Your Life in Six Words (evening program)
With so much noise in our everyday lives, it’s often difficult to focus on what lies at the heart of who we are and where we want to go in our life’s journey. Developed in 2006 by writer Larry Smith, the six-word memoir format has prompted tens of thousands to craft micro autobiographies, with the most extraordinary curated into three best-selling books and featured in The New Yorker and NPR. In this session, we will work through this remarkable process to craft your own short life story as a tool for self-discovery and to distill what’s important to you. The goal is to create a memoir that helps you confirm or reconsider your life’s path, or perhaps provide inspiration for what might be next. Note: writing talent not required.
No One Loves a Perfect Heroine
Memoir writers must learn to take a step back and recreate themselves as a character. This is harder than it sounds. Human nature propels us to put forward a perfect façade, yet if a character never makes a mistake, then how can readers root for her? Building on your six-word memoir, we will drill further into what the process revealed about you as a potential hero or heroine in your own life story and help you embrace your strengths and weaknesses. If you miss the evening class, fear not. You’ll be given the tools to build your own six-word memoir post class.
The Power of Details
The ability to capture notable details elevates any type of writing or storytelling, whether if it’s just to recapture memories of past travels, lost loved ones, to strengthen writing or journaling or even tell a better story at a cocktail party. We will work through a series exercises using favorite childhood foods and storyboarding to demonstrate techniques to find telling details in your existing tales and to perhaps encourage you to be even more observant of how life’s small moments describe a larger tale.
If You Can Talk, You Can Probably Write
“If something is worth hearing or listening to, it’s very probably worth reading. So, this above all: Find your own voice,” says Christopher Hitchens. In this session, we will explore your potential writing voice, and building on your earlier six-word memoir, the story or stories that lie within you. The word “souvenir” is French for “to remember.” At the conclusion of this class, you’ll be given exercises to inspire putting your memories and stories on paper, hopefully creating a special souvenir of your time at the Ranch.
Kathleen Flinn is an internationally bestselling author, teacher and speaker best known for her series of acclaimed memoirs starting with The New York Times bestseller The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry (Viking/Penguin Random House). This week, Flinn will utilize exercises from her popular “Hungry for Words” food and travel writing workshops as well as her experiences as a memoir writer to help guide guests through the questions for which many of us find answers difficult to define. Her sessions will be relevant whether you’re interested in crafting a memoir, keeping a journal or simply seeking a structured way to think about what’s important in your life and where you want to go next on your journey.
A writer and journalist for more than 25 years, Flinn has been a residence writer at the Richard Hugo House in Seattle and taught at the Writer’s Center in Washington, D.C., the University of Washington and the University of Texas at Austin and more than a dozen writing and culinary focused conferences.