3 Mondays, November 28 – December 12, 7-9:30pm
$145 members/$165 others   


Many of us want to write about the difficult events in our personal lives. And news of shootings, terrorism, and natural disasters in the civic realm also call out for our response. With so much painful material circulating in and around us, the task of writing about these situations might seem straightforward, yet doubts abound: Where are the words? Hasn’t everything already been said? Who wants to hear my story?

This class offers tools to help you write about pain with clarity and complexity. “It’s natural for writers to want to avoid dark material,” says Alice Templeton, “but giving shape to the darkness can yield our best and most satisfying writing.

“For me the challenge is to believe in the uniqueness of my story and in my sincere need to express it. Once I find a creative way into the writing—a phrase, a rhythm, an image—I start to trust my project, and it becomes possible for the story to unfold.

“Our task as writers is to work against abstraction by imaginatively embodying the subject for ourselves and our readers. When we do this work, suffering often gives way to transformation.”

The class provides writing exercises, along with literary examples, to help writers get past obstacles and practice embodied ways of expressing pain. We will look at excerpts by Claudia Rankine, Alice Sebold, Paul Celan, and others. Writers of all genres are welcome.

Alice Templeton’s poems have appeared in Poetry, Calyx, Asheville Poetry Review, and elsewhere, and her chapbook Archaeology won the 2008 New Women’s Voices Prize in Poetry from Finishing Line Press. Alice has been a resident at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Moulin a Nef (France), Blue Mountain Center, Vermont Studio Center, and the Millay Colony. She teaches creative writing and humanities at the Art Institute of California-San Francisco.

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