LIVE ON ZOOM | Sundays, 2-3:30 pm Eastern | Sep 24th – Nov 19th
The act of writing can be profoundly therapeutic.
Studies of expressive art therapy show many intersections between writing techniques that put the “creative” in creative nonfiction and techniques that can promote coping and healing, lower blood pressure and strengthen the immune system.
This class draws from Natalie Goldberg’s use of writing as a kind of Zen meditation, James Pennebaker’s studies of expressive art, and Louise DeSalvo’s examination of writing as a means of healing, among others. Through lessons, writing exercises, and workshops, we’ll examine how creating images and scenes and shaping our stories, transforming experience into art, can also transform us.
Each class session will include lessons and discussions, exercises, and workshop discussions of work by participants.
Every Sunday for 8 weeks, students will meet with the instructor at 2 pm Eastern time for a 90-minute session featuring:
Live sessions will be hosted via Zoom and writing will be submitted/uploaded to a Dropbox folder (link to be provided).
This workshop is ideal for writers who wish to explore the intersections between artistic practices and health. It provides a supportive and constructive atmosphere for those writing about trauma or those simply seeking techniques for artistically processing any experience. It’s for anyone who seeks to find meaning and beauty while always being honest about the tough stuff.
Closed captioning is available. ✔
Think you might miss a class? No worries, replays will be available. ✔
NANCY MCCABE is the author of two novels and five memoirs, most recently Can This Marriage Be Saved? A Memoir, a collection of connected hermit crab and more traditional essays. She has published in magazines and anthologies such as Prairie Schooner, Fourth Genre, Michigan Quarterly Review, Newsweek, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and Oh Baby: True Stories about Conception, Adoption, Surrogacy, Pregnancy, Labor, and Love. Her work has received a Pushcart and has been recognized eight times on Best American notable lists. She directs the writing program at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford and teaches in the low-residency programs of the Naslund-Mann Graduate School of Writing in Louisville, KY.
Nancy McCabe is a seasoned teacher with 38 years of experience teaching writers of all ages and backgrounds. She is often cited for her welcoming and encouraging classes and her genuine enthusiasm and dedication to the writers she mentors. Particularly interested in the intersections between self-expression and technical mastery, she has worked in a variety of genres, bringing to her teaching of memoir a journalist’s interest in truth, a poet’s sense of language, form, and intuitive connection, and a fiction writer’s focus on narrative structure and characterization.
WEEK ONE: INTRODUCTION
When many people think of therapeutic writing, they picture writing about traumas or unresolved issues. That can be an important dimension of writing as a healing art, but there are other therapeutic uses of writing, too. This week, we’ll look at some of the ways that writing can help us to de-stress and redirect our focus. We’ll also consider how writing about the struggles we have faced can help us to cope. We’ll start getting to know each other through exercises and breakout rooms, reflecting on our own experiences of healing through writing and ways of moving forward. Over the 8 weeks, we’ll continue to integrate these ideas into our processes. After this session, participants may turn in an essay-in-progress for class feedback.
WEEK TWO: THE INTERSECTIONS BETWEEN EXPRESSIVE ARTS AND ARTISTIC WRITING
This week, we’ll discuss the ideas of researchers like James Pennebaker and writers like Natalie Goldberg, Julia Cameron, Louise DeSalvo, and Diana Raab, and look at what studies have shown about the health benefits of writing. We’ll examine ways we can respond to others’ work that is not only supportive and nurturing but can ultimately make us better writers. We’ll reflect on our own experiences of healing through writing and ways of moving forward to continue integrating these ideas into our processes. Beginning this week, we’ll also devote time to workshopping submitted works-in-progress.
WEEK THREE: EXPLORING TECHNIQUES OF WRITING THAT PROMOTES HEALING
This week, we’ll delve more deeply into the mindsets, techniques, and processes that have proven to be most valuable for healing purposes, discuss approaches that inhibit us, look at some examples of essays that exemplify both healing and artistic techniques and apply these ideas to our exercises and workshop discussion.
WEEK FOUR: NARRATIVE STRUCTURE AND TRANSFORMATION
We’ll talk about narrative structure and how traditional and nontraditional ideas of narrative offer models for thinking about our own experiences and perspectives and our moments of revelation, transformation, understanding, and forgiveness.
WEEK FIVE: THE FRAGMENTED ESSAY, THE WHOLE SELF, PART 1
Lyric essays, particularly collages, braids, lists, and other forms that use fragmentation, offer useful ways to explore our experiences and can even shift our vision as we find connections between seemingly unrelated material. These forms may be ends in themselves, or they may give us techniques to integrate into other approaches. We’ll look at a variety of examples and explore techniques that can assist in developing your essay in progress, and discuss the stages of the writing process. After this week’s session, participants may turn in a second essay in progress for workshop discussion.
WEEK SIX: THE FRAGMENTED ESSAY, THE WHOLE SELF, PART 2
This week we’ll look at other forms that use fragmentation, such as hermit crab essays, and the ways that such forms can offer us containers for difficult experiences. We’ll experiment with these forms and continue to discuss participants’ work in light of these concepts.
WEEK SEVEN: THE VALUE OF REVISION TO AID IN HEALING AND DISCOVERY
How can the revision process help us to understand patterns and give us new perspectives both in our narratives and in our lives? We’ll talk about approaches to revision, and how deepening our ideas, further development of our scenes and image patterns, enlarging symbols, and heightening important moments can help us discover layers of meaning and lead to a greater sense of health and wholeness.
WEEK EIGHT: FINAL WORKSHOPS AND DISCUSSION
This week we’ll wrap up our workshop discussions of participants’ drafts, reflect on our work together, and discuss how we’ll move forward to continue integrating these ideas into our processes.
We understand that life can get in the way of your plans. We want you to be able to get the most out of your course, and our refund policy is designed to balance your need for flexibility with our deadlines and obligations to our teachers.
Before the first class, you may request a refund (less a $25 processing fee).
After class begins, you may request credit for the remaining value of the course (less a $25 processing fee).
Credit may be applied to other CRAFT TALKS offerings.
Questions? Please email Info@craft-talks.com