Learning to write comes from reading, both the work of published writers and of our peers, and from using one’s powers of insight and creativity to analyze what one reads and figure out why it works when it does and what is missing when it doesn’t. This is where knowledge is gained, and it’s slow and frustrating, nebulous, diffuse, much less direct and directed than having someone write Great! in the margins of a story ….
Jo Ann Beard, “Close,” Festival Days
When the pandemic required us to rethink our offerings at Juncture, we developed a series of in-depth Zoom workshops designed to help writers reimagine the possibilities of the memoir form, and their own work. Our first series—featuring explorations of topics ranging from obsession vessels and character development to writing about home, negotiating time, and making the most of the wide range of memoir forms—sold out. Interest in a second series was expressed and in response, we are launching a brand-new series called Read Write.


Nine separate sessions focusing on nine separate elements of craft, each uplifted by an essay or excerpt easily found online. Over the course of these 75-minute presentations, Beth will take a deep look at the central essay, discuss the tools of craft and wisdom the writer brought to the pages, and apply that wisdom to the participants’ own work, with prompts and suggestions. Among the topics: On writing childhood with Terrence Des Pres, On Writing the World with Elisabeth Tova Bailey, and On Writing Joy with Brian Doyle.


Each of the teaching sessions has been custom built by Beth to deeply explore the given topics. Short excerpts from more than 125 different memoirs will be shared over the course of the series. New definitions and perspectives on the risks, tools, pleasures, and possibilities of memoir and other truth-based literature will be shared. Exercises will be suggested. Sometimes Beth will use short excerpts from her own work to demonstrate a process or a technique (or a failure).


The sessions will be presented live via Zoom. An artful PDF featuring original photographs and illustrations will carry the concepts forward. Beth will present for approximately 55 minutes, leaving time for questions from participants during the last 20 minutes of the presentation.


We are also offering five new group critique sessions:


Each 4.5-hour Zoom critique sessions is limited to eight participants per session and conducted over the course of a single day, with a two-hour lunch break. Participants will submit up to 2,500 words of an essay or memoir-in-progress two weeks ahead of each session. Beth will distribute the manuscripts to other group members, provide an editorial letter in response to each manuscript, and manage a group conversation during which each writer will receive thirty minutes of focused response. Each critique session will begin with Beth’s comments on overall themes, patterns, and opportunities relevant to all participating writers. Beth will email her manuscript comments to each participant at the close of each session. Writing groups that wish to secure an entire session are encouraged to let us know. Our minimum is eight writers per session.

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