Skip to main content

Telling Your Truth Through Writing - A Conversation

Lesson 3 of 7

Terrifying Topics Exercise

 

Telling Your Truth Through Writing - A Conversation

Lesson 3 of 7

Terrifying Topics Exercise

 

Lesson Info

Terrifying Topics Exercise

howling. The truth About ourselves can feel super, super dangerous. It can feel even frightening. But the best, the most compelling memoirs. They confront truth, no matter how unsettling and how disturbing. So let me ask you guys, what are so shout out the names of some of your favorite memoirs. Anybody. Time bandits, Writer Time Ben's are thriller. Anybody for Cheryl Strayed's Wild right? That's a great one. Mary car. Anybody else have some favorite memoirs? Yes, Patti Smith. Right. Okay. So what is What do you love about these works? What is compelling about, um, they feel raw. That's exactly I agree entirely. So Patti Smith's book, The reason that you can put that down is because it feels so raw and and the rawness is part of the truth, right? Cheryl Strayed's wild. It feels so true. It feels so raw. Her feelings are so close to the surface. So the thing Teoh, the thing to do is to try to figure out what your topic is. So that's the first exercise working. Engage and I'm gonna ask y...

ou to do something really scary. I'm gonna ask you to pull out your notebooks or your phones or whatever you write on, I personally just I can't actually handwrite anything like nothing. I don't even handwrite a thank you note. I type it on my computer, and then I laboriously copied it out with my crappy handwriting because I can't compose using my hands. But so feel free to write on your phones. Feel free to write in your notebooks. I want you to do this. I want you to make a list. Three things about yourself. Three incidents from your life, three sort of characteristics. Whatever it is an incident, a characteristic of description that, for whatever reason, you are deeply uncomfortable with sharing three things that would make you scared if they got out in the world. Now, look, I don't want any of you to put yourself in any actual physical peril, but push yourself to a place of emotional danger. And remember, nobody has to see this list. But you unless you're super brave. Okay, let's take another little time. Three ugly, ugly truths. Okay, so my list When I began this when I began a really good day Waas this I'm going to tell you mine When I already told you, I have a mood disorder, a mental illness. The second truth, I spent a month taking an illegal drug. The third truth. When I did this, my marriage was in a very hard place. And at times I didn't know if we were going to survive. They're my three embarrassing truths that are scariest to me. More than to anybody else. Okay, you have yours. If you don't want to look at them, you can turn the page.

Class Description

Humans are programmed to think and speak in stories -- it’s in our DNA. Narratives are an incredibly powerful communication device, and yet they’re built from a relatively simple set of components: plot, conflict, setting, point of view, atmosphere and most importantly characters. Together, they share the writer’s message in a way unlike anything else. Writing your own story though can be uncomfortable and difficult.


In this hour-long session, NYT bestselling author Ayelet Waldman will dive into her approach to constructing narratives, focusing specifically on the challenges and opportunities of memoir writing. Starting with the critical importance of authenticity and honesty, she’ll surface and address the most common (and difficult) choices writers make during the creative process. She’ll also be leading a short exercise to help get you started and become comfortable with writing your truth. She will also cover her writing process, the importance of discipline to write everyday, having her own writing studio, and how to avoid distractions when it is time to work. 

Reviews

Mike McArdle
 

Ayelet instructs in plain English the mechanics to accurately write a memoir that is appealing, true and powerful. She is a superb communicator and is able to be honest, vulnerable and powerful when teaching this class. She's a real master. Thank you Ayelet and good luck in all that you do. :-)

Cathy Mauro
 

Thank you for this course, it was inspiring and motivating, I too love research over getting it on paper, it felt good to hear how to manage it. I have to say though this really felt like a journey that landed me on an existential answer. My father had a Green Dodge Dart in the mid-seventies, and in it my face was slammed twice, once as it hit the front seat from being rear ended and seconds later, as we hit a small tree. Is this a sign? Or what?

Tammy Fuller
 

I loved this. Ayelet is a wonderful storyteller and her class was compelling. I loved how she gave actionable tips to get me started.