Memoir and Creative Prose: The Obstacle Course
What we already do well isn’t the issue, of course. What challenges us, what infuriates us, what shushes us, what speeds past us, what tugs us away from our next sentence or our next page, is—oh yes–precisely where we need to re-engage. The obstacles to writing are many, from the externals of time and place to the internal obstacles of politeness, worries about craft, dislike of rejection, and above all the wily adaptability of self-censure. Our workshop will lay out a series of hurdles for us to take on together via direct, in-the-moment exercises and prompts. There will be plenty to do and discuss, and much to champion. The week is dedicated to finding new creative strategies to help each writer get over, around, through—so that when we return home to the page we are stronger and, happily, more resilient for it.
Note: This “please bring” list may be updated as the workshop nears. For now, plan on bringing eleven copies of two different short essays or excerpts of your prose, typed and double-spaced, each with a range of 500 to 1000 words, maximum. One selection should be something that pleases you in the full sum of its parts, and the other? Intriguing, yet still caught and unsettled. Please also bring to the workshop: paper, pens, and notebook, as we’ll be writing each day.
Marcie Hershman is the author of the novels Tales of the Master Race and Safe in America, and the memoir, Speak to Me: Grief, Love & What Endures. Her essays have appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Boston Globe, Washington Post, Poets & Writers, Ms., Tikkun, Women’s Review of Books, Ploughshares, Agni, & on NPR. Anthologies include: The Norton Anthology of Women’s Literature, Creative Nonfiction, Amazon Poetry, American Fiction. Among her awards are those from the Bunting Institute, Harvard University; the L.L. Winship/Boston Globe Foundation; Massachusetts Cultural Council; Corporation of Yaddo; the MacDowell Colony. She has held the Hurst chair in fiction at Brandeis and taught for many years at Tufts University. She currently leads a private writing group in Boston.