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This class will take place via video-conferencing (Zoom), Pacific Time.
All Levels | When writing memoir, personal essays, or creative nonfiction about your own life, it’s easy to think that you don’t have enough adventure or drama to carry a narrative. This class will teach you how to build compelling narratives out of the small moments in your life by mining them for inner meaning. We will read modern masters of the personal essay — Ali Smith, Maggie Nelson, and Louise Erdrich — to determine what moments gave rise to their most powerful essays. Using generative exercises, we will build paragraphs, scenes, and entire pieces from the ground up. Students will gain a number of ideas for personal stories and road maps for where their narratives may go.
Josh Potter is a writer based in Seattle whose prose is mainly concerned with the ways in which human interiority and physical landscapes relate. He grew up in Detroit, Michigan and studied journalism in Montana and moved to Seattle to work in outdoor education before earning his Masters in Fine Art at the University of Washington. Potter’s work attempts to reflect and examine his own complicity in colonial erasure as a white transplant to Seattle and the ways in which his own personal narrative is both inseparable and independent from national trauma. His stories and essays question how human conflict shapes geography. His personal essays have been featured in Guernica, Cascadia Rising and the New Limestone Review. His fiction has appeared in Driftwood Press, Sick Lit, City Arts and elsewhere. His short story, Snowdrift, won the JuxtaProse fiction contest in 2017.