Jerry Waxler is offering another 4 – Week Intensive starting April 1. We thought you should hear more from Jerry, who is a devoted and stimulating teacher of memoir, about his workshop.
Linda Joy: Jerry, we’re so pleased you are offering workshops here at the National Association of Memoir Writers. And the feedback from students in the class you offered in February was so impressive, we decided to offer it again in April. Why do you think your students appreciated the class so much?
Jerry: Two reasons. One is that I love encouraging people to find their stories and when they do it in a group, something magical happens.
Second, is that finding the underlying structure of each person’s unique experience turns out to be one of the most important challenges facing memoir writers. This class is a perfect environment to do just that. In the small interactive class, with feedback from me through each step, and support from the group, each author makes substantial progress toward clarity about their own project.
Linda Joy: I agree, Jerry. One of the most magical things about workshops and memoir writing is how supportive and empathic everyone is to each other’s stories, to each other’s lives.
So tell us how you approach finding the structure of a memoir.
Jerry: Every story has a beginning, middle, and end. At the start of each phone session, I explain how these parts work. Then I invite everyone to talk about how they expect to turn their own life experience into that week’s assignment. By talking about it and reflecting on it, they gain a clearer understanding of how to take the next step. Then between classes they write a short piece and send it to ALL through email. We don’t critique each other. This class focuses on finding the structure. At the next class we review and move forward. We get a lot of work done–and the payoff after just four weeks is spectacular.
Linda Joy: I’m always so moved by what you write on your blog. Your blog is so generous in its analysis and deep emotional responses to memoirs. I love your passion about memoir writing, and your book The Memoir Revolution, which talks about the importance memoir writing has for the world, and for each person. You are always saying that everyone has a story, and everyone has a legacy to pass on. You walk your talk!
Jerry: Every memoir I read is the result of years of careful reflection, crafting and revision. As a reader, I consider it a privilege to be allowed into this expression of each person’s life experience. When someone comes to one of my classes, I think of them as heroes entering this same journey, and feel privileged to help them move toward their goal.
Linda Joy: As you know, the motto for National Association of Memoir Writers is “Be Brave–Write Your Story.” And that courage is about digging deep to find the truest threads of story, from exploring memory and beliefs, from wondering if what we thought we knew is what we know now. All of us who teach and guide memoirists want to support the writer and the story–and the process of helping the writer to shape and share their stories. Thanks for being part of that this spring!
Story Structure for Memoir Writers with Jerry Waxler
April 1 – 22, 2014, 4 weeks (Tuesdays) 4 PST, 5 MST, 6 CST, 7 EST
To write a memoir, you need to translate unstructured memories into the structure called “Story.” In this four session teleclass, Jerry Waxler will break the form of a Story into simple elements. Then we’ll walk together step by step through the process of translating your life experience into a form that readers won’t want to put down.