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Writing the Body, Pain and Illness 8-Week Multi-Genre Zoom Workshop, Starts Thursday, September 5th, 2024
Regular price
€461,95

Writing the Body, Pain and Illness 8-Week Multi-Genre Zoom Workshop, Starts Thursday, September 5th, 2024


Unit price per

Class Starts Thursday, September 5th, 2024

The class will meet weekly via Zoom (Thursdays, 7:00PM ET - 9:00PM ET).

Any questions about this class? Use the Chat Button (lower left) to talk with us.

Instructor Jenni Milton worked in book and magazine publishing at One Story, Oxford University Press, and Grove Atlantic. She earned her MFA at the Programs in Writing at UC Irvine, where she taught composition, fiction writing and literary journalism. In her final year of the program, she was Fiction Editor of the Pushcart Prize-winning journal Faultline.

This new course in the Embodied Writing Workshop Series will help students navigate the challenges of writing through the body, pain and illness. The workshop will follow the blueprint set forth in Felicia Rose Chavez’s The Anti-Racist Writing Workshop, centering and honoring each student’s embodied experience, voice and story.

How “strange indeed that illness has not taken its place with love and battle and jealousy among the prime themes of literature” writes Virginia Woolf in “On Being Ill.”

Fortunately, many writers have since remedied the historical lack of narratives whose central focus is the mind, body and spirit in turmoil—to name just a few: Akwaeke Emezi, Terese Marie Mailhot, Leslie Jamison, Esmé Weijun Wang, Sarah Manguso, and Porochista Khakpour, among others.

But while there may be more precedent for this kind of writing, the fact remains that pain, illness and even the most mundane bodily experiences tend to stubbornly resist our attempts to capture them in language.

Throughout the course, Jenni will assign readings from many authors she admires, seeking to complement the student work we are critiquing. Jenni also likes to gather reading recommendations from her students and include those as well.

COURSE OUTLINE:

Week 1 – Introductions and Overview of Anti-Racist Writing Workshop model: We will open with some freewriting exercises to help us get to know one another, go over the syllabus and discuss the parameters of this particular workshop environment, which centers the writer in all discussions of their work.

Week 2 – The absurdity/complexity/impossibility/necessity of narrating pain: We will open with a relevant freewriting exercise and in preparation for this class we will read Virginia Woolf’s On Being Ill and be prepared to discuss/write about it together. We will also workshop 1-2 writers, depending on the number of students in the class.

Week 3 – Writing the mind I: We will open with a relevant freewriting exercise and in preparation for this class we will read excerpts from Esmé Weijun Wang’s The Collected Schizophrenias and Terese Marie Mailhot’s Heart Berries and be prepared to discuss/write about these texts together. We will also workshop 1-2 writers, depending on the number of students in the class.

Week 4 – Writing the mind II: We will open with a relevant freewriting exercise and in preparation for this class we will read excerpts from Akwaeke Emezi’s Freshwater and be prepared to discuss/write about these texts together. We will also workshop 1-2 writers, depending on the number of students in the class.

Week 5 – Writing cancer: We will open with a relevant freewriting exercise and in preparation for this class we will read excerpts from Miriam Engelberg’s Cancer Made Me a Shallower Person and be prepared to discuss/write about this text together. We will also workshop 1-2 writers, depending on the number of students in the class.

Week 6 – Writing about inexplicable illness: We will open with a relevant freewriting exercise and in preparation for this class we will read excerpts from Porochista Khakpour’s Sick and Susannah Cahalan’s Brain on Fire and be prepared to discuss/write about these texts together. We will also workshop 1-2 writers, depending on the number of students in the class.

Week 7 – Writing the “wounded woman”: We will open with a relevant freewriting exercise and in preparation for this class we will read Leslie Jamison’s “Grand Unified Theory of Female Pain” and be prepared to discuss/write about this essay together. We will also workshop 1-2 writers, depending on the number of students in the class.

Week 8 – Writing the body in decline: We will open with a relevant freewriting exercise and in preparation for this class we will read excerpts from Sarah Manguso’s The Two Kinds of Decay” and be prepared to discuss/write about this memoir together. We will also workshop 1-2 writers, depending on the number of students in the class.

COURSE TAKEAWAYS:

  • Students will come away with a solid revision plan for at least one story, or chapter- or essay-length piece of prose, or a collection of a few poems, depending on the piece(s) they workshop.
  • Students will receive in-depth feedback from both their peers and instructor on the draft they workshop with the class. In some cases, the instructor may be able to provide feedback on additional drafts, either leading up to or following the students’ workshop. Rather than writing traditional critique letters to one another, students will write a critique letter to themselves at the end of the course. I encourage everyone to provide detailed feedback during workshop discussion, and some of that feedback may be in the form of a written note and/or marginal notes on the manuscript. However, I encourage my students to first and foremost apply the art of critique to their own work, using what they have learned in closely reading both the texts of their peers and of published authors.
  • It is required for students to submit some sort of feedback to their peers, whether this is in the form of marginal notes, a short written email, a voice-recording or video of the person speaking their thoughts aloud, etc. I try to accommodate various learning styles and preferred communication methods. 

