Guided by award-winning author Stephanie Elizondo Griest, narrate a wide range of experiences a body can undergo in a lifetime, from the pleasure derived from food and sexuality to the pain from cancer.

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In this course, we will narrate a wide range of experiences a body can undergo in a lifetime.

We will start with an exploration of notions of pleasure derived from food, nature, sexuality, and other earthly substances and manifestations. From there, we’ll investigate notions of pain by dipping into body dysmorphia, critical illness, cancer, and other aches.

The class will conclude with writerly ways of transcending the physical realm, such as meditation, prayer, and the arts, as well as with an examination of the life cycles of birth and death. Along the way, we will incorporate interviewing techniques, archival research, ekphrasis, and other ways of bearing witness into our own writing practice. Together as a community, we will write as both an act of empathy for all bodies and as a personal pledge of wellness.

Instructor Stephanie Elizondo Griest has written five award-winning books and has also written for the New York Times, Washington Post, BBC, Travel + Leisure, and Oxford American.

Header image by Dave Bell.

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Instructor: Stephanie Elizondo Griest

Stephanie Elizondo Griest is a globetrotting author from the Texas/Mexico borderlands. Her five award-winning books include the travel memoirs: All the Agents and SaintsMexican EnoughAround the Bloc: My Life in Moscow, Beijing, and Havana; and the best-selling guidebook 100 Places Every Woman Should Go. She has also written for the New York Times, Washington Post, VQR, Believer, and Oxford American. Distinctions include a Henry Luce Scholarship to China, a Margolis Award for Social Justice Reporting, a Hodder Fellowship at Princeton, and a Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Gold Prize. Currently the Associate Professor of Creative Nonfiction at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, she has performed on five continents in capacities ranging from a Moth storyteller to a literary ambassador for the U.S. State Department.