Guided by Anita Verna Crofts, uncover the essence of compelling personal narratives by drawing from the materials of your life, empowering you to create captivating memoirs.

Nov 16, 2024 - Nov 17, 2024

Levels: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced,
Workshop Fee: $495
Workshop Duration: 14 hours over 2 sessions (Saturday & Sunday, 10am-5pm ET)
Workshop Location: Online
Class Size: 8

Note: This workshop will be held in a live, online format utilizing the Zoom platform.
Class meets Saturday & Sunday, Nov 16 & 17, from 10am-5pm ET.

Translating lived experiences to the page is much more than simply transcribing memories. Writing first-person essays or a memoir asks an author to become a keen and careful observer. The primary source materials of a life– sketchbooks, recipes, a wooden spoon, a favorite sweater, journals, saved ticket stubs, a coffee mug, and other ephemera– all contribute clues and inspiration for crafting prose. These personal artifacts can act as a welcome catalyst for considering the story of oneself.

Each student will select an object or objects to use as writing prompts during the weekend workshop, as exercises will revolve around these chosen items. Substantial parts of the weekend are reserved for writing, as nothing takes the place of sustained time and focus to transform thoughts into written words. Peer and instructor feedback is also a central component of the course, as work improves immeasurably with the help of the collective. We will be a small and intimate group.

Girl flying a kite

For our online format, we will gather both mornings at 10:00am ET in our Zoom classroom, and there will be morning programming, followed by independent writing segments for two hours leading up to lunch hour at 12:30pm (both writing and lunch are offline). We’ll then return to our Zoom classroom for sharing and peer feedback at 1:00pm, followed by another shorter round of offline writing that builds off the feedback, and closing back in our Zoom classroom with a few examples of personal essays that build off personal objects. Both days will finish by 5:00pm.

Peppered throughout the weekend will be moderated discussions on the relationship between humans and everyday objects, from the Japanese concept of tsukumogami (household objects with souls) to new work by author Glenn Adamson titled, Fewer, Better Things: The Hidden Wisdom of Objects.

Students at all stages of the writing process are encouraged to attend. The course can benefit everyone from those with publication ambitions, to those interested in committing stories down in writing for posterity, or those fascinated by our connection to inanimate objects, and all in between.

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Instructor: Anita Verna Crofts

Anita Verna Crofts is on faculty at the Department of Communication at the University of Washington. Her memoir published by Chin Music Press, Meet Me at the Bamboo Table, showcased a combination of prose, illustration, and photography. Anita teaches about the interplay of culture, identity, and communication and is the 2023-24 Artist in Residence for the Communication Leadership graduate program, where she offers courses on long-form writing, as well as listening for user design. Her classrooms are collaborative spaces that provide substantial time for individual reflection and skill sharpening. Anita’s writings on food and identity have been published in Gastronomica, Saveur, Seattle Met, and Comestible, with a particular emphasis on the preservation of foodways in post-conflict societies as a means of preserving community identity. Her work appears in the four-volume set, Food Cultures of the World Encyclopedia. Anita is a German Marshall Memorial Fellow, Thomas J. Watson Research Fellow, and serves as a judge for the James Beard Foundation book awards.