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Reflecting on 2017

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This year was hard for numerous reasons: politically, it was a shit show, but we all know that. But this reflection isn’t about that. This is personal. It is me looking at this year. What I’ve learned. What the messages were. Where I got lost. Where I was found. What it all comes down to for me, on this 31st of December.

This was the year my daughter turned 13, the age I was when I left everything and everyone I knew and loved to make my way out in the world. The 28th anniversary of that departure was in August, around the time my daughter turned 13. I was triggered, worried about how I would mother her–I have no model, how can I do this?

The truth is, she didn’t feel compelled to leave like I did. In fact, she started the boarding school process then decided to stop mid-way, saying: “I don’t wanna leave, mommy.” I broke the cycle, and really, that’s been one of my greatest accomplishments by far.

This was also the year that I turned 42. My brother didn’t make it to 42. The weeks leading up to my birthday on December 9th and the holidays were especially hard. And then the day came, and I felt something lift off of me. A weight. A burden. Something I didn’t have to carry anymore.

***

What did I do this year?

I started the #52essays2017 challenge, inviting people on the journey I took in 2016, writing an essay a week that I dubbed The Relentless Files. Hundreds joined me. At last count, the FB page had more than 730 members. There were some who submitted regularly. Others who did it on their own. There are thousands more essays in the world due to that challenge, and that’s something I’m sitting with today… Who knew I could inspire such beauty? I can’t say I always did.

And that was a lot of what this year was for me: really seeing who I am and how my work moves in the world, the ricochet effects it has, I have…

I didn’t produce as much this year. It’s not that I didn’t write. It’s that I shared less of it. It’s that I instead chose to submit it to lit journals and mags. It’s that I worked on my memoir more and that work I’m keeping close for a spell.

I did write 17 essays as part of the #52essays2017 challenge. I stopped participating in the challenge because I’d already gotten out of it what I needed (after writing 53 essays in 2016 and then 17 this year, plus a few I wrote after and posted on my blog). I produced. I got out of my own way. I learned to trust my thoughts and surrender to the subconscious and, in turn, the page. I was still participating out of obligation. To show that I could, but I’d already proven that to myself, and the weekly essays were getting in the way of other writing that was important to me, so I bowed out, while continuing to hold space for others participating in the challenge. I posted weekly. I checked in on writers. And I worked on my own stuff.

I traveled a bit this year. I ran the regional VONA at Minneapolis’s The Loft Literary Center on MLK Weekend. Less than two weeks later, I went to Tin House where I worked with Lidia Yuknavitch, who is phenomenal and will be one of my favorite writing teachers for eternity. In February, I facilitated a craft talk and writing class at the Center for Women Writers in North Carolina, then in March I headed to DC for AWP where I was on my first panel. In June I went to my tenth consecutive VONA, where I led the team that ran two weeks of workshops at UPenn. This fall I went to Grub Street for a one day intensive on essay forms.

I also traveled with my family to the woods of northern Michigan, where I broke bread and sang songs and sat around fires with women I will remember forever. I watched dozens of falling stars in the Perseid meteor shower and the moon rise over the hill. I watched my daughter sing her heart out during a talent show in the woods, and I saw again what a star she really is. It was glorious.

***

This past May marked the seven year anniversary of having resigned from a full-time editing job to write and teach. I felt that seven year itch hard. I get anxious and depressed when I feel myself getting complacent or stagnant. I always need to be doing something risky, challenging myself in different ways, and I wasn’t feeling that this past spring. I needed to do something as drastic and as nurturing to my work as I had back in 2010, so I decided to take a sabbatical from most of my teaching gigs to write and expand the Writing Our Lives Workshops. And that’s exactly what I did. I expanded the Essentials to the Personal Essay class to nine weeks and just a few weeks ago completed the class with nine wonderful writers. I also taught an eight week workshop through the Sackett Street Workshop. I brought my classes online, starting with two three-week classes: Writing Fiction from Real Life and Reclaiming Your Voice. This coming January, I start a five week online introduction to the personal essay class. I’m working on some new classes (in person and on-line) including the Narcissist’s Guide to the Personal Essay (which also starts at the end of January), Experimenting with Essay Forms, Writing the Self as a Character and one that I’ve spent much of my life preparing for and building towards: Writing the Mother Wound. I also start teaching online for Boston’s Grub Street in January.

