To Catharsis & Beyond: a Micro-Memoir Flash Nonfiction 4-Week Generative Zoom Workshop with Mira Ptacin, Starts Tuesday, April 16th, 2024
Begins Tuesday, April 16th, 2024
Class will meet weekly via Zoom for 2 Hours on Tuesdays starting at 6:00PM - 8:00PM Eastern
Any questions about this class? Use the Chat Button (lower left) to talk with us.
Led by Mira Ptacin, 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.
The top tier objective for this class is to WRITE YOUR STORIES. The pieces you write will be short but potent, and each will be a thread of the tapestry that will be the final tapestry—a full micro memoir made up of many parts, all written by you. Through weekly Flash Nonfiction prompts, our class will be excavating your memory and pushing you to get it all on the page.
What is Flash Nonfiction? Flash Nonfiction essays are extremely short—often 750 words or less—true stories told concisely and movingly. This dynamic micro essay form can lead to inspiring results whether being used for reflective, autobiographical-like pieces or more urgent, in-the-moment pieces. Flash nonfiction essays can tackle the absurd and the profound, and are an invaluable method for nonfiction writers looking for a “side door” into stories that are too daunting to enter from the front.
Each week, class will begin with a brief lecture by the instructor, followed by writing prompts, and instructor-led group critiques. The writing prompts and exercises will be intended to liberate attendees’ creativity, provide literary distance and perspective, and open their eyes to possibilities that may not seem immediately obvious.
Week One: Class introduction and overview: what is the story I want to tell about myself? How can I explore my story fully and present it in the most compelling—and honest—way? Discuss the idea of “entering through the side door” when tackling personal stories. Writing prompts: Shortest of the short prompts and the value of lists. Six-word memoirs.
Week Two: In week two, we will be focusing on voice in writing: the rhetorical grab bag of tone, point of view, syntax, and vocabulary. Together, we’ll read brief pieces by Sandra Cicernos (My Name) and Catherine Petroski (Beautiful My Mane in the Wind). Our prompts this week will center around the particular voice of “youth” and the beginner’s mind.
Week Three: In week three, we will focus on truth-telling and the limits of creativity in creative nonfiction and memoir. We’ll read and discuss John D’agata’s battle/scandal with facts and fact-checkers, as well as Jo Ann Beard’s wise essay “Maybe.” Our writing prompts will introduce tools into your writing that allow freedom while simultaneously respecting the issues of ethics and loyalty to yours stories and your subjects.
Week Four: Week four focuses on architecture and assembly of stories. We will pay particular attention to structure, shape template, camera angles, linear movement vs. alternative construction of stories. Our prompts will focus on templates for writing that allow the author to meander and bounce all over the place like a pinball while still being contained, thus keeping the reader content.COURSE TAKEAWAYS:
- Crafting 8 powerful, moving flash nonfiction essays, plus more that can be developed into much longer bodies of work or complete as-is.
- A deeper understanding of storytelling dynamics though structure, voice, dialogue, and takeaway.
- Experience in group critique and editing experience.
- Learn techniques to expand your stories into longer works. A one-on-one zoom conference with your instructor.
This class will be a mixture of lectures, readings, discussions, and critique and will require active engagement in all of the above.
“I encourage writers of all levels to take class with Mira. Our class had writers with MFAs and dozens of books as well as writers who simply wanted help trying to find the right words. Mira’s thoughtfully designed coursework, readings and assignments, combined with her warmth, encouragement, and enthusiasm, made our class a place where students felt a sense of belonging, and where everyone could take risks. Our class has ended, but everyone wants to stay together and keep writing. Mira’s magic fosters that sense of community. Her expertise elevates everyone’s work.” —Jennie Burke
“Mira’s skill at creating a safe and open space for writing and sharing is unlike any class I have taken. She has an arsenal of unique, generative prompts; endless source material; and unlimited inspiration from her own life (and our lives!). I come away from each class with a flowering list of things to write, research, and read. Mira understands how to appreciate and talk about details in writing and to guide the class in sequence with generous and helpful critique. She is an ace at leading discussions which never feel rushed. She manages the class time so that everyone is heard and encouraged. I highly recommend this empathetic and whip smart teacher. Happy bonus: she is as cool as heck. As a professional writer, I was looking for an awakening about my craft and my career. I got more than I bargained for: a gentle nudge, a kick in the pants, and a warm embrace. Writers at any level would be lucky to attend one of Mira’s workshops.” —Laura Dower, author of more than 150 children’s books from Penguin, Capstone, Macmillan, Scholastic, Disney, and other publishers
“Mira’s micro-memoir class is powerful and empowering! Mira’s teaching has consistently helped me access my most true creative voice. Her prompts are pitch perfect—just the right balance of open-ended and focused. I come away from my time with her a wiser writer and full of inspiration. Mira’s feedback is encouraging and thoughtful; she’s authentically respectful, erudite, and has an infectious passion for the mot juste." —Polly Duff Kertis, writer and teacher.
“Mira is magical. I’ve taken a number of her workshops, and even had the fabulous good luck to study with her in Paris last year. I continue to be blown away by her effervescence, creativity, and the absolute joy she brings to each workshop. Her prompts are thoughtful and imaginative, and her insights are invaluable. Plus, she is simply the warmest, most encouraging and talented writer and teacher I have ever known. You will walk away from her class with renewed enthusiasm and love for the craft of writing. I cannot wait to take another workshop with her!” —Kristin Perpignano, writer and graphic designer
“It’s rare to come across a short writing class that leaves a long mark on my soul, but Mira’s did. Her prompts during class were unique, ones I’d not heard or written around before. And her gentle invitation for each of us to read aloud (if we wanted) led us to a place of unexpected closeness as a group of otherwise strangers. By the end of two hours, I couldn’t wait to read more of my classmates’ words, to give more time to the essay-lets I generated in class, and to sign up for more Mira. Time and money very, very well spent.” —Nikki Campo, writer.
"If you want to improve your writing, follow these steps: sign up for a class with Mira Ptacin, then do what she says. It’s that simple. Before enrolling in Mira’s class, I struggled to write anything personal, whether a short paragraph or a ten-page essay. I was timid, reserved, and uncomfortable sharing in public. Thankfully, Mira’s teaching completely changed my mindset. Through her technical skill, knowledge of the memoir genre, and unyielding empathy, she helped me break from my cocoon and share my story with the world. She is, without a doubt, the best writing teacher I’ve ever had. I can’t recommend her classes highly enough." —Matt Rocha, journalist“I will read anything Mira writes. Her words have the same effect as stepping into a hot bath, after standing under a spotlight — she calls attention to what ails us (often before other writers have dared to do so) and then says, here is how I am healing myself; how we can heal ourselves. She is also the rare writer who is as good a teacher (and finds teaching to be a calling) as she is a writer. She will forever be your champion and cheerleader and sounding board, and you will leave her classes feeling seen and invigorated and a little more sure of your creative worth. She’s a gift.” —Michelle Koufopoulos, writer and former Riverhead Books editor
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.
You can pay for the course in full or use Shop Pay or Affirm to pay over time with equal Monthly Payments. Both options are available at checkout.
- Instructor: Mira Ptacin
- Begins Tuesday, April 16th, 2024
- Class will meet weekly via Zoom for 2 Hours on Tuesdays starting at 6:00PM - 8:00PM Eastern
Contact us HERE if you have any questions about this class.