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Experimenting with Essay Forms, a Writing Intensive with Vanessa Mártir

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Dates: May 5th & 12th (take one or both)
Time: 12-5pm
Location: West Village, NYC
Price: $150 for both, $80 for one

You have everything you think you need for your essay: you have the events, you have the material you want to cover. But you can’t seem to get the story right. What’s happening?

Maybe the issue isn’t the essay, but the form you’re using!

At some point we learned that all stories should be told in chronological order. Yes, there’s some usefulness to relating events in the order in which they occurred, but this approach can also be very limiting. Sometimes the traditional form won’t cut it for what we’re trying to say and do. That’s where experimentation comes in.

Sometimes, it’s the juxtaposition of events that gives our memories meaning. What if the best way to write your story is via a want ad? Or maybe it’s a resume as an essay? What about a recipe? Can that be an essay? Can we write an essay using google maps? What about list?

The answer to all of these is YES!

In this writing intensive class, we will:
* ask radical questions about the essay form itself;
* read and analyze sample essays that deconstruct nontraditional forms to see how writers have used them to tell surprising and moving tales; and
* do exercises based on these forms to inspire participants to take risks with form.

You’ll also have the opportunity to share a few paragraphs (if you want to, of course) of your new work with your classmates, and by the end of each day you’ll have the beginnings of a few pieces.

What you should know:
The class is a two part class, both five hours: May 5th & 12th, 12-5pm
You can take both classes or just one.
* $80 one class
* $150 for both
* $30 non-refundable registration fee required to hold your seat.
* Full payment due by May 5th

Contact writingourlivesworkshop@gmail.com for questions and/or to register.

About the facilitator:

Vanessa Mártir is a NYC based writer, educator and writing coach. She is currently completing her memoir, A Dim Capacity for Wings, and chronicles the journey at vanessamartir.blog. A five-time VONA/Voices and two-time Tin House fellow, Vanessa’s work has appeared in The Butter, Smokelong Quarterly, Kweli Journal, As/Us Journal, the VONA/Voices Anthology, Dismantle, and Roxane Gay’s anthology Not that Bad, among others. She is the creator of the Writing Our Lives Workshop and the Writing the Mother Wound Class, which she teaches in NYC and online. When not writing or teaching, you can find Vanessa either on a dance floor, in a gym punching a bag or hiking in the woods. You can keep up with her relentless grind at vanessamartir.com.

Writing the Mother Wound Online Class with Vanessa Mártir (Video)

I created the class I desperately needed and wish I had.

Find out more information on the class at writingourlives.com and/or on my blog.

Have questions? Email me at writingourlivesworkshop@gmail.com.

Class Schedule: Class is 5 weeks
Week 1: April 23rd (Videoconference 4/25, 7-9pm EST)
Week 2: April 30th (Videoconference 5/2, 7-9pm EST)
Week 3: May 7th (Videoconference 5/9, 7-9pm EST)
Week 4: May 21st (Videoconference 5/23, 7-9pm EST)
Week 5: May 28th (Videoconference 5/30, 7-9pm EST)

Videoconferences: Attendance on the video-conferences while recommended is not required. Sessions will be recorded and shared with participants. Time of sessions is EST. Platform: zoom.us.

Registration deadline: April 18

Price: $500

Registration requirements: a nonrefundable $75 deposit is required to reserve your seat. This $75 is deducted from the $500 tuition.  

To register, ask questions, etc., send an email to: writingourlivesworkshop@gmail.com.

Writing the Mother Wound Online Class

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Class Schedule: Class is 5 weeks
Week 1: April 23rd (Videoconference 4/25, 7-9pm EST)
Week 2: April 30th (Videoconference 5/2, 7-9pm EST)
Week 3: May 7th (Videoconference 5/9, 7-9pm EST)
Week 4: May 21st (Videoconference 5/23, 7-9pm EST)
Week 5: May 28th (Videoconference 5/30, 7-9pm EST)

Videoconferences: Attendance on the video-conferences while recommended is not required, as they will be recorded and shared with participants. Platform: zoom.us

Registration deadline: April 18

Price: $500 (see below for information on payment plans and need-based scholarships)

Registration requirements: a nonrefundable $75 deposit is required to reserve your seat. This $75 is deducted from the $500 tuition.  

To register, ask questions, etc., send an email to: writingourlivesworkshop@gmail.com.

