Creative Writing

Creative Writing

This week of workshops and independent writing time is about memory and surprise.

First, the memory part. Memory is a really, really good jumping off point for anything. Memoir, yes, and poetry, yes— but also fiction. Mark Twain said this about memory:

When I was younger I could remember anything, whether it had happened or not; but my faculties are decaying now and soon I shall be so I cannot remember any but the things that never happened. 

Through exercises and prompts, we will explore memory and we will be open to going where we go, wherever it may be. Whether we’re writing prose or poetry, we will do so with the understanding that even the smallest memories illuminate the deepest themes of our lives. That’s true in fiction as well as non-fiction.

Now the surprise part. One of the great pleasures of writing is the surprise we feel as writers when we go places we don’t expect. Flannery O’Connor famously said about one of her characters in her story “Good Country People,”

I didn’t know he was going to steal that wooden leg until ten or twelve lines before he did it, and when I found out that this was what was going to happen, I realized it was inevitable.



Ruth Kirschner

Ruth Kirschner is a nationally produced award-winning playwright, Squaw Valley Fellow, author/ illustrator of eighteen children’s books, and script consultant to independent filmmakers, playwrights and novelists. As a writer and animator, she’s worked with Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear and the Great Gonzo for Henson Associates (HA). A member of the Dramatists Guild and the Bay area’s Write Sisters, Ruth has work-in-progress frequently presented at San Francisco’s Marsh Theater and aMuse Gallery, SF. Besides local Fringe Festivals, her plays have been staged at The Last Frontier Theatre Conference, Valdez, Alaska, Hollywood’s West Coast Ensemble, and New York’s Ensemble Studio Theater. Her memoir Not About You is currently under review. In the workshop space, Ruth encourages writers to leave the known road, explore their creative capacity, surprise themselves. Her writing and teaching rest on the tenet, “Feel the fear and do it anyway.”

The Putney School Summer Programs
Elm Lea Farm, 418 Houghton Brook Road,
Putney, Vermont 05346 USA
802-387-6297 (main), (802) 387-6216 (fax)

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