Pamela Bass is a teacher who challenges her students to combine depth with irony, meaning with wit. As Anne Lammott suggests, “Risk placing real emotion at the center of your work…Tell the truth as you understand it…it is a revolutionary act.”
For students who have already taken Pamela’s “Humor Writing: Transforming Life’s Disasters into Laughter” (or the equivalent) this class will build on your knowledge of how to write the humor essay. For fiction or memoir writers who don’t usually write essays but want to spice up their prose with humor, this class will give you much needed tools. Above all, it will help you set deadlines and meet goals.
Maybe you want to finish some incomplete writing exercises from a past class. Maybe you want to put together an essay collection or infuse a memoir chapter with hilarity. Maybe you need motivation to build a regular writing practice that doesn’t end when your class ends.
“For the artistically unemployed and for writers who need a kick in the you-know-what, to continue their humor writing (or to get that witty memoir written) this class will offer not just concrete deadlines but the tools to enrich your writing, and a community to support you in achieving your goals.”
You will be exposed to new humor essayists from whom you will draw inspiration and learn new techniques. Readings will include: Mark Twain, Margaret Cho and David Sedaris among others. You will read 1-2 essays each month as well as the work of your peers. At each monthly gathering student writing will be workshopped and discussed in a supportive and constructive environment. You’ll do some in-class exercises, and a great deal more at home. Each student will complete at least one essay and one revision. Each student will set their own goals and the class will support you in meeting them. Some students might work on refining one essay, while others may work on building a portfolio of rough drafts.
In between classes you will have email dates with writing partners and regular check-ins with Pamela. You will receive written feedback from Pamela and your peers. Class lectures and discussions will introduce or deepen your understanding of craft concepts.
“Not only will we review the use of exaggeration and metaphor along with other humor tools, we’ll examine what it takes to craft an impactful piece from start to finish! As always, we’ll conclude with a public reading of your witty tales, for a supportive audience of invited friends at a local café or bookstore.”
*If you have not taken Pamela’s Humor Writing I class but want to explore your funny side, please email firstname.lastname@example.org before registering for the class. She’ll help you decide if this class is appropriate for you.
Pamela Alma Bass, who earned her MFA in creative writing at USF, has maintained her sanity by transforming her life’s disasters into comedy. Her humorous essay, hailed by the SF Chronicle as “hilariously clear-eyed,” can be found in the anthology I Should Have Gone Home. Excerpts from her novel-in-progress can be found in the anthologies Best Women’s Travel Writing 2009 and Hot Flashes: sexy little stories & poems I & II. Her writing has won awards from Glimmer Train and Traveler’s Tales. She blogs for The Huffington Post about the absurdity of parenting twins. www.pamelaalmabass.com