Memoir - Rancho La Puerta
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Week of August 3, 2019

One Brief Shining Decade: The Life and Times of Tennis Great Alice Marble
From a working-class background in San Francisco, Alice Marble swept Wimbledon in 1939 where she earned a triple crown, repeating the feat at home in the nationals a few months later. Sidelined with a diagnosis of tuberculosis when she was twenty, experts declared her career was over before her miraculous comeback.

She designed clothing (including comfortable shorts for women athletes), gave inspirational speeches, and even had a brief career as a torch singer at the Waldorf Hotel in New York City. Her fierce serve and volley strategy is now the template for modern women’s tennis. She changed not only how women looked when they played tennis and how they played, but who could be part of the game.  In 1950, as a columnist for American Lawn Tennis, she wrote an editorial arguing for the inclusion of African-American Althea Gibson in the Nationals (now the U.S. Open), shaming the sponsors into changing the rules.

Writing from the Heart: Memoir and You
Memoir Workshop – three sessions
Everyone has a story to tell, but not everyone takes the time or has the opportunity to try.  Whether you envision a private document with limited circulation or a major best-seller, this is your chance to explore ways to create personal narrative in an impersonal world in a gentle workshop setting. Each session will address a specific writing challenge, from how to find your subject matter, to how to recreate time and place, and how best to use the tools in your tool box, including how to use the strongest language choices.

Bringing the Writing Life Home– Madeleine Blais and Les Standiford
Don’t leave the Ranch at the Ranch. Nurture its spirit, and yours, after you leave. Les and Madeleine pool their combined expertise as authors, professors, conference directors, critics, and judges of prestigious literary awards to help you extend the shelf life of your writing practice as you pursued it this week.  In addition to providing prompts, reading lists, advice about publishing and what it means to be part of a literary community, they welcome questions about your specific concerns as you pursue your writing journey, keeping in mind that your individual goals are what count.


Madeleine Blais is a Pulitzer-prize winner author and professor in the Goucher College MFA program in nonfiction.  Her published work includes The Heart is an Instrument, based on journalism at the Miami Herald; In These Girls, Hope is a Muscle, a National Book Critics Circle finalist in nonfiction about a high school girls’ championship winning basketball team, two memoirs, Uphill Walkers, winner of the Ken Book award from the NYC chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and To the New Owners.  Her latest work, a biography of tennis great Alice Marble, will be published in the summer of 2020.