Description: A touchstone verifies the authenticity of gold or silver. You will write a narrative or essay of 1000-2500 words to carve out rich touchstones you have experienced from travel and then discover and reveal the truth of how travel has changed you in a significant and meaningful way. Then you’ll revise it during the class for a publishable piece. Progressive guidance for revision will be discussed in each class. The group will share their work, review each other’s writing, and each member will complete a revision to make your work ring and sing.
Students who successfully complete this class will be able to:
draft a travel memory into a short story or essay of 1000-2500 words
strengthen with strong nouns and verbs
utilize all five senses in the writing piece
delete unnecessary wording to refine the writing
review and comment on other’s writing to help them improve
It will be fun and interactive. In the wake of a pandemic, this workshop may (will likely) take a different turn than I expected, when I developed the class. You may write about travel outwardly and concretely in the past, present, or future, or travel inwardly and metaphorically.
During the four weeks we will explore the Hero’s Journey. You will write an essay or story of 500-2500 words about preparing for a journey, then revise it, have it critiqued by the other writers, and finally polish the piece.
Though online and at a distance, the class will be interactive and flexible to meet your writing level and interests. We will learn with and from each other.
I wondered what Potts meant by the title, Travel Writing as Memoir? As a student in his Santa Fe Workshop, held in San Miguel de Allende October 13-18, I learn that he meant the writer could impose herself in the writing, rather than standing at a distance and reporting–the reader wants to hear the voice of the writer. He meant we were free to use literary devices, such as writing with imagery, metaphor, foreshadowing, symbolism, and/or humor, among others.
He introduced us to psychogeography and assigned us the task of following a color of our choice through the city to encounter it in a unique way, randomly yet meaningfully. The concept of drifting or wandering the streets of the city aimlessly with the intent to observe with all our senses what the paths of the village had to offer us was the assignment–paradoxical in nature, but highly productive and insightful.
The workshop took my writing to a new level. I better understand how to find an appealing first sentence. I can see more ways to place myself reflectively in an essay about what I experience. And I know how to mine my travel experiences more thoroughly and insightfully through color tracking as a means of psychogeography.
What classes, workshops, or retreats have helped take your writing to a new level? Please share below, so others will find venues to develop their writing.
On April 27, 2019, the Wrede little one-room country schoolhouse, just outside of Fredericksburg, Texas, hosted ten students for inspiration and tutoring in the art of travel journal writing. The organizers promoted the workshop as Vacation Journal Writing, which attracted people from their early teens to their mid-seventies. Continue reading “Vacation Travel Journal Writing Workshop”→