or a partial refund, unless in the case of a medical emergency. If we have to cancel a class for any reason, you will receive a full refund, or if you choose, a credit in the amount of your payment, to be used for any future PVWW class. Anyone who does not specify whether they would like a refund or a credit for a cancelled class within 3 months will automatically be refunded. Please contact Joy (email@example.com) for all matters concerning credit and refunds.