2023 Summer Workshops
Emily Dickinson wrote, “Tell all the truth/but tell it slant.” This workshop will offer narrative strategies for digging deeper in memoir and personal essay by investigating Dickinson’s dictum. How does a piece of writing, whether personal essay or memoir transform itself from personal experience into artfulness? How can a fictive voice be called upon in a memoir piece? We all know that the most convincing writing comes from urgent subject matter. How do we take this material and shape it into art. I will offer writing prompts and exercises to generate new material and to reshape existing material. We will examine student writing as well as look at select poems, memoir pieces, and personal essays as guideposts for transformation. We will be reading Vivian Gornick’s The Situation and the Story and also will use examples from Poetry Will Save Your Life and History of a Suicide.
Susanna Sonnenberg is the author of two memoirs, Her Last Death and She Matters: A Life in Friendships, both New York Times Best Sellers. She has taught at FAWC since 2017. She lives in Montana, where she teaches online writing classes. Find her at susannasonnenberg.com.