Era of Ego: Writing Memoir in the 21st Century
Facilitator: Jesse Donaldson
Dates: April 8 – May 3, 2019
Genre: Creative Nonfiction
Class Size: 10
This workshop will explore pathways to rise above the din of a memoir-saturated era. Most of these pathways begin with craft, so particular attention will be paid to beginnings/endings, plot/structure, developing a voice through language, and representing place. We will also take a 30,000-foot view of memoir and talk about tapping into memory, issues of truthiness, and the complications that arise when writing about people who know where you live, among other things.
Conceived in Arizona and born in Kentucky, Jesse Donaldson owes his existence to Don Henley’s hit song, “Night Moves.” He is a graduate of the Michener Center for Writers, where he completed his debut novel, The More They Disappear (St. Martins, 2016). While in Texas a woman taught him to ride motorcycles and to read poems. He proposed. Those poetry lessons crept into his second book, On Homesickness (West Virginia U. Press, 2017), which would best be described as a lyric memoir about place. Jesse’s work regularly appears in venues such as Gulf Coast, The Greensboro Review, and The Oxford American, and he has taught creative writing at Portland State, Oregon State, Houston Community College, and The Kenyon Review Young Writers workshop. Currently, he moonlights as a copywriter when being a writer-writer isn’t paying the bills, but he’s conflicted about it. He’s at work on another book, which has its good days and its bad.