Summer 2018

PLUS245

Liquid Line: Writing Our Lives and Other Stories (55+)

You've got a lot of writing under your belt (or not) in journals, letters (what are those?), emails, blogs, texts or tweets, and you wonder what it amounts to. A record of a life experienced in an age fast disappearing? Something the children would want to read? Friends? Strangers? You wonder if the ordinary occurrences of a single life can be shaped into a narrative that's meaningful, at least to you.

This course offers you the chance to go on a journey inward that requires attention and soul-searching. It will help you mine your memory—a memory that also resides in your body's senses and your heart's emotional intelligence—for the liquid gold that lines a life, however hard or wonderful that lived experience may look on the surface.

Please note that enrollment in this course is reserved for adults 55+.

Currently not available for registration.

What will I learn?

Week 1:  Sounds True

Writing is a way of slowing down our thought processes, lining them up, testing their currency. To sound is to go to the depths—discover, uncover and recover. In this first class we will track how our ideas emerge through the sieve of imagery, word by word and how, once out there, they can be weighed and changed.

Week 2: A Question of Form—Do I have Style?

In this class we will use any of your occasional writing or memories of incidents and dream fragments (bring journal entries, shopping lists, notes left as reminders, poems, emails) to explore the tactics you use to express yourself in daily exchanges.

Week 3: Is It a Story Worth Telling?

The personal is political was the sixties rallying cry to raise individuals’ consciousness that their lives were significant and influential. In this class we will explore what is unique about the way you tell the story and how the familiar piques a reader’s interest.

Week 4: Mining our Memories

Mark Twain wrote in his Autobiography, I cannot remember any but the things that never happened. It is sad to go to pieces like this, but we all have to do it. As a gifted writer and performer, he knew disruption is where imagination can enter. Through a series of exercises, we will fill in the missing blanks authentically.

Week 5: Between the Lines

A writer cannot control a reader’s response but, through tuning lines and sentences fast or slow, lyrical or dissonant, we can test the accuracy of expression by resonance in another’s ear. In this class we will exercise our ‘listening’ skills and apply what we’ve heard to re-frame our texts.

Week 6: ‘Proofreading’ Out Loud

This last class is an opportunity to read a piece of your writing developed during the course to the group.

How will I learn?

  • Discussion
  • Papers (applicable only to certificate students)

How will I be evaluated?

For certificate students only:

Your instructor will evaluate you based on an essay, which you will complete at the end of the course. You will receive a grade of “satisfactory” or “unsatisfactory.”

Textbooks and learning materials

Reading material (if applicable) will be available in class. Some course materials may be available online.

If you're 55+, you may take this course as part of

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