My focus is on transformational writing — for writer and reader. I’m big on process. I have taught personal narrative workshops in non-profits, cultural arts centers, homes and out of my studio. My students range from age nine to 95. Some are professional writers. Some are laypeople who do not make a living with words. My workshops are for everyone and anyone. I offer 6-week courses, weekend workshops, and 3-hour classes on a variety of topics/techniques. Groups are an intimate size and my material is constantly evolving.
The Teaching Space
I teach from the gut. My students’ stories live within me and I am grateful for the exchange. My goal is to create a space for the ancient art of storytelling and listening. I work to connect a person to her/his syntax, voice and “charge” topics— as well as to others in the group. When people discover both their own uniqueness and commonality with others in the same stroke, I have done my job.
Here are my workshops for Fall 2018. These take place in-person in Bozeman, Montana. To register, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am also currently developing an online course with a launch date of 2019/2020. Stay tuned!
Memoir and Narrative Voice
This workshop is for anyone at any stage of a writing practice. It focuses on unearthing your voice (whether it’s irreverent, soft, mysterious or brash...). Narrative voice is that elusive thing writer folk talk about. But how do you “get” it? The good news is you already have it. You just need to find it. As we explore the tools of personal narrative, we ask where the “I” exists and how we use it best. In an effort to write your character (i.e. you), we’ll name, dismantle and use those things we hang our identity upon: what is foreign or familiar, what do you like or dislike, the geography that draws you and the geography that doesn’t. We play with language, learn how to capture an audience and make the most personal details universal. You will participate in free-writes, interactive workshop critiques of longer pieces and weekly writing assignments. You will stretch your “way of expression” and discover ultimately what makes yours yours. Revision will become a trusted friend. At the end, our intimate group will have cracked our preconceptions and developed our skills for effective storytelling. You will go home with a writing practice under your belt, and the confidence to greet the creative writer within you every day.
Dates: Sept 18—Oct 23, Tuesday mornings, 9-noon (six weeks)
Writing The Body Map
This workshop starts with a question: how do we access the real stories alive within the body? First, you map your body, literally. It will become a vaster territory than you expect. We will free-write our way through this land: toes, belly, blood, lungs, ears…. Body will lead us to the story behind the story. Your knee injury or strong forearms or perpetually cold hands may lead you to your Great Aunt and her dusty machine shop in rural Tennessee. In this way, we generate material and understanding from our most precise tool—the body. We also explore howwe use the body in the writing process. Movement begets movement and ideas. We will rely on our six senses. Expect to go visceral, dredge up instinctual responses and hone your language skills. You will create and workshop a longer, polished “body story” essay. Our goals are discovery, grounding, and reverence. Then we return to the map to see what has shifted. This process involves building bridges between parts of our bodies and therefore parts of ourselves, as well as extending those bridges outward. You’ll emerge with a new group of trusted friends, excitement for your unique written voice and a deepened relationship to body.
Dates: Sept 12—Oct 17, Wednesday evenings, 6-9pm (six weeks)
Transform Your Old Story
We all cling to one story about ourselves. It’s familiar and has been played on repeat. We do this because it’s comfortable. Sometimes it gets us attention. Sometimes we don’t know what else to do. Many of us know that we do this. But now, what can we do about it? Enter the 26 letters of the alphabet. Enter verbs and nouns. Enter your pen. Language is no small thing. It shifts politics, relationships, mindsets and the everyday. How we say, or write, something changes how we experience(d) it. This can be powerful work. In this workshop, we will use the transformative power of words to re-script our personal narratives. Consider it exploratory. We will stir your story up to the surface and then dive in with writing from unexpected perspectives, movement, speaking aloud, tone play, un-remembering, re-remembering, conversation across selves, and ultimately, the creation of a new version of this story. We will pay close attention to how we use each word. As you work this way with any story of yours, you begin to integrate a new understanding of your past, present and future. This can be liberating. Writing is both our birthright and an underused tool. Let us use it.
