Includes a complimentary subscription to Memoir Journal. Students should bring a brown bag lunch. 

Maximum enrollment 12, by advance registration only.

The essential trait of the poet, for John Keats, is the capacity for “being in uncertainties, Mysteries, doubts without any irritable reaching after fact and reason.” The uncertainty Keats speaks of is not a blandly passive “what.ev.er,” but rather an actively curious posture, an empathic receptivity, and flexibility of response.

In writing memoir, as well, an adventuresome relationship with doubt and uncertainty helps us find a way into writing that considers the “story” in an open and fresh way, and helps us see experience prismatically.

What Robert Motherwell said of painting is perhaps true of tolerating uncertainty as well:  it cannot be taught, but it can be learned. This workshop will be analytical, experimental/ experiential, and generative. In our discussion, we will draw upon practices and points of references from other arts and sciences to cultivate strategies for negotiating friendly obstacles in the writing process.

For more information, contact Rae Gouriand at rgouirand@memoirjournal.com

Here’s the Emily Dickinson Poem from which the title for the workshop comes:

I felt a Funeral, in my Brain,
And Mourners to and fro
Kept treading – treading – till it seemed
That Sense was breaking through –  

And when they all were seated,
A Service, like a Drum –  
Kept beating – beating – till I thought
My Mind was going numb –  

And then I heard them lift a Box
And creak across my Soul
With those same Boots of Lead, again,
Then Space – began to toll,

As all the Heavens were a Bell,
And Being, but an Ear,
And I, and Silence, some strange Race
Wrecked, solitary, here – 

And then a Plank in Reason, broke,
And I dropped down, and down –  
And hit a World, at every plunge,
And Finished knowing – then –