My spring is already jam packed with magic, including taking an essay class with Marwa Helal in February (I must always be a student, at least once or twice a year). I’m traveling to AWP in Tampa in March, where I’ll be on two panels. I’m taking the train to and fro, with the idea that perhaps it can serve as a DIY residency. I’ve done some of my best writing on the train. In fact, I wrote my second novel commuting two and from work, so I’m doing this to see if I can channel that same energy into my now fourth book (FOURTH?!), my memoir.

In April, I’m heading up to Boston for Muse and the Marketplace, Grub Street’s literary conference, where I’ll be facilitating a craft talk. In May I’m heading to Chicago to facilitate a workshop, and later in the month, I’ll be facilitating again at the fourth annual Sankofa Sisterhood Weekend Retreat. All the while, I’m writing and teaching and making this life happen for me. I think a lot of the work I did this year was to give myself permission to do what I need and want: to give myself in 2018 what I’ve given the world over these many years of service.

***

So much of this year was the universe making me slow down, to see and witness who I am and what I’ve done. I started documenting it after VONA.

On July 6th, I wrote:

There was the young writer who grabbed my hand and said, “I’ve been wanting to say this to you…” Then she shared how when she was in Palestine in 2016, she and her friend would read my essays aloud to one another, sitting cross legged on their livingroom floor. She said, “They helped me get through.” She thanked and hugged me. Later said she wanted to take a selfie with me to send to her friend. We never did get to take that photo, but I’m carrying her with me today as I write this.

There was the writer who after the open mic I emceed the second week said, “I know your voice from somewhere.” He asked for my last name, searched on his phone, then gasped, looked at me wide-eyed, then back to his phone. Pushed the phone towards me. Said, “You wrote this?” On the screen was my essay, “Writers of Color: Your Voice Matters.” He said my essay is the reason he started writing again. He said he’s shared it with tons of his friends.

There was the writer who described herself as a “Vanessa groupie.” She said my writing gave her courage and strength. She said she considers me one of her teachers.

There was the writer who said, “I read your essay ‘Millie’s Girl’ and feel like I know her. I can’t wait for your book.”

I’ve been thinking a lot about how hard it is to receive praise. I listen. I smile. I thank them. And all the while, in my head, I am wondering how this happened. How is it that my words are being read across the world? How is it this unmothered Bushwick girl with stories to tell is touching people just by sharing her truth? I am working on receiving this kind of praise. It is, after all, another form of love, and we can never have enough love. I am working on being gentle with that voice in me that sometimes rages and sometimes whispers: “Who the fuck do you think you are?” Today, I am whispering back: “I am Vanessa and I am enough. I am Vanessa and I am enough. I am Vanessa and I am enough.”

Another lesson: this book isn’t just for you, V. There are worlds of folks that need it. You are enough. You are ready. It’s time. It’s time. It’s time. And your community will hold you through it.

Universe to Vanessa: Work on this praise thing you have. Stare at how your work has held and inspired people. This is who you are. This is what you do. It’s time to start owning and embracing this truth. Not doing so does not serve you or anyone. Es tiempo, Vanessa.

Universe to Vanessa: What if you gave to yourself what you give the world? What if you loved and took care of yourself with the same intensity? What could you do if…?

***

I didn’t write as much publicly in 2017 as I did in 2016. In fact, I haven’t written an essay in months. I have written though. I write every morning as part of my daily ritual. And I’ve written on the train, memories at first that lead to revelations and connections that always surprise me and remind me that the book is there, simmering, brewing, calling me. This year was so much about becoming.

Becoming the writer who could finish the essay I’ve been working on for 7 years, the hardest and most vulnerable one to date. The one that I submitted to Roxane Gay’s anthology Not That Bad. It’s called “What I Told Myself” and it’s coming out in the anthology in May of 2018. Oh shit!

