The Pleasures and Practices of Journaling (18105)

Four Sundays: September 23, 30, October 7, 14, 2 to 4 p.m.


What does it mean to keep a journal? What is gained, kept, discovered? How is it different from other forms of writing? Virginia Woolf called hers a “capacious hold-all … loose knit and yet not slovenly.” Joyce Carol Oates thinks of hers as “a counterworld: one world to balance the other.” Emerson, who kept a diary for nearly sixty years, reminds us that “the unrecorded life is not worth examining.”

In this class we will actively journal through in-class prompts and take-home exercises. We will read published diary entries to see the range of possible forms and styles a journal can take. We will also examine different forms of creative nonfiction (memoir, various kinds of essay) with an eye towards revising our private writing into a more public piece. No experience necessary – just bring a journal (half-full or empty), a pen, your honesty, courage, curiosity, and a willingness to both explore and play.


Leaving a Trace: On Keeping a Journal, by Alexandra Johnson (9780316121569)

Randon Billings Noble is an essayist. Her collection Be with Me Always is forthcoming from the University of Nebraska Press in March 2019, and her lyric essay chapbook Devotional was published by Red Bird in 2017. Individual essays have been nominated for Pushcart Prizes, listed as notable in Best American Essays, and appeared in the Modern Love column of The New York Times, The Massachusetts Review, Brevity, Creative Nonfiction, and elsewhere. Currently she is the founding editor of After the Art, and a freelance reviewer for The A.V. Club. You can read more of her work at

REFUND POLICY: Please note that we can issue class refunds up until seven (7) days before the first class session.

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Leaving a Trace: On Keeping a Journal Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316121569
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Back Bay Books - January 2nd, 2002