Many of us were taught to write personal essays in the traditional way, where the events happen chronologically and we tell one story in a straight-forward way. This is not the way I tell stories.
The people from whom I learned how to tell stories, my mother, second mom Millie, aunt and grandmother, weaved tales that brought in other stories and memories. They braided stories together. They jumped around. Their stories weren’t chronological and they definitely weren’t linear, so I’ve always found the traditional essay stifling to my creativity. When I discovered experimentation in storytelling forms, my writing opened up. Turns out I’ve been “experimenting” for a long time.
This is the way I tell story: I weave. I braid. I collage. I’ve written essays in various forms, including my braided essay, “Splintered Doors”, published in The Rumpus a few years back.
If you braid stories together, yours and your mother’s, your sister’s, your brother’s, etc. you’re experimenting.
If you’ve created an essay in the form of a list, a recipe, a syllabus, you’ve experimented.
If you’ve jumped from one time period to another, and circled back, you’ve experimented.
Experimentation is about messing with form, structure and time.
In this second class of the Experimenting with Storytelling Forms Series, we will be taking on the questions:
– What is the braided essay?
– Why do writers use this form?
– How do writers use this form? (You’ll be given a list of model essays when you register.)
– Why is this form effective?
– How can you use this form in your story-telling?
When: November 16th, 7-9pm EST
Where: Online via Zoom
How much: $33 (if you can’t make this date, you can have access to the private video recording for an additional $6, or $39)*
To register or ask questions: Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Experimenting with Storytelling Forms is a tuition-based series brought to you by Vanessa Mártir and the Writing Our Lives Workshop. The classes in the series are:
– Writing the Hermit Crab Essay on October 20th, 7-9pm EST
– Writing the Braided Essay on November 16th, 7-9pm EST
– Writing Flash Nonfiction on December 14th, 7-9pm EST
* All classes are $33 and $39 for access (for one week) to the private video-recording. You can take one class, two classes, or all three.
Let’s play and explore, and learn different ways to tell our stories!