Dates: Oct 24—Nov 14, Wednesday evenings, 6-9pm (four weeks)
“I felt I could get personal. I felt pressed to work. I’m sure it was much the same for our whole group – we were exposed and challenged but safe to grow our writing in any direction we chose. Molly, keep the bar high. Don’t make the workload easier. You have such a good way with people and you share your knowledge so well – I was amazed at the quality and consistency of your attention to everyone’s work.” Sean Darby
“Thank you so much, Molly, this was huge for me!! What I like best is you. I think you are inspiring. Your openness to whatever came out of me was also very helpful and kept me engaged.” Gail Gettler
“I loved how our group came together and how we came to trust each other and go deeper in our own writing. I think there was a bit of magic there and you, as our teacher, did something to allow that to happen. Whatever you did, it was subtle and unforced and very effective. I feel that I have regained faith in my writing and I am thinking of ways I can keep it flowing. One of your biggest strengths, I believe, is your way of helping each of us to write in our own authentic way. There was no “formula” you were trying to pass on to us, and I think you were very successful in helping us discover the writer inside. You also helped me understand the difference between free-writing and the hardwork of producing a more polished piece. They are both so important and so interconnected. Thanks again for being a gentle yet powerful writing teacher.” Holly Haussman
“Your complete lack of pretension was so nice… there was no eager ego there. That made it easier for us to blubber along trying to find our feet. Really Molly you do have a touch. You’re a natural who has also put a lot of thought into how to make the class work well. You are great at critiques, very concrete and helpful. Doing this class has woken me up to literature. I am now thrilled with words! What a gift! I take pleasure in putting my own words together now, am trusting I have something to say with them and that they can pull things from the depths that I will want to know. Much to be grateful for, dear Molly.” Nina Alexander
“You are a natural. You have a wonderful, easy-going, yet professional approach. All your comments and handling of other’s comments were supportive and useful. It felt like you were in charge while being one of the group- nice natural leadership style. I’ve been told I don’t suffer fools well… I didn’t suffer you at all.” Laura Harris
“When you speak to anyone, your voice and your body language make the person feel invited into creativity, into writing. When people read short pieces, you have the ability to pick out the little seeds that can grow into something. Your students learn from what you say to each person. As an educator, it seems to me that the relationship piece which you provide with your personality, your very being, is key to creating an environment in which we can learn. I think people can only learn when they are learning something they care about from someone they care about and who cares for them.” Robbye Hamburgh
“You are really talented at this. It was obvious right away that you were nurturing and kind with regard to people’s fears and hesitations about sharing/opening up. Obviously everyone felt safe, the pieces reflect that. People took chances and went to difficult places in their writing. It really made the whole experience so much more interesting and real. Full of depth. You rock. You hold super safe space and are consistent and helpful and humorous and lovely.” Stacey Tompkins
“You have amazing ability to boost confidence and provide critical evaluation. I have really benefited from the class. Offer another class.” Jim Nelson
“Something that I can’t name happened to me in the process. I think I was able to externalize my voice and find a seed story to craft. I learned a great deal about critiquing another piece of work. I learned about passive vs. active voice and leads. I learned about showing not telling and flushing out a story.” Linda Babcock
“YOU ARE AMAZING. A healer in your own right. And so incredibly wise. Thank you.” Dr. Holcomb Johnston
“I learned SO much. I learned to be brave! Great balance of listening and reflecting and safety and sharing and then in the next moment (but not abruptly) we’d be talking about adverbs or activating our verbs. It meant that it stayed a writing class. Balancing those two elements is hard but you are skilled, Molly. I learned to work towards making everything intentional. I learned to ask myself what the piece is about. It was a great process for me and I can’t imagine NOT having that in my writing life now. And when I was on the other side (workshopping someone else’s piece) I learned to be a better listener and to work towards being as intentional with feedback as we are with our writing.” Chris Coppollilo
“You have a gift for putting people at ease immediately. You really have a lovely enthusiasm that is infectious! You validated the importance of writing about ANYTHING you care about because, if you do, someone else will. Thank you.” Jennifer Coleman