“Since brevity is the soul of wit,” join us for a day of reading and writing flash memoir. A close cousin to flash fiction—a complete story with distinctive characters, setting, tone, and twist—this genre zeroes in on brief-but-significant moments from our real lives and requires lean, precise language.
Crafted well, a flash memoir touches and transforms both writer and reader. Think “Readers Write” in The Sun magazine, the single most popular feature in every month’s issue. Typically, a flash memoir identifies a turning point and illustrates it without a single wasted word. Instructor Kathleen McClung says, “We flash memoirists are pickpockets: We get in and get out quickly. We take something valuable.”
Class participants will read and talk about a variety of published flash memoirs, mostly in the 500-word range, and will generate, share—and perhaps whittle down!—several pieces of their own over the course of the day. “We will also talk about journals and contests that welcome this genre,” says Kathleen. “Whatever kind of writing you do—from haiku poetry to intricately layered novels—a day experimenting with flash memoir will enhance your soul and your wit.”
Kathleen McClung is the author of two poetry collections, The Typists Play Monopoly and Almost the Rowboat. Her work appears widely in journals and anthologies including Southwest Review, Naugatuck River Review, Mezzo Cammin, The MacGuffin, Forgotten Women, Sanctuary, Fire and Rain: Ecopoetry of California, and elsewhere. Winner of the Rita Dove, Morton Marr, Shirley McClure, and Maria W. Faust national poetry prizes, she is a Pushcart and Best of the Net nominee. Associate director of the Soul-Making Keats literary competition, she has mentored hundreds of writers at Skyline College, The Writing Salon, and other colleges and has taught/advised student teachers in the credential program at Mills College. For ten years she has directed Women on Writing: WOW Voices Now on the Skyline campus. In 2018-2019 she is a writer-in-residence at Friends of the San Francisco Public Library.
- Saturday, October 12, 10:00am-4:00pm
I just want to say what a terrific teacher Kathleen McClung is. I am still writing — not quickly, not in vast quantities, but very happily — and I continually realize anew how much I learned from Kathleen. Her clarity and her explicit instruction about the elements of memoir have all been so helpful to me. I really feel like I have come away with a grasp of what good memoir writing needs to include. Not that I can do it all the time, and not that I don’t need a constant voice in my head reminding me of what I’ve been taught! But Kathleen provided the structure and the scaffolding for me to be able to build from there.
Kathleen is a pro. She always brings thoughtful prompts and insights and manages the class well. She is a great listener with deep experience and skill.