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“Traveling and discovering new places isn’t easy right now,” says instructor Erin Van Rheenen, who identifies as a recovering travel writer. “But it’s the perfect time to turn our attention to places closer at hand—our homes, our streets, and our neighborhoods, where we experience the world viscerally, translating those impressions into words, images, and ideas.”

In this online course, Erin invites students to start where they are, grounding the personal essays they’ll write with concrete details of where we find ourselves at this moment in time. Erin says, “We’ll work with writing prompts, craft exercises, and between-class assignments. We’ll look at how other writers evoke place, environment, and climate, in all the many connotations of those words. And we’ll create a writing community that is energized, supportive, and open to risk-taking.”

Erin wants students to come away from this class with at least two complete new essays between 800 and 1500 words long. “I hope students will dive into themes and stories that haunt them, keep them up at night," Erin says. "The most vital and intimate essays often explore universal themes through a very specific and personal lens.”

Writers of all levels and backgrounds are welcome.


About The Writing Salon's Remote Classes

Due to concerns about the spread of COVID-19, The Writing Salon is running all classes in a remote learning format. You will be able to participate in live class meetings via Zoom videoconference. To attend classes, you'll need a phone, tablet or computer and access to the internet. You can participate in the class from wherever you'd like, whether on your living room couch or in your office. Before your class meets, you'll receive an email from The Writing Salon with more information about Zoom and your remote class. If you have any questions about remote learning, please don't hesitate to reach out to us at hello@writingsalons.com.



    Erin Van Rheenen has written about the power of place for Atlas Obscura, the Los Angeles Times, Southwest, The Sun, and NPR. For more than two decades she has also taught students at every level, in colleges, high schools, libraries, and at the San Francisco Women’s Jail. She earned an MA in Creative Writing and American Literature from City University of New York. Erin has spent many years living abroad, and is the author of the best-selling guide, Living Abroad in Costa Rica, now in its fifth edition. She now lives in San Francisco.

  1. Live Zoom Meeting: Wednesday, January 13, 6:30pm-9:00pm
  2. Live Zoom Meeting: Wednesday, January 20, 6:30pm-9:00pm
  3. Live Zoom Meeting: Wednesday, January 27, 6:30pm-9:00pm
  4. Live Zoom Meeting: Wednesday, February 03, 6:30pm-9:00pm
  5. Live Zoom Meeting: Wednesday, February 10, 6:30pm-9:00pm
  • What really stood out about Erin's teaching style was the way she gave herself to us students. The word generous comes to mind at first. Then nurturing. Erin provided some much needed direction while still being supportive and encouraging. The resources she emailed throughout the week kept the creative juices flowing. I felt like for the five weeks of the class, she was like the North Star. It was really tough to say goodbye to this group!

    Rebecca D.


Thu, January 14 @ 2:30 am PST
Thu, February 11 @ 5:00 am PST
Event Category:


Online (Synchronous)
Live Remote Meetings, ZOOM
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Registration Deadline

Registration closes 24 hours before the start time for a class.

Cancellation Policy

10 days or more before the start date for a class, the registrant will receive a credit minus a 10% fee OR a refund minus a 20% fee.

3-9 days before the start date for a class, the registrant will receive a credit minus a 20% fee OR a refund minus a 30% fee.

2 days or less before the start date for a class, the registrant will not receive a credit or a refund.

The Writing Salon cannot offer refunds, credits, or makeup sessions for classes a student might miss.

In the event of an emergency, we may consider a refund or credit, whether partial or full. We review these requests on a case-by-case basis, and we ask that you notify us as near as possible to the start date for the class.

Contact Us

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