I also wrote my first long form essay this year. I interviewed 20+ women and transcribed pages and pages of those interviews (last count was about 60 pages), wrote several drafts, working with a wonderful editor, Lisa Factora-Borchers. She reached out to me to write this essay on the fragility of motherhood. She left it up to me to pick the angle. She said she knew I was the perfect fit, and though I didn’t believe that to be true at first, she helped me see that I was. The essay “Can You See Me Now?: The Fragilty of Maternal Transition” went live on August 31st, and did so well (was viewed and shared thousands of times) that they decided to also publish it in their print edition: The Devotion Issue for Winter 2018. I just got my copy. It’s fuckin beautiful!

That essay made me finally write about the traumatic experience that was pregnancy and child birth. I realize that I’m still carrying that in my body…how I had to clean my open wound from a cesarean gone wrong. How my daughter’s father said we couldn’t afford to pay the visiting nurse who was assigned to come in every day to do just that: clean my wound. How she taught me to do it and didn’t look at my daughter’s father when she left that last time. How I’d clean it when he was away at work. How I cried hard and longed for my mother as I did it. How fuckin brutal that was…How that memory still makes me tear up…

One of the highlights of this year was when my daughter read that essay. She walked away because she knew I was trying to read her facial expressions. Then she came back and said: “I’m sorry you went through that, but I was worth it, right?” She smiled with her whole face and hugged me. Then she said: “I’m proud of you, mom,” squeezed me and walked away. And of course I was left a pile of blubbering tears.

***

I got some big blows this fall. I submitted an essay to an Australian Magazine. An essay they commissioned me for. The theme was family and they were sure I could write something stellar about being an unmothered woman and how that’s shaped me, but when push came to shove, the editor in chief said she couldn’t publish it as it was. She talked about Australian laws that sounded a lot like protecting predators and leaving victims unprotected and unable to write their stories. The edits they wanted to make would leave out so much, and portray my mother in a way that wasn’t fair. Yes, she was cruel in many ways and she didn’t mother me the way I needed, but there’s more to that story. My mother has suffered. She has endured violence and hunger that hardened her and made her into the woman she is today and the mother she was to me. To not include that in the story was (and still is) something I can’t and won’t do. It would only show one side of this very complicated woman. A woman that I love and am not trying to hurt with my writing. I couldn’t in good conscience let that essay go out into the world like that, so I withdrew it, though that too was very sad for me.

I didn’t get an NEA. Honestly, I didn’t expect to, and was really okay about not getting it, but that was just the first of a slew of rejections that hit me real hard. It was the Hedgebrook rejection that hit me the hardest, because I really wanted that one, and no, hearing that I’d made it to the final 103 applicants but not the final 40 who got the residencies didn’t help. I wanted time to work on my book. Time where I didn’t have to worry about cooking or cleaning the house or helping Vasia with homework or holding space for anyone but me and my stories. Hedgebrook didn’t give me that, and yes, that was hard. I’m still hoping to get that space somehow in 2018. Let’s see how.

As the holidays came, I reeled. My brother loved the holidays, and here I am, 42 years old, the age he never made it to. I was so very triggered.  

All of these hits and triggers made me pause, to sit with myself and listen to the lessons the universe was sending me… That I am ready. That I have become the writer who can do this work, who can listen to and receive the praise (because as my brujermana Lizz reminded me: “giving is control, receiving is surrender”), and I can keep doing the work and writing the stories and yes, I can and will finish A Dim Capacity for Wings.

So, my challenge to myself is personal this year. It’s not one I’m sharing with the world. Yes, there are some essays that I’m working on for publishing, and that’s something I will continue to do because I love it and it’s important to establishing a platform as a writer, but this challenge I’m speaking of is for me and my work, and I’m keeping it close. Sharing it only with a select few of chosen familia.

I ended friendships this year and started new ones. I cried a lot and laughed even more. And I got loved up on beautifully by a partner who supports all my whims and crazy risk taking. Who says yes when I’m wondering if I should do something like take a sabbatical from my steady money making gigs to expand my heart work: Writing Our Lives. Who when I was asked to write that long form essay for Bitch Media was like, “Of course they chose you. You can do this.” Who spent the afternoon with me singing old school Spanish ballads by José José, Rocio Jurado, El Puma, Juan Gabriel and more, while we reminisced about who we were and how we got here.