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Class Synopsis:

If you grew up like me, you were taught that mother is the holiest of holy. She is a saint. She is the altar you are to sacrifice yourself at, again and again and again.

But what about those of us for whom mother is abyss?

What about those of us for whom wasn’t encouraging or supportive?

What about those of us for whom mother was (and still is) neglectful and abusive?

What about those of us who know mother did the best she could but the child you still didn’t get what she needed?

Have you wanted to write about your antagonistic relationship with your mother but don’t know how? Have you found it difficult to dig into these memories? Do you not know how to even begin?

Have you dealt with backlash when you dared to talk or write about your relationship with your mother? Were you told: solo hay una madre (there is only one mother), called ungrateful, treasonous, a traitor? Or have you imagined the scenario and been paralyzed by it? Have you internalized this shame?

I created this class for you.

In the Writing the Mother Wound class, we will look at how writers have written about the mother wound. This is a multi-genre workshop. We will read fiction, nonfiction and poetry. We will read essays and poems, novel excerpts, memoirs and short stories. We will read excerpts of books by therapists and psychologists who’ve studied the longstanding effects of the mother wound and being the child of a narcissistic parent.

To be clear, this isn’t therapy. I am not a therapist. I am a writer who writes a great deal about her own mother wound, and has read obsessively about it in my own healing journey, so I know firsthand how difficult it is to broach this topic, and have found that reading the work of others who have dared to do so, has helped me write my own.

 

The goals of the class are:

* to read how other writers navigate and approach the mother wound through their writing;

* to look at this writing and discuss it through a critical lens;

* to use these writings as inspiration to write about our mother wounds;

* to work on freeing ourselves of the shame we carry over daring to want/need to write about our mothers and our relationships with our mothers in a realistic light;

* to share our writing in a safe space;

* to find community in our work and understand that despite how isolating this journey can be (as writers, as folks who navigate “not ideal” relationships with their mothers), we are not alone in it…

 

Why did I create the Writing the Mother Wound Class?

Because it was in literature that I found answers to so many of the questions I had about having an antagonistic relationship with my mother.

Because researching and devouring stories about strained mother-daughter relationships helped me believe that I could write my story too.

Because I have amassed so much information and knowledge in my journey that I know it’s time to share what I’ve learned in reading these countless books and poems and essays and short stories and studies.

Because it was in reading that I found the term “unmothered”, a term that described what I was, how I existed unanchored in the world, and what that meant to me. Finding this made me realize I wasn’t alone in my suffering, and made me seek out the work of people like me.

Because when I came up with the idea, it dawned on me that this was evidence that I could make something beautiful of my suffering, and it made me weep.

Because I know that this class is what I have been working towards. I just didn’t know it. I know it now.

 

Financial Aid:

Tuition for the class is $500.

Payment plans are available. If one is required, please send an email to writingourlivesworkshop@gmail.com. Payment plans must be arranged before class begins. Payment in full must be made by May 16th, 2018.

Need-based, partial scholarships are also available. See below for details on how to apply.

There are also two special scholarships available:

1. Scholarship of $250 for a VONA/Voices alum who:

* Is not traditionally educated (does not have nor is pursuing an MFA)

* Has not published a book with a major publisher

2. Scholarship of $250 for a single mother who would otherwise be unable to participate in the class.

 

How to apply:

Send a letter detailing:

* which scholarship you are applying to,

* how you are qualified for the scholarship,

* your financial need—i.e. unemployed, underemployed, etc.

* why you think you need this class, what you expect to gain from it, and why you think you are deserving of the scholarship beyond your financial need.

Send the letter with “Writing the Mother Wound Scholarship” in the subject line to: writingourlivesworkshop@gmail.com. (Note: First dibs on scholarships go to students who have not received a scholarship in the past.)

Vanessa Mártir headshot

About the facilitator:

Vanessa Mártir is a NYC based writer, educator and mama. She is currently completing her memoir, A Dim Capacity for Wings, and chronicles the journey at vanessamartir.blog. A five-time VONA/Voices and two-time Tin House fellow, Vanessa’s work has appeared in The Butter, Smokelong Quarterly, Kweli Journal, As/Us Journal and the VONA/Voices Anthology, Dismantle, among others. She has essays forthcoming in Not That Bad, edited by Roxane Gay, and Connections: An Integrated Reader and Rhetoric for College Writing, edited by Kerry Beckford and Donald Jones. Vanessa is the founder of the #52essays2017 challenge, and creator of the Writing Our Lives Workshop, which she teaches in NYC and online. When she’s not writing, you can find her either on the dance floor, in a gym punching a bag or in the woods hugging a tree. Find out more about her relentless hustle on vanessamartir.com.

