To many writers, both accomplished and beginning, the idea of writing a song can seem both inviting and mysterious. In this class we’ll demystify the process as we explore ways to begin our own songs, including learning the basic building blocks, why and how specific songs we know & love appeal to us and applying that information to creating our own songs, specific writing prompts that engage our imagination in ways we might not have experienced before, collaborating with other participants, and revising and completing a song. You¹ll also have an opportunity to submit your work-in-progress for review. Plan on spending at least 1-3 hours on class assignments (although with songwriting, there’s really no time limit & will hopefully be an ongoing process long after the class is complete!). 

In this age of social media people often have their phones out snapping photos of themselves and documenting their daily lives through pictures. How often, though, do we stop to really look at these digital narratives and explore what they mean to us? This course uses a series of paired photography “selfies” and writing prompts to explore our identities and bodies. We will investigate the ways we view ourselves, and how we present ourselves to others. There will be ‘homework’ of selfies and writing for participants to complete during weeks one, two, and three. Participants will have the opportunity to share this work with other participants if they so choose!

Creation begins in isolated moments and finds fulfillment in shared community experiences. Literary citizenship is a term that can refer to, according to Becky Tuch, “attending readings, subscribing to literary magazines, interviewing writers, reviewing books, reading a friend’s manuscript, blurbing books.” These are ways to support fellow writers and literacy. Explore ways these generous acts spread out into communities as support for an informed citizenship. Learn personal ways to engage in the public square of readings, social media, reviews, contests, and conferences. Learn ways the individual can keep artistic integrity and be effective in the cross-currents of public presentations of creative works.

This six week course explores the crafting and performance of personal stories for growth and community. We will focus on strengthening our imagination, story structure, emotional impact and performance skills. The class will be a balance of listening, reflecting, crafting and sharing. Our intent is to deepen awareness of the power stories play in personal and communal intellectual, emotional, and social development.