Flannery O’Connor said that anyone who survived childhood has enough information to write for the rest of his or her life. It’s true. We all have stories. The question is: what stories do we want to tell? The process of writing life stories guides us to dig deep and examine what is important and unique to each individual. This excavation requires a sharp focus and propels both beginning and advanced writers forward. Life Story writing lets us know ourselves and others, gives us direction, and offers up the seeds of inspiration.
I have taught Life Stories for several years and have been fascinated to witness the tremendous support and encouragement that evolves within a group exploring this kind of writing. My students wanted more and asked for the next level. The Life Stories: Intermediate is the result of those requests. The five-session workshop begins Thursday, November 3 and will be held at The Writer’s Center, Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts in Annapolis. Students will learn how to make their story accessible to the reader including the use of fictional techniques — character development, dialogue, plot and endings.
We will also address a dilemma I often encounter. Life story writers tend to amass several disparate pieces and are unsure of how to put them all together. For that reason, we will concentrate on discovering the themes and threads that tie many stories into a unified whole.
Whether you choose a memoir, blog, letter to your granddaughter, or want the impetus to begin a short story or novel, life story writing gathers together what is worth telling. It is the tale of where we come from and who we are.
Lynn Schwartz is the workshop leader for Life Stories: Intermediate, which will take place on Thursdays in Annapolis from 6:30-9 p.m. beginning 11/3. You can sign up for her workshop here.
Lynn Schwartz’s plays have been performed in Atlanta and New York City, including the Bruno Walter Auditorium at Lincoln Center. Her stories have appeared in literary journals and she has authored numerous lifestyle and life story features. She founded the Temple Bar Literary Reading Series in New York City and received an Individual Artist Award in Fiction from the Maryland State Arts Council. She holds a M.A. from The City College of New York, is a graduate of The Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theater, and teaches at St. John’s College. Visit her Web site: www.writerswordhouse.com