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"I still have that navy blue hardback journal that my mom gave me for Christmas when I was ten,” says instructor Ben Jackson. “After writing my first few entries, I was hooked. Years later, when I started writing a long sequence poem about my twin brother, I mined through journal entries all the way back to early adolescence in order to understand the recurring themes in our relationship.
“For the first four weeks of this class we’ll complete daily journal entries as well as in-class writing exercises. Both of these activities will help you begin to generate new ideas for your writing, in any genre. You can also start to investigate the recurring themes that will almost certainly begin to appear in your journal with surprising regularity. Then we’ll devote the last week to brainstorming creative pieces that could possibly grow out of the journal entries.
“During class we’ll talk about the importance of personal reflection and present moment attention in order to keep your entries rich and lively. I’ll also invite you to explore how journal writing impacts your other writing pursuits. In some instances, I may encourage you to tailor your entries to get to the heart of your memoir, poetry, or fiction writing. Before we think about writing any creative pieces from our journal entries, we’ll read and discuss poems, personal essays, and journal entries in which other writers, such as Virginia Woolf, John Steinbeck, and Elizabeth Bishop, explore their own personal lives.”
Ben Jackson has been the director of The Writing Salon since March 2016. He has taught at a wide range of colleges, schools, and retreat centers, including the University of San Francisco and the Esalen Institute. His writing has appeared in New England Review, Southern Review, Hudson Review, FIELD, Poetry Daily, Prairie Schooner, and elsewhere. A graduate of the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers, he has won awards and fellowships from the Tor House Foundation, Warren Wilson College, Vermont Studio Center, Brush Creek Foundation for the Arts, and Jentel Artist Residency Program.
- Thursday, November 1, 7:00pm-9:30pm
- Thursday, November 8, 7:00pm-9:30pm
- Thursday, November 15, 7:00pm-9:30pm
- Thursday, November 29, 7:00pm-9:30pm
- Thursday, December 6, 7:00pm-9:30pm
I enjoyed the class immensely. The exercises in class and the assignments enabled me to push my journaling in new directions and to see how it could connect to creating something like poetry.
Ben's journaling class more than met my expectations in that I have made journaling a new habit. I enjoyed the in-class writing assignments and sharing them with a partner.
As someone new to writing, I found Ben's journaling class to be the perfect introduction to help me access my creative self. The class was well paced, with useful in-class discussions and writing exercises. Ben took a genuine interest in each of us and was skilled at helping newbies like myself and the more seasoned writers in the class.