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Write a personal essay!

Hi, there!

There are only two more weeks to sign up for my brand-spanking-new Intro to the Personal Essay class at The Writing Salon, and after an incredible, three-day weekend alone at a friend's palatial estate in Sonoma, doing nothing but researching, reading, and writing lesson plans (OK, maybe a little sunbathing on the deck)--as well as starting a new personal essay of my own--I am so excited to teach this. But I need more students! The Intro to Creative Writing class always fills up, which I understand--it cover a lot of territory for beginners. But all beginners have a particular story in mind, even if it's somewhat buried, that they want to tell--and the Intro to the Personal Essay class will take away the guesswork. There is a science to this thing.

We'll read essays by Maxine Hong Kingston, Eudora Welty, Scott Russell Sanders, and G.K. Chesteron. We'll also meet at a great time--mid-afternoon on Saturdays (2-4:30 p.m.), in a high-ceilinged, super cozy loft space in the Mission (at 19th and York, in the historic Mill Building), with coffee and tea in nice, heavy mugs provided.

Here's the official description from the Web site with the rest of the information ($185 for members, $215 for nonmembers). Go sign up!


Five Saturdays, Nov. 14-Dec. 19 (skip 11/28), 2-4:30 p.m. San Francisco
$185 members/$215 others

Have you always wanted to write about your crazy family? What about an accident that changed the course of your life? A discovery that changed your perception of the past? A mysterious neighbor whose comings and goings excite your imagination? If you know you want to write, but you don’t know where to start, this is your class. “By the end of class,” says Jenny Pritchett, “you’ll walk away with a rough draft of a personal essay.

“With the help of in-class writing exercises and discussions, we’ll bring your theme into focus; you may not be able to cover your entire family saga in 800 words, but you can write a funny, sad, poignant essay about the Christmas Eve your uncle got drunk and set in motion an irreparable series of events that affects your family to this day.

“We’ll expand your stories to get every last detail on the table, and through group work help each other unpack our memory suitcases. Finally, we’ll look at a series of effective published essays, examine the nuts and bolts of how they were put together, and discuss why–or why not–an essay pierces us to the core.”

Jenny Pritchett holds a degree in magazine journalism from Northwestern University and an MFA in creative writing from SFSU. She has published personal essays on Salon.com and in the San Francisco Weekly, Northwestern, Girlfriends, Bitch, and XY magazines. The former managing editor of Fourteen Hills, she has taught or lectured at SFSU, California College of the Arts, and Ex’pression College for Digital Arts. Her debut story collection, At or Near the Surface (Fourteen Hills Press), won the 2008 Michael Rubin Chapbook Award.