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To write a killer essay, you don’t have to look very far—your life is full of seemingly insignificant topics begging to be examined on the page. In this inspiring, generative class, we’ll investigate how writers touch on universal themes by exploring seemingly mundane topics such as G. K. Chesterton’s search for a piece of chalk in 1905. Through writing exercises, discussions, in-class critique, and studying examples of the form, you’ll become more comfortable wielding the essential elements of the personal essay: exposition, conflict, scene, voice, honesty, and vulnerability. By the end, you will have crafted at least one personal essay in its entirety and have ideas for scores more.
Wilson Diehl’s work has appeared in The New York Times, Salon, Babble, Fit Pregnancy, The Seattle Times, Seattle Metropolitan, Teachers & Writers Magazine, The Iowa Review, and elsewhere. She has an MFA in creative nonfiction from the University of Iowa and has been teaching writing since 2000. She’s currently working on a collection of personal essays about the hazards of marriage and motherhood. You can find more on her website, Not Quite What I Expected.