Cultivating Our Voices:
Writing Life Stories for Social Change
SEPTEMBER 5 - OCTOBER 16, 2018
When we discover, explore, and (re) connect with our voices—that perspective, knowledge, and expression that is uniquely ours—our life stories become intimate and emotionally powerful. We begin to offer a glimpse of what it’s like to live the complex constellation of privileges and disadvantages, joys and heartbreaks that are exclusive to each of us. Embarking on this type of self-reflective inquiry not only has the potential for healing and developing a greater understanding of one’s self and experience, it also holds the potential to open the hearts and consciousness of others, becoming narrative catalysts for change. Throughout this 6-week course, we will explore our various life experiences as a springboard for generating life stories that reflect our distinctive voices. By the end of the course, you will have a body of new writing, a clearer understanding of your writer voice, and an enhanced ability to connect with your audience. This course is also beneficial for non-writers, such as storytellers and other performers, who want to generate new material to use in their work.
Week by Week
Week 1: (Re) Connecting with Our Voices
This week we will explore the concept of voice and begin (re) connecting with and understanding our own.
Week 2: Naming Our Uniqueness
This week we will reflect on our various identities, as well as notions of belonging and difference.
Week 3: Memory, Imagination & Truth-Telling
This week we will consider the co-mingling of memories and imagination in our writing and what it means to tell the Truth in story.
Week 4: Stories of Home & Family
This week we will write stories of home and family, diving into our formative narratives.
Week 5: Stories of Places and Locations
This week we will contemplate how our voices are shaped by the places we come from and how the intersection of place and identity informs our language and stories.
Week 6: Stories of the Past Illuminating the Present
This week we will explore how stories of our past can illuminate the present as a basis for connecting with the reader/audience, building empathy and understanding.
Who Should Take This Class?
This class is ideal for a wide variety of people, including poets and writers of all genres, storytellers, healing arts professionals, teachers, songwriters, and anyone interested in reflecting on, writing about, and sharing their personal experiences as a way to make connection, build community, and foster understanding of self and others.
This is an online class. Each week, you will receive a new collection of resources, reflections, discussion questions, and writing prompts. Students should expect to spend 3-5 hours per week perusing resources and readings, participating in discussions, and engaging the writing prompts. From our interactions, we sustain a welcoming and inspiring community together.