I’m ending the year hopeful. And I’m bringing in 2018 with some big manifesting and dreaming and risk taking. I’m announcing my classes in the coming days, and there’s some writing happening that I’ll be sharing and some that I won’t be sharing. Just know that I’m making moves, and I appreciate y’all for following and supporting and encouraging and loving up on me. I believe in you and I believe in your stories. Do the work, fam, and stay beautiful while you’re doing it. 

***

As I was writing this, my mother texted to tell me that today marks 47 years since she came to this country from Honduras. It’s a bittersweet memory for her. She calls her immigration a desgracia. A curse. “I came to this country to suffer,” she’s said. I can honor and hold space for that, and can also be grateful for her sacrifices and how that’s brought me here.

I am thinking about that GQ essay about Stephen Colbert, where he shares some wisdom he got early in his career (“You gotta learn to love the bomb.”), and that he connected to the greatest bomb of his life: his father and two of his brothers, Peter and Paul, the two closest to him in age, were killed in a plane crash when he was 10.

I love the thing that I most wish had not happened.

I asked him if he could help me understand that better, and he described a letter from Tolkien in response to a priest who had questioned whether Tolkien’s mythos was sufficiently doctrinaire, since it treated death not as a punishment for the sin of the fall but as a gift. “Tolkien says, in a letter back: ‘What punishments of God are not gifts?’ ” Colbert knocked his knuckles on the table. “ ‘What punishments of God are not gifts?’ ” he said again. His eyes were filled with tears.

“So it would be ungrateful not to take everything with gratitude. It doesn’t mean you want it. I can hold both of those ideas in my head.”

He was 35, he said, before he could really feel the truth of that. He was walking down the street, and it “stopped me dead. I went, ‘Oh, I’m grateful. Oh, I feel terrible.’ I felt so guilty to be grateful. But I knew it was true.“It’s not the same thing as wanting it to have happened,” he said. “But you can’t change everything about the world. You certainly can’t change things that have already happened.”

I don’t yet love the bombs, but this year I got closer to loving them than I ever have.
This year I became the woman my brother always said I was. His loss was a nuclear bomb.
This year I realized that I wouldn’t be the woman I am today had my mother mothered me the way I longed for. That is my greatest bomb. The seismic one. I am holding that bomb close and marveling at it. And in doing so, I’ve made space for something I never thought possible: some healing is happening with my mother. I am listening. She is talking. We are communicating, and if that ain’t beautiful, and evidence that my healing is making space for growth, I don’t know what is.
The Seven Generation Healing principal taught by Native Americans, says that when you heal yourself, you make healing possible for seven generations before you arrived and the seven generations that will come after. If you need more reason to work on your healing, here it is. Look at me as evidence.
I can’t say what is going to happen between us. I have no expectations, really. But I am doing something I haven’t been capable of doing, because trauma exists in the body: I am listening. I am asking questions. And I am receiving it all. Because in receiving, I surrender. And so it is.

Mucho amor, always,
Loba

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Postponed! The Narcissist’s Guide to the Personal Essay ~ A Writing Our Lives Production 

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*** This class has been postponed indefinitely. ***

Dates: January 27, February 3, 10, 17, 24, March 3, 17

Time: 12pm-5pm

Location: West Village, NY

Price: $620 (including a $75 nonrefundable registration fee)*

If you’re a writer of creative nonfiction, chances are you’re a wee bit (or a lot) narcissistic, and that’s okay, but how can you push yourself to connect your story to the world—to current events, pop culture, sports, literature, history, etc? In other words, how can you deepen your personal writing? The subconscious makes connections that we often don’t understand or trust, and as a result don’t make it onto the page.

In this generative workshop, we will:
– explore how we can follow and surrender to the connections;
– do exercises to help us learn to open ourselves up to and trust our train of thoughts, no matter how random and odd;
– analyze and deconstruct nontraditional essay forms to explore how we can tell our stories in surprising and moving ways;
– read essays that have done this successfully;
– write and workshop our essays.

