Saturday, November 11 @ 1:00 pm EST - 3:30 pm EST
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Writing About Caregiving
Caregiving can be conceptualized in many different ways. There is the caregiving that’s done for family members who are ill, elderly, and/or disabled and there’s also childcare. Caregiving is often fraught and underrecognized, carrying with it both private and public consequences. Typically, there is little preparation and structural support for unpaid family caregivers such as adult children caring for ill and elderly parents, or parents of children with severe special needs, or people caring for an ill or dying partner or spouse.
The experience of caregiving is further complicated by existing family and relational dynamics such as abuse, trauma, and divorce, and is made more complex as a highly gendered phenomenon. Issues of race, class, and sexuality often intersect in complex caregiving arrangements and relationships. And, some people involved in intimate caregiving are also in careers that revolve around caregiving such as medicine, education, pastoral care, etc. which makes caregiving feel even more 24/7. It is common and understandable for caregivers to feel a swirling mix of emotions such as grief, rage, guilt, and resentment among other things. The class will highlight some works of memoir that handle this especially well.
Taught by memoirist, sociologist, professor, and former counselor Deborah J. Cohan, participants in this class will be supported to think about how to free themselves of the constraints that so often hinder writers tackling topics related to caregiving. This session will be structured around questions that students bring and will specifically address writing and publishing about caregiving and how best to navigate that with care toward others and ourselves. Cohan will draw on her own experience with her memoir related to caregiving for an adoring and abusive father, and the class will engage in spirited discussion with ample time reserved for participants to ask questions, and some time may be used for students to write, reflect, and share as they wish.
Please note: This class or event will be held online (using Zoom or a similar live platform). To participate, students or attendees should have a stable internet connection. Class participants: you should have a computer or device with a webcam and microphone; and your Zoom link will be automatically sent to you after you register. Check your spam box if you don't see it.