Janet Thomas – The Art & Craft of Writing a Memoir
In writing memoir, we get to live our lives twice, complete with the grace of hindsight as well as with the honesty that makes each life compelling and true. This memoir workshop is about diving into the depths, where our own unique story reflects universal truth: “The deeper you go, the more universal you get.” Our stories save the world. When we write a memoir, and let the writing lead the way, we enter our lives in ways that deepen our appreciation of our own story, and one another’s stories. We broaden our relationship to the world within and the world without—for ourselves and for the reader. These are sound-byte disposable times. Memoir goes beyond texting, face-booking, emailing and tweeting. It is writing that matters and writing that lasts.
Language Note for Writing Workshops: In these writing workshops, I strongly recommend that participants consider writing in their first language. If we experienced our early lives in a language other than English, it is often that first language that leads the way into our deepest truths and memories. When writing is shared within the group (always voluntarily), it can be shared in the first language and then loosely translated into English. This gives writers access to the freedom and the rhythms of writing that come naturally through the body as well as through the reflections of the mind. Writing can always be translated into English, and grammar can easily be fixed, but to be fully recognized, the memories of heart, mind, and body often need expression through their first language of experience.
Janet Thomas has been teaching yearly workshops at Deer Park since 2009. Her books include, The Battle in Seattle—The Story Behind and Beyond the WTO Demonstrations, and Day Breaks Over Dharamsala—A Memoir of Life Lost and Found. She has written plays and poetry and was the editor of a travel magazine for five years. She lives and writes on an island off the coast of Washington State in the U.S.