Writing Place, Writing the Self: Memoir Workshop with Tyler Mills (March to April)

    Tuesday, March 16, 2021 at 6:30 PM until Tuesday, April 13, 2021 at 8:30 PMEastern Daylight Time

    Instructor: Tyler Mills
    2 hour session on Tuesdays
    Five VIRTUAL workshop dates as follows:
    March 16 to April 13
    Workshop is limited to 15 registrants
    $470

    This remote writing workshop will invite you, through specific prompts, to write about places you lived, worked, and travelled. We all come from somewhere special, a place that we can see and smell and hear through memory. Our experience of place is often a story about ourselves—who we once were, who we are now, what pushed us and changed us. As Joan Didion writes in The White Album, “A place belongs forever to whoever claims it hardest, remembers it most obsessively, wrenches it from itself, shapes it, renders it, loves it so radically that [they] remake it in [their] own image.” Whether you are working on a memoir or essay collection—or even coming to the genre of nonfiction for the first time—this remote class will inspire you to write about yourself through place and in doing so, you will write about love, frustration, hope, loss, and what changed you or surprised you.

    Each week, you will submit a mini memoir (700-3,000 words) based on that week’s prompt that we will discuss in class, and you will receive feedback from me and from your peers in real time, via Zoom. Our conversations will be empathetic and dynamic and lead to approaches you can take in revising your work and in writing the next piece. By the end of this course, you will have a set of mini memoirs that you can develop and build into a larger project.

    • Week 1: Introductions, discussion of narrative detail, the unsettled self, and mood in essay excerpts by Joan Didion, Hilton Als, Mary Karr, Annie Dillard, and Camille Dungy

    • Week 2: Origins: Where I Come From, Change, and Conflict (prompt)

    • Week 3: Work: Weird, Unusual, and Quotidian (prompt)

    • Week 4: Travel: Where I’ve Gone, How I’ve Changed (prompt)

    • Week 5: Play: Fun, Wild, Extreme, or Private, i.e., What I’ve Learned through “Play” (prompt)

    Tyler Mills is a poet, essayist, and editor. She is the author of two books of poems, Hawk Parable (Akron Poetry Prize winner, University of Akron Press 2019) and Tongue Lyre (Crab Orchard Series in Poetry First Book Award winner, Southern Illinois University Press 2013), the chapbook The City Scattered (Snowbound Chapbook Award, Tupelo Press 2022), and co-author with Kendra DeColo of Low Budget Movie (Diode Editions Chapbook Prize, Diode Editions 2021), in addition to an in-progress essay manuscript, The Bomb Cloud, which investigates her grandfather’s possible involvement in the Nagasaki mission in conversation with the legacy of nuclear history in New Mexico, where she lived for four years. She taught at universities in Maryland, Chicago, and New Mexico and recently served as the Jim and Linda Burke Scholar for the Doel Reed Center for the Arts in Taos, sponsored by Oklahoma State University. Her poems have appeared in The Guardian, The New Yorker, The New Republic, The Believer, and Poetry, and her essays in AGNI, Bennington Review, Brevity, Copper Nickel, and The Rumpus. The recipient of residencies from Yaddo, Ragdale, and the Vermont Studio Center, and fellowships from Bread Loaf, Sewanee, and the Kenyon Review Writers Workshop, Tyler Mills teaches for the Writing Institute at Sarah Lawrence College, edits The Account, and lives in Brooklyn.

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    Note: Details about Zoom links and any other information relevant to the workshop will be emailed to you the week before workshops begin. If you have questions about the registration process, please call us at 914-323-6170 or email writinginstitute@sarahlawrence.edu.

    Refund Policy: No refunds are given on one-day intensives, advanced classes, and yearlong classes where space is limited. 100% refund before 1st class, 50% refund after 1st class, no refunds after 2nd class for all other workshops. ALL cancellations and requests for refunds must be received in writing. Please contact writinginstitute@sarahlawrence.edu with questions or to submit a refund request.