Final Project: A 1500 word essay that we will workshop on the last day of class.

Financial Aid: Partial scholarships and payment plans are available. Note on scholarships –
– A limited number of partial, need based scholarships are available on a first come, first serve basis.
– A special partial need-based scholarship is available to a VONA/Voices alum who does not have an MFA and has not published a book with a major publisher.
– Scholarships cannot be combined and are not transferrable.

For more information on the workshop and/or scholarships, send an email to writingourlivesworkshop@gmail.com.

 

More information coming on on-line and in-person classes coming in the Spring of 2018:
– Writing the Mother Wound
– Experimenting with Essay Forms
– Writing the Self as a Character

Reclaiming Your Voice Online Class is coming!

 

What are you doing for yourself before 2017 comes to an end? What do you want to do for your art? Have you been wondering about how you can make your stories more powerful on the page? What if I told you you already have what you need? What if I told you that the power is in your voice?

What is voice? What are publishers and agents referring to when they say they’re looking for a strong, original voice?

Have you found yourself wondering what your voice is? Do you find that you can tell your stories but they don’t sound the same when you write them down?

Are you struggling to write in a voice that is unique to you and your stories?

Ever met someone and felt empowered by their story and wonder how they learned to write so fluidly and honestly?

I created the Reclaiming Your Voice Class just for you!

This is an intensive writing class where I, Vanessa Mártir, will lead you through various exercises with the aim of uncovering/re-discovering your voice, and unlearning what you’ve been taught about your voice on the page. Why do you need this class?

Because you’ve been told repeatedly, directly and subliminally, that you are not good enough and that your stories are not worthy.

You’ve been taught to write in ways that stunt your writing and expression.

You’ve been taught that you have to write a certain way and that way negates your cultural influences and verbal tics and everything that makes you you.

I get it. It was done to me too and I’ve written about it. It has become one of my missions as a writer and educator to help writers discover and learn to write in their own distinctive voices, because that’s where your power is. We will read. We will discuss. We will write. A LOT. Join us!

 

Class Information

Class Dates: December 6, 13, 20

Time: 7pm-9pm EST

(Can’t make those times? No worries! Sessions will be recorded so no worries if you can’t make the actual class.)

Price: $50 for one class, $90 for two, $130 for three (including a $25 nonrefundable registration fee

Platform: Zoom (via videoconference)

For more information, contact Vanessa at writingourlivesworkshop@gmail.com with “Reclaiming Your Voice” in the subject box.

Note: This class does not include workshopping of student projects.

 

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 Bitch Media, 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 created the Writing Our Lives Workshop through which she’s helped hundreds of writers write their own personal and memoir essays. Check out her writing and future plans on her website at: vanessamartir.com

The Wonder of Trees

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When my partner leaves at 5am, I am left blissfully alone, to listen to the blue jays screech and watch the tree glow outside my window. It’s that eerie light that happens in late spring, when the sun shines a certain way and the leaves turn towards heaven. The dew glistens and the morning is like a prayer.

I saw it one June morning–a fruit hanging from a branch. I remembered the plum tree in our backyard when I was growing up in 1980s Brooklyn.

I started climbing the tree when I was five. I scuffed my sneakers and scraped my legs. Once, I poked myself so hard on my side with a branch, that I bled through my t-shirt. I didn’t care that mom didn’t approve. She’d yell,“Bajate d’alli, machuda!”, but I kept scrambling up. There, I’d imagine a life where my mother was as gentle with me as she was with the seeds she planted in the soil beneath the plum tree. Seeds that became tomatoes, peppers, sunflowers and cilantro.

I’m 41 now, and mom is still not tender. That plum tree was cut down years ago.

When I saw the fruit outside my window, heavy enough to bow the branch, I ran out to look more closely. It’s a crabapple tree. Different, but the same. I can see it from wherever I write: on the deck, on the couch in the living room, when I look to my left in my writing room.

It’s always there–a tree–saving my life.

(Just got a rejection for this flash CNF piece but I have a soft spot for it (and trees) so I decided to post it here. It’s said that when Stephen King was starting out, he used to put all his rejection letters from publishers on a nail on a wall. After years of work, the refusals became softer. I’m not Stephen King. I don’t have to be, I’m Vanessa Martir…but this is my form of posting a rejection slip on a wall.)

