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by Writing Workshops Staff

2 months ago

Meet the Teaching Artist: Micro-Memoir & Flash Nonfiction with Mira Ptacin

by Writing Workshops Staff

2 months ago

Meet the Teaching Artist: Micro-Memoir & Flash Nonfiction with Mira Ptacin

by Writing Workshops Staff

2 months ago

Dive into the world of storytelling with award-winning author Mira Ptacin in her upcoming 4-week class, To Catharsis & Beyond: a Micro-Memoir Flash Nonfiction Generative Zoom Workshop. Mira, acclaimed for her memoir Poor Your Soul and the genre-blending The In-Betweens, invites participants to explore the art of crafting potent micro memoirs that capture the essence of pivotal life moments. Drawing from her diverse literary background, Mira offers a unique blend of insight, inspiration, and practical guidance for writers of all levels.

In this immersive workshop, participants will uncover the power of Flash Nonfiction, a dynamic form of storytelling characterized by its concise and evocative nature. Through weekly prompts and exercises, Mira will guide students in excavating their memories and weaving them into compelling narratives. From exploring voice and tone to delving into the nuances of truth-telling in creative nonfiction, each week offers a rich exploration of the craft, culminating in a deeper understanding of storytelling dynamics.

Expect to emerge from this workshop with more than just a collection of essays; Mira's course promises to equip participants with the tools to expand their stories into longer works while honing their editing and critique skills. Through lectures, readings, discussions, and one-on-one sessions, students will engage in a journey of self-discovery and literary exploration, uncovering the stories that lie within and learning how to bring them to life on the page. Whether you're a seasoned writer or just beginning your journey, *To Catharsis & Beyond* offers a transformative experience that will leave you inspired to share your own unique narrative voice with the world.

Hi, Mira. Please introduce yourself to our audience.

Hello! My name is Mira Ptacin, I love all dogs and most people. I'm a memoirist and a narrative journalist, writing instructor, editor, and gentlewoman farmer on a tiny island in Maine.

What made you want to teach this specific class? Is it something you are focusing on in your own writing practice? Have you noticed a need to focus on this element of craft? Or is this just your jam and you love it?

Facilitating memoir writing is my jam, particularly flash nonfiction classes. A good story should have a story question that it’s going to answer, and each sentence, each word, each literary flourish should inch the reader closer and closer to answering that question. I learned this in my own practice, and as a form of altruism, I love helping students find the beating heart of their own stories.

Give us a breakdown of how the course is going to go. What can the students expect? What is your favorite part about this class you've dreamed up?

We are going to hit 'em with a heeeeee. I strongly believe that by entering the side door of one's story rather than going straight through the front door, students are going to be blown away by what they exorcise out of their minds and spirits. I love the tears that come in classes--catharsis always happens in my classes, so do tears--and what comes after the tears. Those are the best parts of the class: catharsis and polishing. 

What was your first literary crush?

Margaret Wise Brown comes in first and still is my supreme. Then came Jeff Noon, Soren Kierkegaard, Virginia Woolf, Michel Foucault, Simone de Beauvoir, Gary Paulson, Peter Spier. 

What are you currently reading?

Martyr! by Kaveh Ekbar, and The Crane Wife by CJ Hauser

How do you choose what you're working on? When do you know it is the next thing you want to write all the way to THE END?

I know it is when I can't run away from it, and through it, it explains my current way of existing and understanding my world.

Where do you find inspiration?

Books! Nature! Interacting with people I don't know very well. And very much: the island on which I live and love.

What is the best piece of writing wisdom you've received that you can pass along to our readers? How did it impact your work? Why has this advice stuck with you?

"...not the short, frenzied busts of emotion but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime." This is a quote by Adlai E. Stevenson II on patriotism, but I apply it to writing; I'm currently no patriot.  

What is your favorite book to recommend on the craft of writing? Why this book?

Several Short Sentences about Writing by Verlyn Klinkenborg  

Bonus question: What’s your teaching vibe?

I am very loving, energetic, curious, youthful and genuine. 

Learn more about working with Mira:

You can learn more about Mira's upcoming Zoom class, To Catharsis & Beyond: a Micro-Memoir Flash Nonfiction 4-Week Generative Workshop, and sign up if interested.


Instructor Mira Ptacin is the author of the award-winning memoir Poor Your Soul (Soho Press, 2016), which was named a best book of the year by Kirkus Books, where it received a rare “starred” review. She’s also the author of the genre-blending book of feminist history, memoir, and ethnography, The In-Betweens: The Spiritualists, Mediums, and Legends of Camp Etna (Liveright-W.W. Norton, 2019), which the New York Times lauded as the best book to read during a pandemic. Mira’s writing frequently appears in the New York Times, New York Times Book Review, Vogue, Poets and Writers, Harper’s, Tin House, LitHub, and more. She received her MFA from Sarah Lawrence College, where she was editor-at-large of their literary magazine, LUMINA. Mira lives on Peaks Island, Maine, and is currently working on her next book.  

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