Storytelling with Courage, Wit, and Universal Truth
July 24, 2020
11 AM PDT | 12 PM MDT | 1 PM CDT | 2 PM EDT
Welcome everyone to our July NAMW member teleseminar! We love inviting experienced teachers and writers, and we’re so pleased to introduce a very popular teacher of writing—and memoir, Eileen Cronin. I joined her Zoom class this spring and I loved the deep and thought-provoking discussions we were invited to participate in, topics like the possibility of deep healing, breaking silences and how to use craft to best excavate our stories. Join us for a discussion that will explore courage and permission to express what needs to come out.
Creative writing is a courageous act, and writing memoir takes that act to a whole new level. As memoirists, we are tasked with turning our intimate moments into art. Some of us wonder if our stories will be too commonplace, while others fear our stories are too unique to resonate with a wider audience. We find our stories by uncovering the universal truths buried within. Our task as memoirists while excavating those truths is to create an engaging story. We do this by developing the language, the characters, the settings, and the plot, so that a whole world emerges. This workshop will explore the questions memoirists need to ask themselves throughout the writing process in order to create that compelling story.
Below are the questions we will explore:
- Why you need to get started now.
- No story is too unique—what’s yours?
- Why no story is too ubiquitous (Patricia Hampl has great things to say about this)
- How to make your unique story more universal –we will turn to broader themes of love, betrayal, truth, identity, etc.
- Alternatively, how to find the unique angle in your story that may seem too common these days.
- Why it’s important to focus on the art of the storytelling.
Eileen Cronin is a creative writing instructor at UCLA Extension and a psychologist in Family Medicine at UCLA. Her book, Mermaid: A Memoir of Resilience, translated in 3 languages, was one of O Magazine’s Best Memoirs of the Year. She’s received a Vermont Studio Center Fellowship and the Washington Writing Prize in short fiction. She’s published in numerous literary magazines as well as The Washington Post, The Daily Beast, and other news sources.