This class is for writers of all levels who want to hone the craft of writing personal stories that resonate with readers and are relevant in the larger world. While experience in workshop-style classes is a plus, it’s not necessary. We will explore the elements that make a strong personal essay, such as voice, structure, tone, the narrative arc, scene versus observation, and dialogue, with an overarching emphasis on elevating the language and prose. We’ll read and discuss essays by Joan Didion, David Sedaris, Jamaica Kincaid, Sei Shonagon, David Foster Wallace, Zadie Smith, and others as we study the wide variety of voices and forms within the genre of personal essay.
In this eight-week, generative course, short four-page essays will be assigned each week based on creative prompts. A large portion of our time together each week will be dedicated to workshopping longer pieces, so each student will have the opportunity to receive feedback from peers while honing their own editing skills. The objective of this class is to gain a better understanding of the craft and develop a more confident voice on the page. You will come away with several new pieces as well as direction and inspiration for revision—as you work toward the ultimate goal of getting the work published, which we will discuss in the last session.
Christie Grotheim’s debut novel, The Year Marjorie Moore Learned to Live, was published in 2019 by Heliotrope Books and was a finalist for best new novel from the Women’s Fiction Writers Association. Her stories have been featured in Salon.com, The New York Observer, Prometheus Dreaming, Mr. Beller’s Neighborhood, West View News, Petrolicious.com, and The Dodge, among others. In 2020, Grotheim and her husband relocated from Manhattan to Ashland City, where after a couple of long years of renovations and manual labor, she’s finally realizing her dream of hosting writers’ retreats on the property (Blue Spring Creek Retreats @bluepsringcreekretreats), in collaboration with The Porch (porchtn.org), where she’s also a creative writing instructor. See more of her work at www.christiegrotheim.com.
"Christie Grotheim provides incredibly helpful feedback and constructive ideas for students of all levels during class discussions. She is a thoughtful reader who provides great materials on elements of craft. I look forward to taking classes with her again!"
“Christie Grotheim’s experience as an author creates an atmosphere that is open and constructive, and, as a reader, she provides thoughtful critiques that help you reassess your own work with a fresh perspective. She is approachable and enthusiastic. But, equally important, she’s a fun hang!”
"Christie's class was the perfect mix of instruction, practice, and discussion."