 

Writing the Mother Wound Class ~ A Writing Our Lives Production

 

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Dates: February 17, 24, March 3, 17, 24, 31

Time: 12-5pm

Location: West Village, NYC

Price: $600 (see below for information on payment plans and need-based scholarships)

Registration requirements: a nonrefundable $75 deposit is required to reserve your seat. This $75 is deducted from the $600 tuition.  

To register, ask questions, etc., send an email to: writingourlivesworkshop@gmail.com. 

Note: This class is capped at 12 students.

 

Class Synopsis:

If you grew up like me, you were taught that mother is the holiest of holy. She is a saint. She is the altar you are to sacrifice yourself at, again and again and again.

But what about those of us for whom mother is abyss?

What about those of us for whom wasn’t encouraging or supportive?

What about those of us for whom mother was (and still is) neglectful and abusive?

What about those of us who know mother did the best she could but the child you still didn’t get what she needed?

Have you wanted to write about your antagonistic relationship with your mother but don’t know how? Have you found it difficult to dig into these memories? Do you not know how to even begin?

Have you dealt with backlash when you dared to talk or write about your relationship with your mother? Were you told: solo hay una madre (there is only one mother), called ungrateful, treasonous, a traitor? Or have you imagined the scenario and been paralyzed by it? Have you internalized this shame?

I created this class for you.

In the Writing the Mother Wound class, we will look at how writers have written about the mother wound. We will read essays and poems, novel excerpts, memoirs and short stories. We will read excerpts of books by therapists and psychologists who’ve studied the longstanding effects of the mother wound and being the child of a narcissistic parent.

This is a multi-genre workshop. We will read fiction, nonfiction and poetry.

To be clear, this isn’t therapy. I am not a therapist. I am a writer who writes a great deal about her own mother wound, and has read obsessively about it in my own healing journey, so I know firsthand how difficult it is to broach this topic, and have found that reading the work of others who have dared to do so, has helped me write my own.

 

The goals of the class are:

* to read how other writers navigate and approach the mother wound through their writing;

* to look at this writing and discuss it through a critical lens;

* to use these writings as inspiration to write about our mother wounds;

* to work on freeing ourselves of the shame we carry over daring to want/need to write about our mothers and our relationships with our mothers in a realistic light;

* to share our writing in a safe space

* to find community in our work and understand that despite how isolating this journey can be (as writers, as folks who navigate “not ideal” relationships with their mothers), we are not alone in it…

 

Why did I create the Writing the Mother Wound Class?

Because it was in literature that I found answers to so many of the questions I had about having an antagonistic relationship with my mother.

Because researching and devouring stories about strained mother-daughter relationships helped me believe that I could write my story too.

Because I have amassed so much information and knowledge in my journey that I know it’s time to share what I’ve learned in reading these countless books and poems and essays and short stories and studies.

Because it was in reading that I found the term “unmothered”, a term that described what I was, how I existed unanchored in the world, and what that meant to me. Finding this made me realize I wasn’t alone in my suffering, and made me seek out the work of people like me.

Because when I came up with the idea, it dawned on me that this was evidence that I could make something beautiful of my suffering, and it made me weep.

Because I know that this class is what I have been working towards. I just didn’t know it. I know it now.

 

Financial Aid:

Tuition for the class is $600. Payment plans are available. If one is required, please send an email to writingourlivesworkshop@gmail.com.

Need-based, partial scholarships are also available. See below for details on how to apply.

There are also two scholarships available, funded by a Writing Our Lives repeat offender “who knows this class will change your writing and your life.”:

1. Scholarship of $300 for a VONA/Voices alum who:
* Is not traditionally educated (does not have nor is pursuing an MFA)
* Has not published a book with a major publisher

2. Scholarship of $300 for a single mother who would otherwise be unable to attend the workshop.

How to apply: 

Send a letter detailing:
* which class and scholarship you are applying to,
* how you are qualified for the scholarship,
* your financial need—i.e. unemployed, underemployed, etc.
* why you think you need this class, what you expect to gain from it, and why you think you are deserving of the scholarship beyond your financial need.

