You have a story you’re burning to tell, but it is not yours alone. Other characters include family members or former family members—and whether they betrayed you, supported you, or were bystanders—they will be deeply affected by your portrayal of them on the page. Some writing teachers say, “It’s your story, and you get to tell it.” Or, “If he didn’t want you to write about what he did, he shouldn’t have done it.” Others insist that the privacy of the people in your life is an ethical priority that must be honored.
In this event, seven-time author Laura Davis (The Courage to Heal and The Burning Light of Two Stars) and Jeannine Ouellette (The Part That Burns) share their decades of experience writing about family. Both authors have outed abusers on the page, navigated subsequent estrangements and reconciliations, and written long-running columns about their children (while sometimes paying a price). Their perspectives on writing about family have changed over time, and yours might, too, after this thought-provoking workshop. Jeannine and Laura will stay online an extra fifteen minutes to accommodate your questions.
During this free event, we’ll talk about:
• The therapeutic value (and challenges) of writing about family secrets, history, and trauma
• The difference between personal writing and work we publish
• How to create a safe container for writing about family, free from concerns about publication
• How to walk the fine line between publishing things that may negatively affect family members while serving the greater world
• Why it’s essential to face our fears and consider the worst possible outcomes
• Why the strongest reactions—negative and positive!—sometimes come from the people you’d least expect
• If, when, and how to inform family members about writing that involves them
FREE and open to the public. The first 300 guests will join via Zoom, with additional guests joining via YouTube livestream. You’ll receive information for both formats via email on the day of the event.
7pm Eastern/6pm Central/5pm Mountain/4pm Pacific
Laura Davis is the author of seven groundbreaking books, including The Courage to Heal and I Thought We’d Never Speak Again. In addition to writing books that inspire, the work of Laura’s heart is to teach: helping people tell their stories and hone their craft. Laura loves creating supportive, intimate writing communities online, in person, and internationally. You can learn about her books, workshops, and classes on her website and read the first five chapters of her new memoir, The Burning Light of Two Stars here.
Jeannine Ouellette’s memoir, The Part That Burns, was a Kirkus Best 100 Indie Book, Next Generation Book Award finalist, and Rumpus Book to Read in 2021. Her work has appeared widely in literary journals as well as in anthologies including Passed On: Daughters Write about Father Lack, Loss, and Legacy; Ms. Aligned: Women Writing About Men; and Women’s Lives: Multicultural Perspectives. She teaches writing through Catapult, the Minnesota Prison Writing Workshop, and Elephant Rock, a creative writing program she founded in Minneapolis. You can find her on the web here.