Inspiration and guidance is revealed through the primary source materials of your life.

There are no available registration dates at this time.

NOTE: This class will be held in a live, online format using the Zoom platform
Class meets 10am-5pm ET (Full Schedule Below)

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, favorite sweater, journals, saved ticket stubs, a coffee mug, 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 to 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.

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 2016 memoir published by Chin Music Press, Meet Me at the Bamboo Table, showcased a combination of prose, illustration, and photography. Anita is interested in the interplay of culture, identity, and communication. She teaches courses on storytelling, creativity, and the relationship between personal narrative and leadership. Anita serves as the Associate Director for the Communication Leadership graduate program, helping to oversee both the Master of Communication in Digital Media and the Master of Communication in Communities and Networks. Her classrooms are designed to be collaborative spaces that provide substantial time for individual reflection and skill sharpening.