pamelabass21 Nine Weeks, 7-9:30 p.m. San Francisco
$335 members/$365 others (this class is not currently scheduled)

Have you ever noticed that your most neurotic traits make for funny stories? Have you found yourself laughing over past personal disasters? In this class you’ll explore ways to craft these tales into prose. “Director Mike Nichols once said, ‘The great thing about being an artist is that for most people a shitty day is just a shitty day, but for us it’s all material,'” notes instructor Pamela Bass. Class members will explore the writings of funny writers such as Anne Lamott, David Sedaris and Jazmin Darznik. You’ll also do in-class and take-home writing exercises, to be shared and discussed in a supportive way.

Each student will complete one story and numerous exercises. “We’ll talk about how to use exaggeration, metaphor, word choice, repetition and whatever else it takes,” says Pamela, “to make your readers laugh, roll on the floor, and maybe even think a little about something profound (or not). By the end of class, you’ll have a notebook full of handouts detailing techniques you can use to enhance the humor in all your writing. Last but not least, you will participate in a  “grand finale” public reading of your witty tales, held for an audience of your invited friends at a local bookstore.”

NOTE: This class is appropriate for writers of beginning to intermediate nonfiction – primarily humorous essays. It is not a joke-writing or comedy performance class, although some of what you learn can be applied to these other venues.

Pamela Alma Bass earned her MFA in creative writing at USF, and now maintains her sanity by transforming her life’s disasters into comedy. Her camping disaster story, 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 anthology Hot Flashes: sexy little stories & poems I & II and the upcoming Best Women’s Travel Writing 2009. She has won two Gold Solas awards from Traveler’s Tales and her work has also appeared in Twins Magazine. When she is not writing she spends time chasing her twin boys around which is often as disastrous as it is amusing. Find out more at




“Pamela is a wonderful teacher….”

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