- June 10-12, 2016
- 7:00 pm to 5:30 pm
Desai Matta Gallery (1st Floor)
CIIS Main Building
1453 Mission Street,
San Francisco, CA 94103
How do we connect our personal stories to the wider world of ideas? What can we learn through the act of writing about the experiences, circumstances, and culture that shaped us? How can we begin to transform ourselves and society by writing the unsayable, or even the unspeakable? Writers with any level of experience who are ready go deep, fast are invited to show up empty-handed to this workshop.
The workshop starts Friday evening with essayist and Pulitzer Prize finalist Richard Rodriguez in conversation with MFA Program chair Carolyn Cooke. Rodriguez is the author of major—and often provocative—autobiographical works that explore complex moral, social, and political issues through the lens of his own experience.
One of America's great living prose stylists, Rodriguez is a master at naming mysteries, challenging orthodoxies, and using the expertise of otherness and hard experience to shape and enlarge life itself.
On Saturday the workshop continues with a dive into an intimate, intense, and productive session, focusing on either a one-act play or monologue, or a lyric essay or short story rooted in personal experience. With support, structure, and inspiration from the workshop facilitators—and the energy of the group—you'll produce, refine, and revise an original work on Saturday and Sunday to be read or performed on Sunday afternoon. Think of it as a "lost weekend" dedicated completely to dramatizing your experience and sharing your new work.
"Writing Your Life" is designed both for beginning and experienced writers.
Choose from one of two tracks:
The One-Act Play or Monologue with Lynne Kaufman
The one-act play or dramatic monologue is a crash course in the arc of story. Learn how to structure a beginning, middle, and an end. Create a dramatic zone for tension, conflict and catharsis, or explore the depths of character through revealing dialogue. See and hear your play enacted by your fellow writer-performers, and perform new works-in-progress.
Lynne Kaufman is a nationally award-winning playwright. Her twenty full length plays have been produced in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York City, and Washington D.C. Her play, "Acid Test", about the life of Ram Dass, ran for over a year at The Marsh Theatre in San Francisco and Berkeley. Most recently she wrote the book for a musical, PAINTING AMERICA about the life and work of Norman Rockwell, which premiered at Theatreworks Silicon Valley's New Works Festival. She is also the author of three published novels and dozens of short stories.
The Lyric Essay or Short Story with Carolyn Cooke
The essay and short story are ideal forms for exploring deep material from life, and for communicating intimately with the larger world. Learn how to render experience in the fluid medium of literary time, and how to recreate aspects of reality through language, scene, dialogue, and revealing detail. Invite ideas and associations to surround your work with larger meaning.
Carolyn Cooke is Chair of the MFA Programs at CIIS. Her novel Daughters of the Revolution was listed among the best novels of 2011 by the San Francisco Chronicle and The New Yorker Magazine. Her short fiction, collected in The Bostons, won the PEN/Bingham Award, and has appeared in AGNI, The Paris Review, Ploughshares, Best American Short Stories, and O. Henry Prize Stories. Her new collection, Amor & Psycho, is now in paperback.
To see details for the talk only, click here.
This course is also available for one unit of academic credit to CIIS students. Must attend full weekend.