All In My Feelings Series Week 1: Writing Grief

I’ve been writing about grief for a long time, but the topic took on a different urgency when I lost my beloved brother in 2013 and reeled into the darkest time of my life. I tried to write, but the writing was choppy and didn’t make sense. When I described it as “staccato with no rhythm,” a friend said: “Maybe it’s not supposed to make sense… That’s why jazz fucked up the world—it was the grief of a people.” I turned to my journal and to literature. I needed to see how other writers have written about loss and devastation. How did they find words? 

This work has taken on a different meaning over the past few years, where the scale and complexity of pandemic-related grief has created a public health burden. How do we put into words the grief caused by the tumultuous times we are enduring in the country and the world, with climate change, the continued violence against black folks that spurred the Black Lives Matter Movement, and on and on and on.

I lost my nephew, Justin Andrew, my brother’s only child, in December in a senseless crime. He was only 30 years old. I got offline for a while to mourn and be with my heart. Again I turned to my journal and to literature.

I’ve read thousands of essays, memoirs, novels and poems that center grief and loss. As with most of my classes, I didn’t know I was creating this class for years, and when I finally did, it was because I wish I’d had the guidance back then too.

In this class, we will cover:
– What is grief? 
– How can we write about about this complex, abstract emotion in nuanced ways? 
– How can we bring the reader into our stories? 
– What can we learn from reading about this topic?
– How can we make our tear-soaked writings into literature? 

When: May 4th, 7-9pm EST
Registration & inquiries: writingourlivesworkshop@gmail.com
Suggested donation: $30

I hope to see you then.

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