Class Title: The Love of Everyday Things: Telling the Stories of Our Lives
Instructor: Teresa Cutler-Broyles
Class Term: May 14-June 18, 2018
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We surround ourselves with things that matter for reasons as varied as connection to family or past loves, to travels past or future, to memories of joy, or loss, or something in between. Maybe they were hand-crafted by a great-grandfather, or a famous artist, or a local artisan, or a child; maybe they were found on a thrift store shelf and made us smile. Ultimately their origins don't matter; it's how we feel about them that counts.
Sometimes we lose track of ourselves and our connection to the pieces that make us who we are. This class is about those things, and the stories that connect them to your lives.
For this five week class you'll be choosing an object a week and telling its story, its connection to your to your past or future, to hopes and dreams and loss, to people or places, to memory. Through delving into the things you find in your daily life you'll be able to examine your world in microcosm, and the larger picture it all fits into.
At the end of this class students will have written five beautiful essays or poems about objects they might otherwise not pay much attention to, but will have turned out to be vitally important to who they are. Through the writing, the sharing of the work, and feedback from me and the other class members, they will learn valuable writing skills as well.
Instruction/Communication Method: I will be communicating with everyone as a group through email. At the beginning of each week I will send out an explanation of the week's writing prompt to get you started. Your writing will be shared via email with each other (with your permission) for feedback from others. And I will go through it to make notes and offer suggestions on both the content and the writing itself.
Every week I will send out a message on Sunday evening with a prompt for the week's writing.
Each prompt will be different but will follow a similar format. I want each to be new when you receive it, so the example here is for week one; the following weeks will suggest new ways to approach the "things" that you love.
- Unit 1: Walk into a room of your home and close your eyes for a moment. When you open your eyes, try to see the room as someone might who has never been there. What do you see? What catches your attention? That object stands out? Is it a piece of art work? A tiny horse or dog figure? A handmade pillow? A blanket tossed on the back of a couch? A plastic statue of Mickey Mouse from Disneyland, an expensive mask from a trip to Bali, a postcard from a friend?
Choose the object that resonates with you. Pick it up and remember where it came from. What are the emotions related to that person or place? What is the thing's story.
Then... you will choose poetry or prose form and write that object's story.
- Unit 2: Follow slightly different prompt involving a different room, and a new way of thinking about not only the things in your space, but symbolism, value, and more.
- Unit 3: Follow slightly different prompt.
- Unit 4: Follow slightly different prompt.
- Unit 5: This will be either a combined story or poem using all the things you have chosen for the class, or one final thing you'd like to write about.
Student Skills, Equipment, and Time Required
Students will need to be able to send me email with attached files in Word.
Time commitment will vary depending on the student. Typically no more than two hours per week writing.
Tuition/Fees for this course
SCN members: $160. Non-SCN members: $200.
Teresa Cutler-Broyles spends her time writing novels, travel essays, academic chapters, and creative non-fiction. When she isn't writing she teaches at the University of New Mexico, USA, at the Umbra Institute in Perugia, Italy, and online at Southern New Hampshire University and Story Circle Network.
Her passions include story-telling and myth, travel, the history of printing, historical research & preservation, ancient architecture, teratology, gardens, circuses, Italy, and writing about all of the above. Visit her websites (TLC Travels & TLC Writing Coach) and her blog.
Praise for Teresa's Classes
- Teresa Cutler-Broyles' comments about my writing not only felt to me like she 'got' me, but were also highly motivating to further explore my thoughts and feelings. I truly felt on a hero's journey. Thanks you with all my heart, Teresa. —Anne W., West Chester PA
- Teresa Cutler-Broyles is very insightful and encouraging. The class helped me better understand my personal life and how to improve my writing life. —Patricia L., Niwot CO
- I enjoyed the class and thought that the concept add an interesting framework. Both Teresa Cutler-Broyles and members of the group were nice to work with. —Ariela Z., Ellsworth ME
- Teresa's class was powerful and insightful as it offered a safe environment to express our life experiences in various stages. I felt she offered us free range to express ourselves no matter what journey popped into our space at the time of writing. I thoroughly enjoyed both the lessons and the members of this class. Excellent - and I would take it again for additional exploration. —Deb D., Port St. Lucie FL
- This class opened many avenues for me to continue following in writing. Each week gave me new ideas for further exploration. One of the best classes I have taken here. —Lucy P., Williamsburg VA
- I enjoyed the course, not only because of the teacher, but because the other participants were interesting and responsive to one another. I think we all grew and had a good experience together. Our teacher seemed most delighted with our writing and the group dynamic. —Carol I., Santa Fe NM
- Teresa Cutler-Broyles was a wonderful, supportive instructor. She helped you find your true voice and sentiments behind your travel essay. She gave us wonderful resources such as readings and written suggestions, as well as line by line critiques. She also supported us to include photos to enhance our works. She will frankly let you know when you are on the right track, or if you need to modify your writing in order to make it a successful piece. I would definitely take another course with her. She gave us 100% of her expertise and caring. —Sharon B., Munster IN
- This was my first online writing course ever and now the "bar is high" for other classes I hope to take. I felt the gentle critiquing was amazingly accurate and as the course progressed the critiquing became more in depth. Teresa Cutler-Broyles emanated a spirit of understanding as she wrapped her valuable comments into my elementary efforts. She accepted rewrites which is a wonderful learning strategy in itself. Thanks, Teresa. —Joan C., Bellville TX
- Teresa Cutler-Broyles' comments and techniques were very valuable. I am glad I took the course and hope to do more travel essay writing. —Sally Jean B., Atherton CA
- I enjoyed working with Teresa Cutler-Broyles in the online Travel Essay class. The assignments were interesting and her feedback respectful and on target. I found it fascinating, getting to know my classmates through the writing we did. —Ann L., Chanhassen MN