Send the letter with “Writing Our Lives Scholarship” in the subject line to: writingourlivesworkshop@gmail.com. (Note: First dibs on scholarships go to students who have not received a scholarship in the past.)

 

Vanessa Mártir headshot

About the facilitator:

Vanessa Mártir is a NYC based writer, educator and mama. She is currently completing her memoir, A Dim Capacity for Wings, and chronicles the journey at vanessamartir.blog. A five-time VONA/Voices and two-time Tin House fellow, Vanessa’s work has appeared in The Butter, Smokelong Quarterly, Kweli Journal, As/Us Journal and the VONA/Voices Anthology, Dismantle, among others. She has essays forthcoming in Not That Bad, edited by Roxane Gay, and Connections: An Integrated Reader and Rhetoric for College Writing, edited by Kerry Beckford and Donald Jones. Vanessa is the founder of the #52essays2017 challenge, and creator of the Writing Our Lives Workshop, which she teaches in NYC and online. When she’s not writing, you can find her either on the dance floor, in a gym punching a bag or in the woods hugging a tree. Find out more about her relentless hustle on vanessamartir.com.

 

Announcement: Special Scholarships for Winter/Spring 2018 Writing Our Lives Classes

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Have you wanted to take a class or workshop with Vanessa Mártir but haven’t had the funds? Here’s your chance! Announcing two anonymously funded, need based scholarships for upcoming Writing Our Lives classes!

Introduction to the Personal Essay (Online Class)  

Dates: 1/31, 2/7, 21, 28, 3/14

1. Scholarship ($100) for a VONA/Voices alum who:
* Is not traditionally educated (does not have nor is pursuing an MFA)
Has not published a book with a major publisher

2. Scholarship ($100) for a single mother who would otherwise be unable to attend the workshop.

 
How to apply: 

Send a letter detailing:
* which class and scholarship you are applying to,
* how you are qualified for the scholarship,
* your financial need—i.e. unemployed, underemployed, etc.
* why you think you need this class, what you expect to gain from it, and why you think you are deserving of the scholarship beyond your financial need.

Send the letter with “Writing Our Lives Scholarship” in the subject line to: writingourlivesworkshop@gmail.com. (Note: First dibs on scholarships go to students who have not received a scholarship in the past.)
Interested in sponsoring a scholarship?  

I created Writing Our Lives for writers of color who come from marginalized and underserved neighborhoods like me. That sometimes means that people can’t afford to take my classes. In the past, I’ve offered a free five hour class every semester as a gift to my community and to pay it forward, along with scholarships and payment plans for classes. I am now looking for ways to subsidize tuition for even more writers. Scholarship sponsorship is one way to do this. If you are interested in sponsoring a scholarship for a writer, please reach out to me at writingourlivesworkshop@gmail.com. Join me in helping more people write their stories.

New Date: FREE One Day Writing Our Lives Class in NYC on 1/27/18

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When:
January 27th, 12pm-5pm (NEW DATE)
Where: West Village, NYCRegistration required. Send an email to writingourlivesworkshop@gmail.com with “Free One Day Class” in the Subject Line. There is homework so register in advance to get the details, location, etc.


Why:
Because I believe in paying it forward.

Because while the studies and the statistics and the numbers play their part, they do not give face to people and meaning to their struggles. Story does. Your story. Let me give you some tools to help you write yours.

Because I created this class for us: people who come from where I come from and look like me, and often these are marginalized folks who are just making ends meet. This is my gift to you. This is me telling you that your story deserves to be out in the world too.

What: In this workshop I will provide an overview of the tools that are necessary to writing a personal narrative. My approach is to focus on the micro (the short personal essay) because you can take this into the writing of a longer piece, i.e. a memoir. In this class we will discuss craft, character and scene development, sensory writing, digging into memory, etc.

