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Saturday, April 7 • 12:45pm - 2:15pm
6E: How to Get *Really* Personal in Your Personal Essay
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Personal essays are, by their nature, about the personal, about you. But often, in personal narrative, despite one's best intentions, a narrator's voice can feel generic, superficial, or at an emotional remove; or, even worse, preachy, whiny or sentimental. In this session, we'll discover how to do the opposite: how to create a voice and technique that feels truly personal, one that is individualistic, honest, vulnerable, with a clear three-dimensional sense of the "I" character (you), and one that delves deeply into your deeply personal stories. This is what, in "The Situation and the Story," Vivian Gornick calls the presence of a "mind puzzling its way out of its own shadows—moving from unearned certainty to thoughtful reconsideration to clarified self-knowledge." Our method will read work by exemplary essayists, ranging from Jaquira Díaz, Cheryl Strayed, Lee Martin, and Brian Doyle, and then to try writing prompts that will force us to be daring, brutally candid, and create an intimate bond with our readers. You'll leave having written a few passages and stretched your voice.

avatar for Ethan Gilsdorf

Ethan Gilsdorf

A GrubStreet instructor since 2005, Ethan Gilsdorf is a journalist, memoirist, essayist, critic, poet, teacher, performer and nerd. He is the author of the travel memoir investigation Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks: An Epic Quest for Reality Among Role Players, Online Gamers, and... Read More →

Saturday April 7, 2018 12:45pm - 2:15pm EDT
St. James Room - 4th Floor
  Block 6, Lecture