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Class Descriptions

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A message from Tammy regarding which workshop to begin with:

If you are brand new to writing, let me suggest a gentle way to get in to the process of writing would be to start with one of Terrie Andrade’s Journaling classes.  Journey to Self is a beautiful way to begin to share and write in a small intimate group.  I offer many wonderful memoir classes, but sometimes when you see the list, you ask yourself… where do I begin! These are my recommendations, but they are only suggestions.

For memoir writers, I recommend beginning like this:

1. Writing Your Life

2. Telling Your Truths

3. Memoir Block

Now I also teach a Memoir Essay class, Summer Rewind (4 workshops I taught during the summer), Healing Heart, Legacy Series.  All of those workshops will also help you in your writing of your memoir, but if you are looking for a how to and how to become a better writer with lessons the above 3 classes I wrote about will get you on your way!  If you like creative writing, may I suggest the Amherst Method.  Read the description below, but it is a great class that gets your imagination going and your pen writing!

 

Writing Workshop Descriptions

Writing Your Life Story Series

This is a 12 week course divided into 3 monthly sessions. You can take them in any order. When you are ready to start your memoir, this is a great class to begin with.  I recommend taking this class and then move on to the Telling Your Truth Series.  This course will take you step by step into the process of memoir writing.  We will discuss the people, places and events that shaped our lives.  Each week we will do in class writing as well as writing to be completed for the next week.  We will begin with forming your mission writing statement all the way through to publishing options.

The Memoirist’s Essay Series

This is an 8 week course divided into 2 monthly sessions.  You may take them in any order.  Each week we will focus on a different aspect of a memoirist’s essay including contemplative, personal, spiritual, etc.  This workshop will guide you in the art of contemplating and writing.  Annie Dillard has written of the essay form:

“There’s nothing you cannot do with it; no subject matter is forbidden, no structure is proscribed.  You get to make up your own structure every time, a structure that arises from the materials and best contains them.  The material is the world itself, which, so far keeps on keeping on.”

Healing Heart Workshop

This is a 4 week workshop that will focus on the power of writing and letting go.  The goal of this workshop is to help you write your truth.  We will explore how to write about unresolved conflicts, healing past hurts and finding value, meaning and inspiration for your life.  You will find that writing will put you on a path to a deeper and greater healing than you ever thought possible.

Legacy Writing

This all new legacy class will open up your experiences even deeper.  Instead of spending one week writing about childhood experiences each section will dive into four weeks of discovery.  Each topic will consist of a 4 week focus:

  • childhood
  • adolescence
  • early adult/middle adult

(Each of these will consist of a 4 week workshop.)  This class will spend the majority of the time writing and sharing our experiences with each other.  If you like to spend time writing and sharing — these workshops are for you!

Telling Your Truths (Advanced Workshop)

If you are interested in how to write better, and if you have been writing with me for awhile this is an excellent class.  I recommend taking the Write Your Life classes before enrolling in this workshop.  This workshop will focus inward as we identify and write expository writing exercises on personal stories.  As we look inward we will learn how to honestly write our truths.  While this is still memoir, it is considered contemporary memory which consists of retrospection as an essential part of our story.  Class structure will be in the format of active note-taking as well as in class writing, discussion and weekly take home assignments.

During the course of the full eight weeks (part 1 and part 2 are 4 weeks each), we will cover various themes such as: family stories, myths, the form, discovering your truth, scene and summary, sensory writing, ethics in writing, the inner work in writing, and how to ground your story.

Journaling: Journey to Self

terrieTaught by certified instructor Terrie Andrade

Creative and stimulating instruction designed to help acknowledge and then communicate our personal life journey…via the written word. Whether you write for healing, spiritual enlightenment or just fun… you are a writer. There is an artist in each of us and with support for the task, the artist’s heart is revealed in his journal.

Terrie Andrade is both a student and teacher of the written word. She is also an advocate for the benefits of keeping a written journal as a tool for self-growth and the art of knowing oneself. Terrie is a certified instructor of “Journal to the Self” workshops focusing on natural and personal writing. She lives in Palm Springs with her husband Ruben and their two Shih-tzus…. Belle and Chloe.

Summer Rewind 2013

This 4 week workshop will feature the workshops that I taught during my summer series.  Here are the 4 classes I will be teaching:

  • Writing into your pain
  • Writing towards a more disciplined writing life
  • Developing our writing craft
  • The power of storytelling, with the use of journaling to memoir

This workshop is perfect if you missed one or all of my summer series!

