Reading as Writers: Didion and Sedaris (1919)

New Dates: Four Thursdays, March 28, April 4, 18, (24) from 1:00--3:00 p.m.*Note: last class meeting on Wednesday, April 24th.

Price: 
$115.00 (10% off for members)

Having read novels and short stories in two previous sessions, we now will turn to close reading of narrative nonfiction as practiced by two of the finest authors in the form, Joan Didion and David Sedaris. Clear-eyed observers of the human condition, from the tumult and tragedy of the sixties to the recent triumph of same-sex marriage, they each bring to often disturbing subject matter the trademarks of their craft: journalistic objectivity and interpretive subjectivity. Joan Didion, a giant of American letters, who has worked also in theater and film, began her legendary career in journalism, writing features and political essays for leading magazines and, in the process, became a leading voice in the invention of The New Journalism, which evolved into this new genre of narrative nonfiction. David Sedaris, raconteur, humorist, and acerbic social critic, explores the cutting edge contemporary issues of sexual identity, cultural difference and appropriation, and fragile self-esteem while grappling with the meaning of family and love in unorthodox conditions. In each class, after a close reading of a selected work, we will practice writing from prompts that will challenge us as writers, thinkers, citizens, and members of the human family to go deeper in our own perceptions and more thoughtfully into our writing, always led by Didion’s now classic insight: “We tell ourselves stories in order to live.”

There is no requirement or need to have participated in the first two sessions to jump into this one; come on in, the water’s fine…

New Dates: Four Thursdays, March 28, April 4, 18, (24) from 1:00--3:00 p.m.Note: last class meeting on Wednesday, April 24th.

Required Texts:

The White Album (1979) by Joan Didion (9780374532079)

“Why Aren’t You Laughing?” by David Sedaris. The New Yorker, June 19, 2017.

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/06/19/why-arent-you-laughing

Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls (2013) by David Sedaris (9780316154703)

Recommended Additional Reading:

Joan Didion: South and West (2017), Blue Nights (2011), The Year of Magical Thinking (2005), Play It As It Lays: A Novel (1970), Slouching Towards Bethlehem (1968)

David Sedaris: Calypso (2018), Theft by Finding (2017), When You Are Engulfed in Flames (2008), Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim (2004), and Me Talk Pretty One Day (2000)

 

Schedule:

Mar 28: From The White Album by Joan Didion: “The White Album”

Discussion and Writing Exercise: Literary Elements in Nonfiction: Setting and Detail, Voice and Point of View

 

April 4: “The White Album” (continued), “Georgia O’Keeffe,” and “In Bogota”

Discussion and Writing Exercise: Literary Elements in Narrative Nonfiction:

“Plot” and Theme

 

Apr 18: “Why Aren’t You Laughing?” by David Sedaris

Discussion and Writing Exercise: Literary Elements in Narrative Nonfiction: Character, Juxtaposition, Dialogue, and Omission

 

Apr 25: “Laugh, Kookaburra,” “Memory Laps,” and “Understanding Understanding Owls”

Discussion and Writing Exercise: Literary Elements in Narrative Nonfiction: Perspective and Point of View

Rhonda Shary lived and worked in New York for over thirty years, working in modern dance and avant-garde arts, environmental advocacy, and fundraising for progressive nonprofits, the arts, and higher education. She was also an adjunct professor of literature, writing, and film for over ten years at SUNY New Paltz, Marymount College of Fordham University, and the New York Institute of Technology. Her poetry, fiction, and essays appear in P&P’s District Lines III and V; 100-Word Story; Water Writes: An Anthology in Honor of the Hudson River Quadricentennial; A Slant of Light: Women Writers of the Hudson River Valley, among others. After moving to DC in 2014, she joined the staff at Politics and Prose Bookstore, where she is now an editor for OPUS Publishing and an instructor in the literature and writing classes.

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

$115.00
SKU: ReadingasWriters1919ClassProduct
Enter the name of the primary household member listed on the membership

Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780316154703
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Back Bay Books - June 3rd, 2014

The White Album: Essays (FSG Classics) Cover Image
$15.00
ISBN: 9780374532079
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - November 10th, 2009