It's challenging enough to write our own life stories, but when we add our kids to the mix, the prospect may seem especially daunting. Our protective instincts hinder our ability to write incisively and with honesty, but this workshop will show you how to relax those inhibitions and tell your parenting stories with verve.
After reading essays by authors such as Rumaan Alam, Andre Dubus III, Leslie Jamison, and Marie Myung-Ok Lee, we'll discuss parenthood as an intersectional space, the zone where our identities, values, and politics are enacted and embodied, and we'll explore strategies of how to unpack and examine these elements in our own work. Special attention will be paid to the challenges and responsibilities of creating characters of our family members in our essays or memoirs, and we'll discuss where and how to pitch publications when the time is right.
Of course, a big impediment to writing with kids can sometimes be the children themselves. Between work and home life, it might feel impossible to find even a few moments to yourself each day to relax, let alone to think and write in privacy. Part of this six-week course will be spent talking about strategies to carve out time to write, and also, via essays by Lev Grossman and Camille T. Dungy that analyze the craft of writing side by side with the labor of parenting, examining how our role as a parent can deepen our commitment to creativity, and yield work of great nuance and sensitivity. These strategies will be put into practice, as students will have three opportunities to submit original nonfiction to be workshopped in a low-stress, highly supportive environment.
And that’s the final, and perhaps most important, aspect of this class: developing a community that supports you as both a caregiver and a creative person.
This course is designed for writers for writers of all levels, and caregivers of every age, shape, and form.
Class meetings will be held over video chat, using Zoom accessed from your private class page. While you can use Zoom from your browser, we recommend downloading the Zoom desktop client so you have access to all platform features.
- Read works of creative nonfiction about caregiving and parenting, and discuss them in an environment with other parent-writers
- Write and workshop three short essays about yourself as a parent or your family life, either inspired by prompts or on subjects of your own choosing
- Build a supportive network of parents and writers
- 10% discount on all future Catapult classes
I'm keeping in mind that this is a course geared toward writers who might already feel very busy because of work/family responsibilities, but ideally students will read two essays for the three classes where they are not workshopping pieces. For the three classes where they are workshopping pieces, they'll have work to submit and their fellow students' work to read and provide written and verbal feedback on.
Class 1: On Becoming a Parent
Class 2: Race, Gender, and Power in Parenting Relationships
Class 3: Workshop #1
Class 4: Small Moments of Embodied Joy
Class 5: Workshop #2
Class 6: Workshop #3
Brian Gresko is a widely published writer and editor of the anthology When I First Held You: 22 Critically Acclaimed Writers Talk About the Triumphs, Challenges, and Transformative Experience of Fatherhood. He cohosts Pete’s Reading Series, the longest running literary series in Brooklyn, New York. You can find him online at briangresko.com.
"Brian's supportive listening and willingness to see the potential value of his student's ideas created the perfect atmosphere, encouraging our creativity and imagination. His class was well organized, extremely well-informed and offered plenty of practical details and advice about publishing."
"I took Brian's workshop in non-fiction and worked on two pieces with the class, while also reading and giving feedback on students' work. That experience reignited my writing process in a serious way. I continued to work on the second piece from the class with Brian one-on-one, and he encouraged me to submit it for publication. He helped me understand the submission process, and tracked down contacts at the publications on my short list. That piece kinda blew up on the Internet and the next thing I know I have a literary agent and am working on a full-length book project. Will you get an agent by taking Brian's class? Unclear. But you will gain an honest understanding of both your strengths and tics as a writer, and hopefully a kick in the motivation pants while you're at it."
"In Brian's class, I felt like I “leveled up,” learning creative strategies to organize and make my work more readable and interesting. I gained an excitement and enthusiasm for writing that I didn't have before - an energy that I plan to keep flowing now that the class is done!"