Starting to write, where you are, right now.

Starting to write, where you are, right now.

and then having a think…

It’s always been my intention to write my own pieces of memoir as I teach. I think it’s important to be practicing the craft you are asking others to learn. So sometimes, when I am walking in the mornings, I start writing in my head…

In my teens I lived in a provincial town in Essex, grew my legs long and went to the youth club by the playing fields. I  rolled over the waist of my school skirt in an attempt to fashion my individuality from its uniform, knee length hideousness. If I could get away with it I would wear my netball skirt. My nan once ran after me to tell me I’d forgotten to put a skirt on. An ordinary life, it may even have looked privileged on the outside. 

And I was told  by one of the therapists who parented me into an overdue adulthood during my thirties that my mother used the techniques of a torturer to keep me in line.

Now, what’s the next step for this piece? Which is the road I want to travel? Will I ever reveal the torture-techniques? I think I must. If you have a gun in the first paragraph, it has to go off by the end (reportedly, Chekov). But I don’t want to, not now, and for good reason.

I am pausing to have a think here because I want an approach that’s best for both the writer and the writing. I don’t want to to get lost in childhood horrors as I write.  Writing asks for something more. Something bigger.  I need to have worked things through in order to write them effectively  for someone else to read. 

In a writing class things often come up that we weren’t expecting. It probably wouldn’t be that stimulating if they didn’t. But I tell students early on why memoir writing cannot be therapy.  Under the guidance of a therapist it can be,  or with a self-help group who can witness what you write there is useful work to be done in writing for therapeutic purposes.  But we don’t have a therapist in my group. It’s  not what I do. 

My job is to guide you through the writing, help you get better at saying what you want to, help you shape and express yourself fully for an audience, which can be small, or large. Your choice.

September 2020

 

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September 2020 Memoir Writing Course

We are still on Zoom but there are advantages – such as being able to connect with people in different countries. The start date for the course is Wednesday 7th October. The first term of the course will run for eight weeks and cost £220. Second and third terms will run in 2021 but there is no obligation to sign up to those.

You will probably complete one shorter piece of memoir, or begin a longer piece during this course. You will be encouraged to experiment in order to find your subject or theme.

In each term there will be four instruction weeks and four workshop/reading aloud weeks. The instruction-week sessions will run for forty five minutes to one hour and the workshop- week sessions for approximately two hours.

The instruction weeks will give you examples of memoir writing, and you will learn some of the techniques of fiction that memoir writers employ. You’ll get exercises and then in the workshop weeks you will learn from the critique.

The course fee will include one 1:1 tutorial and the maximum class number will be eight people. If you are ready to commit now you can pay with PayPal.

Memoir Writing Course

Eight weeks of learning and encouragement with Dr Josie

£220.00

if you are not a PayPal user or you would like to have a chat before you sign up, please fill out the form below.

NB: One of the eight places will be a scholarship. Please make a request for that place using the form below.

 

 

 

Finding Your Voice (Again)

Finding Your Voice (Again)

The sign up details are here…

The course now begins on 26th September with a small band of us writers who will be able to stay right at home and connect across the world. Miraculous!

There is a test session on 19th September at 9.30am. email Josie for the link. You need a computer but all you do is click… and arrive in a room with other writers. It’s a visual, virtual conference room so we will all be able to see as well as hear each other.

The course will cost £80 for four weeks. You can use your PayPal account, to send payment to PearseandBlack@gmail.com

We will be a small group  – 6 at most – and the idea is to play with ideas and build support for your precious work. The next stage of the journey, should you want to carry on may in longer courses later in the study-year where we will look at techniques for developing work.

Finding Your Voice

Finding Your Voice

I am planning a live online group on a Thursday starting in September 2019. So a small band of us writers will be able to stay right at home and connecting across the world. Miraculous!

I’ve been testing it out and although it takes a few minutes to get used to, it’s viable writers’ group. You need a computer and we can practice before the course begins. There’ll be a Zoom link and all you do is click… and arrive in a room with other writers. It’s a visual, virtual conference room so we will all be able to see as well as hear each other.

Without having to hire a room, I can make the course inexpensive.

The main focus of this group is to find out what you really want or need to write next.  What do you want to say? What has been bugging you? What comes out when you write freely? We will be doing some exercises to discover what’s there at the moment.

In this short course we will try different forms. What suits your voice now?  Fiction? The personal essay or memoir? Poetry? Script? Song? Nothing is off limits in this experimental phase. Lets push the boat out and see where we go. All I ask is that you take the writer inside of you and our room-mates seriously.

Lately, I’ve been working on something I can only call  a hybrid. After editing my historical novel this spring I am beginning to throw myself into something different. I don’t quite know what to call it yet except experimental.  It could be an essay. The word comes from the French Verb essayer meaning to try.  All we can do, right?

The course will cost £80 for four weeks and there is one concessionary place. Please email Josie Pearse to ask about that.

We will be a small group  – 6 at most – and the idea is to play with ideas and build support for your precious work. The next stage of the journey, should you want to carry on may in longer courses later in the study-year where we will look at techniques for developing work.

To join Finding your voice please email  Josie Pearse with a sentence or two about yourself and what makes you want to join this.