TESTIMONIALS:

“Jenni’s class changed how I approach my writing as well as how I provide feedback to others. From using the The Antiracist Writing Workshop to cultivating an authentic and interactive workshop environment, Jenni empowered us to write our queer truth in all its human messiness. This workshop was also incredibly well-rounded: we were able to generate new work, receive specifically tailored feedback, and discuss contemporary queer art and lit.” —SG Huerta

“Working with Jenni provided me a safe, expansive space to approach my writing with vulnerability and clarity. Jenni encouraged us to feel more deeply, write more bravely, which showed in our pieces. She provided additional materials based on class conversations to draw connections between class and published work. I would jump at the chance to learn from her intelligence and kindness again!” —Shelley

“Embodying Queer Stories is such a joyful and generous space to write and workshop! Jenni is a thoughtful guide, and it's clear she chose our cohort with care. This was my first experience workshopping in an entirely queer space and it was AMAZING! I felt a greater sense of ease and intimacy knowing that the folks reading my work shared and valued our queer connection. Definitely get in on the next cohort!” —MP Vare

“Jenni is a thoughtful and attentive facilitator with a clear passion for teaching, leading workshops that allow participants to take equal part while steering conversation in a generative way. Her feedback was astute and warm, making me more excited about my writing process. She brings an abundance of care both to her students and to the work at hand, and was always so generous with her time.” —Theo L.

“Jenni's course kept autonomy and queerness at the center of our work, creating a safe and exploratory environment that helped me thrive in my writing process.” —BB

“Jenni's focus is not on teaching us to be better writers: it's on creating a space where we are able to define what ‘better’ means to us. By offering practical insights on how to become more attentive readers of our own and others' work, creating a container where each writer is allowed to be just where they are in the process, and treating everyone in the room as an expert, Jenni functions as a guide to help each writer succeed on their own terms.” —Lane S.

“Jenni was an excellent workshop leader. She had thorough and creative prompts ready to go at the beginning of class and facilitated fruitful discussion, offering her own expertise and making sure everyone got a chance to speak. She created a safe space during workshop and made sure no one felt uncomfortable reading their piece out loud or asking questions. On the weeks where we weren't workshopping a piece from someone in class, she shared pieces that were appropriate for the theme of the class and produced natural discussion and critique. She gave incredibly helpful feedback for my piece that I shared with the class, offering suggestions for improvement related to flow, form and word choice. I looked forward to attending workshop every week, and I hope to be able to take another class with Jenni in the future.” —Megan B.

“Jenni is an understanding, inspiring teacher who has so much to offer her students. She fosters a safe space to be vulnerable, share feedback and learn from different perspectives around you. Jenni was always available to help and discuss your work, and always led class with positivity and poise. I learned so much taking her class, and walked away with detailed feedback on my writing and new ideas of how to improve my work.” —Sam S.

"Jenni was a kind and thoughtful teacher who pushed us to articulate our work and was willing to spend time outside of our class reading drafts and giving feedback before our workshop. I appreciated the organization and structure of the class and the freedom she gave for us to plan our own workshops and guide our peers into and out of our writing. I felt so much ownership over my own work and enjoyed the broad range of genres explored in the class. Thanks, Jenni, for making my first ever writing class an enjoyable and non intimidating experience!" —Tova P.

ONLINE COURSE STRUCTURE:

This class meets weekly via Zoom. Come prepared for a super fun class with live interaction on Zoom each week and plenty of writing, reading, and talking!

PAYMENT OPTIONS:
Tuition is $495. You can pay for the course in full  or use Affirm to pay over time with equal Monthly Payments. Both options are available at checkout.
  • Instructor: Jenni Milton
  • Class Starts Thursday, September 5th, 2024
  • The class will meet weekly via Zoom (Thursdays, 7:00 PM ET - 9:00PM ET).
  • Tuition is $495.

Instructor Jenni Milton is a writer whose fiction aims to center the embodied experience of queer people. Her work is as much focused on how we navigate trauma and mental illness as it is on how we insist on love and joy in a world that is increasingly hostile toward us. Born in Rochester, NY, she studied at Connecticut College, Oxford University and the Columbia Publishing Course. After graduating, she worked in book and magazine publishing at One Story, Oxford University Press, and Grove Atlantic. She earned her MFA at the Programs in Writing at UC Irvine, where she taught composition, fiction writing and literary journalism. In her final year of the program, she was Fiction Editor of the Pushcart Prize-winning journal Faultline. She now works as an Associate Creative Director and plays violin with the New Amsterdam Symphony Orchestra. She has published work in Juked, A Distant Memory Zine and RipRap Journal, and is working on a novel and a short horror film.