Why did I create the Writing Our Lives Workshop?

Why did I create the Writing Our Lives Workshop? What’s different about my classes and my teaching style? What do I have planned for the coming months? I created this video to answer all your questions.

 

I also have a new website. You can check it out at vanessa martir.com. Stop by. Say hi. Let’s build!

Reclaiming Your Voice — An Online Generative Writing Class with Vanessa Mártir

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What is voice? What are publishers and agents referring to when they say they’re looking for a strong, original voice?

Have you found yourself wondering what your voice is? Do you find that you can tell your stories but they don’t sound the same when you write them down?

Are you struggling to write in a voice that is unique to you and your stories?

Ever met someone and felt empowered by their story and wonder how they learned to write so fluidly and honestly?

I created the Reclaiming Your Voice Class just for you!

This is an intensive writing class where I, Vanessa Mártir, will lead you through various exercises with the aim of uncovering/re-discovering your voice, and unlearning what you’ve been taught about your voice on the page. Why do you need this class?

Because you’ve been told repeatedly, directly and subliminally, that you are not good enough and that your stories are not worthy.

You’ve been taught to write in ways that stunt your writing and expression.

You’ve been taught that you have to write a certain way and that way negates your cultural influences and verbal tics and everything that makes you you.

I get it. It was done to me too and I’ve written about it. It has become one of my missions as a writer and educator to help writers discover and learn to write in their own distinctive voices, because that’s where your power is. We will read. We will discuss. We will write. A LOT. Join us!

 

Class Information

Class Dates: December 6, 13, 20

Time: 7pm-9pm EST

Price: $50 for one class, $90 for two, $130 for three (including a $25 nonrefundable registration fee

Platform: Zoom (via videoconference)

For more information, contact Vanessa at writingourlivesworkshop@gmail.com with “Reclaiming Your Voice” in the subject box.

Note: This class does not include workshopping of student projects.

 

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 Bitch Media, 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 created the Writing Our Lives Workshop through which she’s helped hundreds of writers write their own personal and memoir essays.

Writing Fiction from Real Life: An Online Generative Class with Vanessa Mártir

 

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Do you have stories you want to tell and need help telling them.

Or, say, you have these stories about your life that you want to write but you don’t want to piss anyone off or aren’t ready to admit this really happened to you–label it fiction!

Or, perhaps, you’ve been writing fiction forever and want to dig into what it means to use your real life as fodder for your fiction.

Or maybe you’re mostly a memoir/personal essay writer and you’re interested in writing fiction.

No matter where you’re coming from, if the title of this class piqued your interest, there’s a reason for it.

What I love about fiction is that we are free to use all of the materials of our human experience in writing it.

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What do I know about writing fiction from real life? I wrote two novels running away from memoir: A Woman’s Cry (Augustus Publishing, 2007) and The Write Play (unpublished). I’ve also had short stories published that were written using materials from my life, like the flash piece Dollhead, published in SmokeLong Quarterly in 2016.

I know that using my life, the people I’ve known, the experiences I’ve had, have given me a wonderful foundation to work with in my stories.

In this class, participants will:

  1. use personal experiences and observations to craft compelling fiction and characters;
  2. receive insight into my inspirations and methods, which will help you take away some fresh ideas for your own writing;
  3. generate material to take with you and hopefully keep working on; and
  4. build scenes and story starters;
  5. leave with a toolkit of practical approaches for translating real-life elements into fuel for your fiction.

 

Class Information

Dates: November 8, 15, 29 

Time: 7pm-9pm EST

Price: $50 for one class, $90 for two, $130 for three (including a $25 nonrefundable registration fee

Platform: Zoom (via videoconference)

For more information, contact Vanessa at writingourlivesworkshop@gmail.com with “Writing Fiction from Real Life” in the subject box.

This class does not include workshopping of student projects.

 

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 Bitch Media, 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 created the Writing Our Lives Workshop through which she’s helped hundreds of writers write their own personal and memoir essays.