Summer writing classes offered by local author & blogger

Okay, the “local author & blogger” is me.

This summer I’m slated to teach two classes – one for high school kids and one for adults – at The Gallery School of Pottstown, and I hope enough people will sign up so we can run the classes! You may know me as a blogger, or as the community garden lady from Mosaic Community Land Trust, but I am also a creative writer. My fiction, essays, and poetry have appeared in journals in print and online for quite awhile now. In January I got my master’s in creative writing from the Bennington Writing Seminars, where I studied with some pretty awesome teachers and classmates. Back in NJ I coached high school sports for five years, taught summer journalism camps, and spent six months teaching middle school English (some people thought I was crazy, but I loved it!) Anyway, I’m hoping to bring that experience and my love of writing and self-expression to these summer classes.

Robert Frost Grave, Bennington, VT

The class for teens is called, “The Heart of the Matter: Personal Essay Writing for High School Students.” We’ll read a few short essays and get a feel for what an essay can be before the students dig into their own.  The whole idea is to  figure what you want to say in a way that grabs a reader’s interest, then take the reader along on your journey, and come to some moment of discovery… all within a certain number of words. This class will help kids get more comfortable with those pesky essays on standardized tests and in crafting essays that sing out to college admissions officers. The sign-up info is here. The key details are: The class runs on Tuesdays from 6:30-9pm for 6 weeks, beginning July 10th. Cost is $140 (member), $150 (non-member). The Gallery School is at 254 E. High Street, Pottstown, PA 19464. It’s open to kids from ALL area high schools. Sign up with a friend! Sign up soon!

The class for adults is called, “Flash Memoir and Essays for Adults.” In this workshop, writers will share short pieces (no more than 3 double-spaced pages) of nonfiction for discussion. Nonfiction = “It really happened.” We’ll spend some time discussing what is meant by this, and how “the truth” can be shaped into a compelling story.  By limiting the number of pages/words, we are forced to see how every word really does count.  The very short form still requires that the writer establish setting and character, build scenes, create mood and tension, and explore a theme. Please bring some of your work for the first class. Writers at all levels are welcome! Sign up with a friend! For those of you who might be nervous about writing about your lives, rest assured that we will spend some time during the first class talking about ground rules and how to talk objectively about someone’s personal story while still being sensitive to the fact that the person is sitting right at the table. Registration info is here. This class begins on July 11th and runs on Wednesdays from 6:30-9pm for six weeks. $140 (member), $150 (non-member).

Spring memoir writing class for seniors offered by Sue Repko at The Gallery School

This spring I’ll be teaching a couple of writing classes at The Gallery School of Pottstown. A memoir class for seniors is highlighted below.

You may or may not know that I just finished a master’s program in which I focused on memoir and essay writing. It should come as no surprise that most of my writing at this point in my writing life involves some aspect of growing up in Pottstown and my experiences re-discovering my hometown as an adult.

My philosophy as a writer and teacher of this kind of material is that looking back and making sense of our lives is a basic human instinct. Everyone has many stories inside them. Sometimes it takes a while to peel away the layers of an experience, get to the heart of it, and express what it means so that it not only makes sense to ourselves but also to others.  When we give shape to a memory, when we put it into context – when it is more than just “this happened, then that happened” – we are creating art. Everyone’s got their own voice; there’s no right or wrong way to tell any of these stories. 

Just one more note about the book we’ll use…  I had a workshop with Abigail Thomas a few years ago. She’s an amazing teacher, and her book is the next best thing to having her in the class!  I hope there are some older adults out there who want to join in!

LOOKING BACK, WRITING YOUR LIFE:

MEMOIR AND ESSAY WRITING FOR SENIORS 

This class is for older adults who want to capture memories on paper and re-discover where they’ve been, who they’ve known, and what they’ve done. Life’s joys and hardships can often be found in the smallest moments. We will use “Thinking About Memoir” by Abigail Thomas to get ideas and write very short essays or scenes. Students may get their own copy or copies will be provided for a small additional fee. An optional public reading at the end of the class will give writers a chance to share their work with family and friends. Minimum 4, maximum 10 students. WINTER/SPRING SESSION Begins April 4. Class runs Wednesdays from 6-8pm. 8 weeks. $125 (member), $135 (non-member).

 

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