Instructor: Shelley Johnson Carey
Maximum Enrollment: 8
Class Term: 05/17/2022 - 06/14/2022
SCN Member: $160
Class synopsisA song in the musical Hamilton asks the question: Who tells your story? The answer should be: You! In this generative class, we’ll use writing prompts that will help you bring memories bring to back to life, capturing experiences that made you the unique woman you are. By the class’s end, you will have taken a giant step toward starting your written legacy—for yourself, your family, your community, and for future historians who are interested in these times in which we live.
This class will be conducted in a workshop format, using the Zoom platform on Tuesdays from 7 - 9 pm Eastern. Each week we’ll write flash life essays (1,000 -1,500 words) that reflect upon the theme of the week, which include family, friendship, school, and work. In this positive and encouraging environment, participants will be assigned a short reading for an in-class discussion that highlights the week’s theme. Our first meeting will include introductions and guidance as to how the class will work. Three days after each class meeting, participants will post their life essays to an online site for their fellow class members to read. During the next class, participants will share positive feedback on what is strong in the piece and what stays with them.
To write a series of life essays for participants’ written legacies., To learn the fundamentals of flash memoir., To learn how to provide and receive useful positive feedback.
Class communication methodStudents will post work on an online site and participant in weekly two-hour Zoom meetings.
All five sessions will follow the same format: In keeping with the weekly theme, we will discuss assigned writings, get inspired by and respond to class members’ essays, and touch on topics related to craft.
The weekly themes will be:
Week 1. Introductions— In this opening session, we’ll become acquainted with one another and talk about what will make for solid pieces in your collection. Participants will have the chance to practice giving feedback by responding to an assigned flash life essay.
Week 2. We Are Family: Families come in many shapes and sizes, and many of our most meaningful memories happen in these groups. Whether writing about the family into which we’re born into or one we made for ourselves, this subject provides rich and insightful material for life essays.
Week 3. That’s What Friends Are For: Poet George Herbert wrote, “The best mirror is an old friend.” From our earliest friends to lifelong besties, contemplating these support systems will allow us to take deep dives into our memories.
Week 4. School Days: We spend so much time in school that it cannot help but shape us. Some teachers are memorable for making the learning environment welcoming, others not so much. But we all have school memories that will stay with us throughout life.
Week 5. Working 9 to 5: The work world—whether working with thousands or alone—is filled with challenges and successes that provide lasting life lessons. From a first babysitting job to the retirement party, these memories provide insights into who we are.
Class time commitment120-minute Zoom workshops, 30 minutes between class sessions to read related essays on the week’s topic, and enough writing time outside of class to create the participant’s flash life essay (1,000- 1,500 words) to share.
Shelley Johnson Carey is the author of numerous articles, short stories, and poems, and of the nonfiction book, Thin Mint Memories: Scouting for Empowerment through the Girl Scout Cookie Program. She recently retired from her nearly 40-year editorial career, where she worked on several award-winning magazines and journals. Most recently, she served as the editor of Peer Review, a higher education journal, where she worked with hundreds of authors to polish their writing. Shelley has an BA from Hampshire Colleges and an MFA in nonfiction writing from Goucher College. She has facilitated several writing workshops for teens and adults. She is currently revising a novel about a group of friends, which is based on her own lifetime friendships. www.shelleyjohnsoncarey.com