Memoir Block Structure

(My recommendation for taking this class would be after you have taken the Write Your Life and Telling Your Truths class)

These workshops are divided into 3 4 week sessions.  You can take these in any order you would like.

#1-1 Fundamental Building Blocks and Ways to Begin
#1-2 Childhood in Memoir
#1-3 Flashbacks
#1-4 Timeline Construction

#2-1 Flashforward Cautions
#2-2 Telling the Backstory
#2-3 Finding your Theme
#2-4 Memoir Writing Tips

#3-1 Creating Story Arc and the Narrative Arc
#3-2 Balancing the Light and Dark Stories
#3-3 Freedom to Write your Truths
#3-4 Your Journey, Your Craft

Amherst Method Workshops

You have a voice, just as surely as you have a face, and it is already full of character, passionate and nuanced and beautiful.
—Pat Schneider

The Five Essential Affirmations

  1. Everyone has a strong, unique voice.
  2. Everyone is born with creative genius.
  3. Writing as an art form belongs to all people, regardless of economic class or educational level.
  4. The teaching of craft can be done without damage to a writer’s original voice or artistic self-esteem.
  5. A writer is someone who writes.

Whether your purpose for writing is an artistic expression, communication with friends and family, the healing of the inner life, or achieving public recognition for your art – the foundation is the same: the claiming of yourself as an artist/writer and the strengthening of your writing voice through practice, study, and helpful response from other writers.

Unique to the AWA method is that everything in the writing workshop is treated as fiction, to minimize the personal vulnerability of the writer.

Treating all writing produced in the workshop as fiction means that everything is a story and that there is a speaker in each piece, whether poem, novel or memoir who tells the story.  That speaker is created by the writer, and is separate from the writer, even if the speaker is I.  Treating everything as fiction keeps the focus on the writing, rather than on the person who did the writing.  It frees the writer from the confines of memory and gives you a safe place to experiment.  This method creates a whole new environment in which you, as the writer, feels safe to dig as deeply into your own experience as you want to go, and express yourself as creatively as you can.  You, as the writer can then begin to write in a whole new way when you don’t have to anticipate how others will think or feel about you.  There is no need to self-censor if none of the writing is taken as truth.  A writer can be as wild and outrageous or emotional and imaginative as they want to be.  When the writer is not afraid of having their personal experience judged, they can continue to explore it in new ways, which may involve more creative and or emotional risk.  This practice will allow both deeper writing, and deeper potential growth through the writing.

There is no right or wrong way to respond to a prompt.  Write whatever comes to you.  If you stop your thought process, you can always continue and say part two.  You can have as many parts as you like.  The key is to just keep your pen moving.    Once the time is up we will all have the chance to share.  You always have the option to “pass,” but let me encourage you to each share.

What happens next is that we can respond to the writing.  When we respond we address the writer as the narrator.  Never say “you.”  As a listener, you want to respond to:

  • What did you like?
  • What stays with you?
  • What was strong?

Remember: it is important to remember that what needs to come up, comes up.

Testimonials for Amherst Method Class:

Thanks for your brilliant Amherst course-definitely the best I’ve taken.It’s  subtle and grows on you.  I can hide within it and write in the third person and no one knows whether it’s fact or fiction. It’s all about  feelings. We all “shared” our thoughts and were  able to comment about what we liked in the piece, what the strongest point was and what we would best remember. My fellow writers definitely inspired me and I’ve done the best writing of my life. Peter McCabe Palm Springs, CA

Amherst writing is a spontaneous response to a previously unknown prompt.  It’s a gut reaction that presents an opportunity to write in a variety of styles and genre, for the pure joy of writing. Jo Anne Gill Palm Springs, CA

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"Because of Tammy I have found confidence in my writing and feel blessed to be honored in such a way. I have found my voice. I have found freedom! I recommend anyone for whatever reason to expand their life and sign up for her writing workshops or classes. You'll be amazed at how good you are and how everyone has a story worth telling. Sign up and set your voice free!"
Wendy Price, Palm Desert, CA

Read More: Writing Teacher Reviews

Amherst Writers & Artists

Tammy L. Coia is an AWA Affiliate, certified to lead workshops in the AWA method as described in Writing Alone & With Others by Pat Schneider, Oxford University Press.