Start to Finish: The Personal Essay
Writing a personal essay is like wandering through your lives and thoughts. Maybe it’s a wander you’ve been waiting to let out so you can write about it. Like no other form, the personal essay stresses reflection, both of your life and the world beyond. Our class goal is straightforward—to complete a personal essay. You’ll be guided—step by step—starting with an image or an anecdote or a thought, the kind that just won’t leave you alone. Then, you’ll uncover the theme that rises organically from your beginning. By elaborating on your theme, you’ll build your essay, using prompts, freewriting exercises, feedback, and revision. To help you, we’ll also look at some model essays and define the form. In this class, you can share your work with others, and I’ll also comment on some of your work. You may also elect to receive written feedback from the instructor. (New this spring, you'll have the option to add a detailed critique of your writing for an additional fee. Details will be sent after you register.) This class meets on three Tuesdays, May 11, 18 & 25, 6-7:30 p.m.
About the Instructor: Charles Israel, Jr., teaches creative writing at Queens University of Charlotte. His poetry chapbook, Stacking Weather, was published by Amsterdam Press. He’s also had poems and stories in Crazyhorse, Field, The Cortland Review, The Adirondack Review, Nimrod International Journal, Pembroke Magazine, Zone 3, Journal of the American Medical Association, and North Carolina Literary Review. He likes to read ancient epic poetry and contemporary creative nonfiction about voyages and journeys, sports and war. He lives in Charlotte with his wife, Leslie.