Instructor: Andrea Simon
Maximum Enrollment: 8
Class Term: 10/12/2020 - 11/23/2020
SCN Member: $192.00
Class synopsisHow many of you have written about your mother? How many of you want to write about your mother but are afraid of her reactions or those of family members? Now, you can write what you always wanted to, without self-censorship. This course explores the often-fraught, always provocative mother/daughter relationship in a safe and compassionate milieu.
We will use prompts, exercises, photographs, quotations, and readings to stimulate writing in a workshop format. Each week, students will have a different assignment. Writing will be shared with all participants who are also encouraged to submit critiques of others. I will edit and critique each assignment via Word’s Track Changes.
1) To identify outstanding anecdotes and events that stand out in your memory involving your mother.
2) To offer emotional support to write about complicated familial relationships.
3) To help find appropriate genres for the expression of specific mother/daughter stories.
Class communication methodStudents will participate in a weekly Zoom meeting where we will discuss current work. Each student will be allotted a limited time to use at will, either to read work, ask questions, or express writing concerns. Each week, on a Sunday evening, I will e-mail the next assignment, which will include a choice of prompts or exercises. Students will be encouraged to post their writing and/critiques via e-mail in a Word attachment.
Unit 1: Our Mother, Ourselves. How we are shaped by our mother’s experiences and goals. How we both fear that we are like our mothers and want to resemble them.
Unit 2: Explore Your Relationship to Your Mom. Are you a best friend, an antagonist, or both?
Unit 3: Compassion and Tenderness. Anger and resentment show on the page. Aim for fully realized portrayal.
Unit 4: Respect Your Family’s Boundaries. Difference between fiction and nonfiction. Using judgment; beware of legalities.
Unit 5: Surprises and Discoveries. Allow prejudices to dissolve and learn history. Read old letters, photos.
Unit 6: Immortality. When your mother dies. Lessons learned. Forgiveness.
Class time commitmentNinety-minute weekly Zoom meetings. Time required for writing two-page pieces, plus reading and critiquing other students’ work.
My mother, like her mother before her, was often outrageous and provocative. I spent a great deal of my youth either being embarrassed by her frank, outspoken behavior or proud of her intelligence and beauty. As a writer, my mother was always my best subject. I have written about my mother in both nonfictional and fictional genres, including my published memoir/history, Bashert: A Granddaughter’s Holocaust Quest, republished in paperback, and my recent novel-in-stories, Floating in the Neversink. I have an MFA in Creative Writing from the City College of New York. To read more about my credentials and work, see my website: www.andreasimon.net