LEARN TO WRITE YOUR LIFE STORIES
It’s a creative act – writing down our thoughts, feelings and life events. Taking the blurred feeling of what disturbs us, and using the raw materials of the artist – metaphor, symbol, emotion, image – we can have a conversation with what we don’t know we don’t know. We get closer to the core of our life story. When we practise being in the ‘download’ of the creative space, we provide a conduit for new information. Material arrives on the page to help us understand who we are, how we got to this point and how to proceed.
While it may be therapeutic and have an element of catharsis, the process of writing a memoir is not therapy. Like all art, writing creates something that has a transformative effect through its own intrinsic value, turning straw into gold. By writing our life stories, we get to see them from a new perspective and are able to reflect upon them. Regular creative practice is a powerful tool to manage anxiety and to grow confidence.
We offer a variety of life writing courses in a range of formats – please have a look at the upcoming courses below and contact us with any questions you may have.
If learning how to write your life stories appeals to you, here are 5 different courses that approach life-writing from 5 different perspectives and entry-points. Our courses are open to all.
PLEASE CLICK ON ANY COURSE TITLE BELOW TO LEARN MORE.
We all have a story to tell from our own lives about how we became who we are. Stories about the way we were born, or about how someone helped us. About how we got ill, or overcame a terrible loss. Stories about how someone we loved hurt us, or how a political or spiritual circumstance almost broke us. Stories about how we were bullied, about how an accident changed the course of our lives, or about how we were able to make a difference in someone else’s life. These stories are often invisible to others. They might still influence the way we think and feel in ways we don’t fully understand.
Writing about your own life can help you connect with the story you are living and it can help to heal or manage the effects of trauma. It is a powerful way for us to communicate and to grow compassion for ourselves and for each other. The tools we need to write effectively are also tools that help us live more creatively and less anxiously. Whether you are writing fiction or plays or poetry, life writing skills can help you deepen observation of our human preferences, habits and tendencies, and how they impact on ourselves, other people, and the natural environment.
During the course we will find refreshing approaches to assist us in putting our personal stories down on the page.
Beginner writers are welcome and discounted and sponsored places are available to those in need.
Please bring a notebook and a pen, plus two objects from the period you want to write about – one that represents something you loved about it and one that represents something you disliked about that time.
We provide tea, coffee and snacks.
Upcoming Courses TBC
I want to share an approach
to poetry that’s taught me
how to play with rhythm
and meaning, following words
and traces of feeling
to make new tracks.
Acts of poetry guide me,
linking the tides of my body
and instinct with new ways
of thinking, moving across
from life to the page
Our poetry courses are open to all and discounted and sponsored places are available to those in need.
Course Facilitator: Dawn Garisch
Dates: Friday 27th and Saturday 28th November 2020
Times: 2pm to 6pm.
Course Fee: R900
Venue: The Muize, 18 Axminster Road, Muizenberg
Please book via firstname.lastname@example.org
This course can accommodate 8 participants with physical distancing.
Please note that Covid-19 measures will be exercised.
We all have unfinished business. We lie awake at night, not knowing how to proceed in a difficulty, our thoughts looping. We have done everything we can to try to resolve a seemingly insoluble problem. Writing can be helpful, bringing new information to the surface, changing anxiety into curiosity, and providing relief and well-being. We will start by identifying core conflicts in your life. These can feel too intransigent or overwhelming to write as memoir, or you might just want to explore them using a different tool. Giving the dilemma to fictional characters can provide the distance you need to expand and intensify the dramatic tensions, and to let the story unfold.
Imagination can switch off the rational, list-making, treadmill mind, allowing what we don’t know we don’t know about the situation to emerge.
You are welcome to stay with writing memoir as a means to explore and deepen your inquiry into the themes that bind your life. Beginner writers are welcome.
Upcoming Course TBC
What are you writing about underneath what you are writing about? What story are you living through memoir or fiction? What is the best way to tell it?
This course is for writers who have done a Memoir Course and already have a folder of work. Over five Thursdays, you will discover more about the relationship between form, content and the underlying theme, and how to tell the story more effectively.
As this is intensive small group work, numbers will be limited. Please commit to at least four of the five sessions, as this is a process that requires continuity.
Upcoming Course TBC
In this experimental and experiential writing course, we will explore our relationship with the natural world. We have done damage to ourselves and the environment by constructing the idea that human beings are separate from nature. Even our language betrays this attitude – we speak of nature and the environment as though it is ‘out there’.
Through experiential exercises and writing, we will explore how the built environment, consumerism, ideas about time, and our fears, anxieties, disgust and distrust keep us disconnected from resources that can nourish and support us.
The creative mind is a natural space where we can remake connections with the source of life as inclusive and sensory. Writing into our relationship with the elements, our habitat, natural cycles and with life in all forms can help us live in a responsive and responsible way, taking better care of the two homes we inhabit until we die – our bodies and the earth.
Upcoming Course TBC
Our memories of food: they can take us back to the heady aromas of our grandmother’s cooking, negotiations around the contents of lunchboxes, an incident at the family breakfast table, the stench of compulsory school dinners and the hollow pain of going without.
Is our first food memory that of our mother’s milk? Maybe so. Often, because nourishing food and adequate shelter tend to go together, good food memories are about a feeling of home – of warmth and belonging. These memories can both feed and comfort us.
Then there is the tyranny of the diet and the scale, the spiritual practice of the fast, the rituals of food around weddings and funerals, the rhythm and routine of preparation and mealtimes – these are imbued with aspects of our humanity that we can explore through writing.
In this course, based on our established Life Writing Memoir Course, we will use exercises to write stories that focus on all the senses and emotions conjured by food. We will share those memories and also share our food – bringing to the communal lunch table each day a simple edible memory, a part of who we are expressed in what we eat.
If you are interested in this course, please contact email@example.com.
Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. A deposit of R500 secures your place. Please send Proof of payment to the above address. Please use your full name and the course dates [eg: 5-9NOV] as your reference.
Name: Life Righting Collective; bank: ABSA (cheque account); branch: 632005; account 40 9382 6013
Discounted and sponsored places are available to those in need; an application form will be sent on request from email@example.com. Although the LRC would gladly accept every application, you may be placed on a waiting list as funds allow only limited sponsored places per course. We ask you to consider deeply how you value the course and to ask for your discount accordingly. We also ask anyone who is offered such a place to honour this gift through full attendance, as these opportunities are limited and last minute cancellations usually result in lost opportunities for others.
- Your place is reserved when you have paid a R500 deposit and sent Proof of Payment (with your full name and course dates as your reference)
- Participants can sponsor a place with an additional R800 contribution.
- Request an application form for discounted places on our courses.
- Honour your discounted or sponsored place.