Writing from the Heart: Your Memoir
With Billy Chism
January 2 - February 6, 2018
Come ready to write about your life. In our 2.5 hour sessions (six in all), we will delve into memory and write about what our memories tell us. In a supportive and safe environment, as a group we will share stories and explore the creative process of writing from memory.
We are not looking to create the great American memoir, but as writer Natalie Goldberg reminds us: “We all have a dream of telling our stories…. writing is a path to meet ourselves and become intimate.”
All we need is a pen, paper (or laptop) and the human mind. We want to tell the truth and depict it in detail, but we may learn that sometimes our memory “invents the truth,” as author and writing teacher, the late William Zinsser states in his classic, Writing About Your Life: A Journey into the Past.
We will refer often to Zinsser’s book, and also to Goldberg’s classic, Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within.
In her preface to the 30th anniversary edition published in 2016, Goldberg writes: “What have I learned about writing over thirty years? Many people who want to write are unconsciously seeking peace, a coming together, an acknowledging of our happiness or an examination of what is broken, hoping to embrace and bring our suffering to wholeness.”
Yes, writing can have a therapeutic effect. But we will go beyond that to find meaning in our memories. When we do, we will practice ways to narrate these memories. We will learn to trust ourselves – what our heart tells us – and transfer these thoughts clearly to the page. We will find ways to make these stories interesting to a reader.
Over this six-week period, we are going to take this journey together. My goal is you will continue writing after our time together, and you will trust yourself and your thoughts every time you sit down to write.
Workshop dates are: January 2, January 9, January 16, January 23, January 30, and February 6 from 9:30 a.m. – 12 noon, with lunch after. The program cost of $198 includes all six sessions and lunch. Workshops cannot be signed up for individually.
This writing series is limited to 10 participants, so please sign up early to have your space guaranteed.
“Billy’s support and encouragement created the relaxed, supportive environment to get me writing. The subject matter – the memoir – got me thinking about significant people and events in my life. It also created a unity in the class as we shared simple moments in each others’ life experiences. A delightful workshop in many ways.” – Carolyn Bralley
“Three things make a top-notch teacher: 1. love for their students, 2. expertise in their field, and 3. ability to share such expertise. This may seem quite simple, but few folks possess all three. Billy has these in spades. His class enabled me to see a life-long goal as possible. I am now writing as opposed to talking about writing for the past 30 years. Blessed be.” – Elizabeth Wells
“I’m so grateful to you for opening this door. I don’t know when I’ll get the stories out, but your guidance has shown me that writing is inspiring, cathartic and fun.” – Denise Hartzell
“I would recommend this course to anyone. I wanted to give my children a gift by telling them more about my younger years. Billy helped me think about how to accomplish this. All I need now is the discipline to write my story.” – Alta Buckley
“If you have an interest in writing your memoir but don’t know how to start, this class is for you.” – Strother Randolph
“Writing from the Heart: Your Memoir was designed as a safe emotional environment in which to explore and organize thoughts about one’s life. Billy had a well-organized plan. He kept each class moving, with brief in-class writing exercises and discussion. Then he’d give us a homework assignment, clear and simple enough to allow each person to bring their own depth to the process of writing. After each session, we’d get together over a lovely lunch. Both writers and those who want to write can gain much from this course.” – Ivy Rutzky