Upcoming Writing Our Lives Classes (click on title for more information): 

* Introduction to the Personal Essay – online class begins on January 31st
* The Narcissist’s Guide to the Personal Essay – in-person class begins on January 27th

 

Vanessa Mártir headshot

About the facilitator: Vanessa Mártir is a NYC based writer, educator and mama. She is currently completing her memoir, A Dim Capacity for Wings, and chronicles the journey at vanessamartir.blog. A five-time VONA/Voices and two-time Tin House fellow, Vanessa’s work has appeared in The Butter, Smokelong Quarterly, Kweli Journal, As/Us Journal and the VONA/Voices Anthology, Dismantle, among others. She has essays forthcoming in Not That Bad, edited by Roxane Gay, and Connections: An Integrated Reader and Rhetoric for College Writing, edited by Kerry Beckford and Donald Jones. Vanessa is the founder of the #52essays2017 challenge, and creator of the Writing Our Lives Workshop, which she teaches in NYC and online. When she’s not writing, you can find her either on the dance floor, in a gym punching a bag or in the woods hugging a tree. Find out more about her relentless hustle on vanessamartir.com.

Online Class: Introduction to the Personal Essay ~ A Writing Our Lives Production

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Class Dates: January 31, February 7, 21, 28, March 14

Class Time: 7-9pm EST

Platform: via videoconference using Zoom.us (sessions will be recorded)

Tuition: $300 including a nonrefundable $60 deposit (Note: payment plans are available)

 

Personal essays are everywhere these days. There are sites and entire sections of magazines and papers dedicated to personal stories–hello NYTimes Modern Love and Lives sections, Narratively, The Rumpus, Hippocampus, and the list goes on and on. Essay collections and anthologies are also booming. The fact is that personal stories are everywhere, and yours should be too.

In addition to having written and published several books and dozens of essays, I love teaching. I created the Writing Our Lives Workshop in 2010, and have since taught hundreds of writers how to write the personal essay. This is the first time I am bringing this work online. Why? Because it’s time. Because folks have asked for it. Because I want to make this class available to folks outside of the NYC area. Because I believe your stories matter and should be out in the world, and I want to help you make that happen. 

 

What you need to know:

* This class is an introductory class designed for people who are new or fairly new to the personal essay/memoir, and know they want to take on the challenge.

* This is generative class, not a workshop. As such, your work will not be workshopped, but you will be given the opportunity to share your work with writers taking the class.

* If you’re interested in writing a memoir, personal essay is a great way to get your feet wet. As a memoir writer myself, I can tell you that the personal essay is the micro of the macro that is memoir.

* In the class we will dig into the fundamentals of writing personal essays: how to decide on a topic, how to start, how to read essays like writers (because reading like a writer and reading like a reader are not the same thing), how to build well-developed characters, how to write and develop scenes, etc.

* We will be reading essays (lots of them) and dissecting them; analyzing why the author made the decision(s) he/she/they made. We’ll also be doing tons of writing. You will have weekly writing and reading assignments. What I’m saying is you must be willing and able to do the work. The writing life you envision requires it.

* Participants will also be given a slew of resources including extensive suggested readings lists, podcasts, etc. created specifically for writers of personal story.

 

Still not sure if this class is for you? Ask yourself this:

* Have you read essays and wanted to write your own but the thoughts get lost in translation, somewhere between your brain and your fingertips?

* Have you tried to write essays but find them hard to finish?

* Have you wondered how writers write their amazing essays but think you just don’t have the chops and wish you did? (Side note: you do have the chops!)

* Do you write religiously or sporadically in your journal and wish (maybe even know) you could make those streams of consciousness into essays?

* Have you heard some great things about the Writing Our Lives Workshop and want to see Vanessa in action?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, this class is for you. Email writingourlivesworkshop@gmail.com for information on registration, payment plans, etc.

 

If you’re in NYC and want to take an in-person class with Vanessa, check out the Narcissist’s Guide to the Personal Essay starting on January 27th.

 

About the facilitator: Vanessa Mártir is a NYC based writer, educator and mama. She is currently completing her memoir, A Dim Capacity for Wings, and chronicles the journey at vanessamartir.blog. A five-time VONA/Voices and two-time Tin House fellow, Vanessa’s work has appeared in The Butter, Smokelong Quarterly, Kweli Journal, As/Us Journal and the VONA/Voices Anthology, Dismantle, among others. She has essays forthcoming in Not That Bad, edited by Roxane Gay, and Connections: An Integrated Reader and Rhetoric for College Writing, edited by Kerry Beckford and Donald Jones. Vanessa is the founder of the #52essays2017 challenge, and creator of the Writing Our Lives Workshop, which she teaches in NYC, and is bringing online in the fall. Find out more about Vanessa’s relentless hustle at vanessamartir.com.