Week 1: Essentials of Life Writing
We will practice writing our everyday lives in ways that make us more aware of ourselves and open our senses to new ways of experiencing the world. Through de-familiarizing our perceptions, we alert our senses to see new details which we then use in writing.
Week 2: Memory and Writing
The philosopher John Locke argued that we are what we remember being, that our sense of self depends on how we remember ourselves. After considering personal memory, group memory, and the question of association, we will practice creating images of ourselves through writing fragments of our lives.
Week 3: Why Write?
The reasons why we write about our lives or those of others is fundamental to the form of life writing. We will read some of the motives given by life writers and discuss the reasons why they write and the reasons why we write.
Week 4: Finding a Narrative Form
Narrative forms are the organizing principles of writing. We will discuss and practice a range of forms such as writing in fragments, through lines, and in poetry, and consider strategies for developing them. We will discover the narrative form best for us.
Week 5: Characters and Voices
Different characters have difference voices, whether they are mythical, everyday, family, or cultural characters. We will explore these different voices and their spoken rhythms and tones to discover our own voices and the stories we inhabit. We will then try shaping a writing voice of our own.
Week 6: Versions of a Life, Versions of Self
The perceptions of life events change through time. Research and imagination can also alter our past perceptions. We will consider how to use fact and fiction to create different versions of self and practice writing the stories of our lived lives, unlived lives, and imaginary lives.