July 24 @ 1:00 pm EDT - 3:30 pm EDT
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Writing About Parents
In writing creative nonfiction, what could have more primacy and urgency than writing about our parents? Whether or not we know our birth parents, were adopted, have a close relationship with one or both parents, or no longer speak to them, and no matter if they are alive or dead, we are all here because we come from some type of parents.
Those of us drawn to memoir, in particular, often emerge from complicated family dynamics and are eager to write about these relationships, however fraught they may be. Writing powerful, transformative, and trustworthy renditions of our families means that we must wrestle long and hard with how to write about our parents. Neither pure angels nor demons, we have to explore their multidimensionality to produce more credible and moving writing.
Deborah J. Cohan draws on her background as a writer, teacher, sociologist, counselor, and group facilitator both for abuse intervention classes and for workshops related to self care and creativity. Her experience in these different and overlapping arenas will support participants to think about how to free themselves of the constraints that so often hinder writers tackling family relationships.
This session explores the following issues: navigating the writing about parents with tender curiosity and care; considering the responsibilities of the author in writing about parents; carefully thinking through motivations for writing about parents; and how to take care of ourselves when (re)writing our past.
Cohan will share a bit from her memoir related to caregiving for a father she adored and who was also abusive, and she will share a bit about her next book related to her mother and creativity. The class will engage in spirited discussion with ample time reserved for participants to ask questions, and there will be time devoted to writing prompts in which students will write, reflect, and share as they wish.
Please note: it will be expected that all participants have cameras on during this virtual session and will help to hold the integrity and confidentiality of this space for talking about these complicated topics.
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.