Category Archives: Memoir

Memoir Intensive in NYC Oct. 21

 

By Eugenio Zampighi

Friends, I am teaching a one-day memoir writing intensive on Saturday, October 21 from 2-5 PM at the Goddard Riverside Community Center on the Upper West Side in NYC!

The intensive is sponsored by the New York Writers Workshop.

Memoir Intensive: How to Write Truthfully about Your Life

The true stories of our lives are often messy and complex. In this three-hour intensive, we will learn to write about our lives using emotion, rich sensory description, critical thinking, lyricism, and the art of storytelling.

Goddard is located at 647 Columbus Avenue at 91st St. The course fee is $65.

To register, please click here.

I’m happy to answer any questions at growingupgolem AT Gmail. And here’s some info on my background: Donna Minkowitz has taught memoir writing since 1998, at many venues including the 92nd Street Y, the New York Writers Workshop, the Mt. Chocorua Writers Workshop, the JCC of the Upper West Side, and The Kitchen. Her recent memoir Growing Up Golem was a finalist for both a Lambda Literary Award and for the Judy Grahn Nonfiction Award, and she won a Lambda Literary Award for her first memoir, Ferocious Romance: What My Encounters with the Right Taught Me About Sex, God, and Fury. Minkowitz has also written for the New York Times Book Review, Slate, The Nation, New York magazine, and the Village Voice.

Fall Memoir Workshop in Brooklyn

 

My next fall memoir writing workshop starts Wednesday, September 27.

Details: 8 Wednesday nights from 7 to 9 PM, through November 15. Location: Windsor Terrace/Kensington, Brooklyn, New York. The fee is $325.

The workshop focuses on craft – particularly on using emotion, sensory details, imagination, and storytelling to construct deep and relatable works of personal writing. Students will get frequent feedback in a supportive atmosphere.

Class size is limited to 8. You may either bring in a memoir project you are already working on, or use weekly class assignments to spark your writing. Students at all levels are welcome. 🙂

For more information or to register, just email me at growingupgolem AT Gmail.com. Or you can fill in the form below.

And here’s some information about me:

Donna Minkowitz has taught memoir writing for 19 years, at venues including the 92nd Street Y, The Kitchen, the Mt. Chocorua Writing Workshop, and the New York Writers Workshop. Her recent memoir, Growing Up Golem: How I Survived My Mother, Brooklyn, and Some Really Bad Dates, was a finalist for both a Lambda Literary Award and the Judy Grahn Nonfiction Award, and she won a Lammy for her first memoir, Ferocious Romance. Minkowitz has read her work on PBS’s Edge and National Public Radio. A former columnist at The Village Voice, she’s also written for Slate, The New York Times Book Review, Tablet, The Nation, and Salon, and she is the restaurant columnist for Gay City News.

A number of my students have gone on to publish book-length works of memoir.

All best – Donna

PS Refund policy is here.

Memoir in the Age of Trump

I’m teaching a new six-week memoir writing workshop in Manhattan this spring, focused on memoir’s radical capacity to tell the truth. When our president tries to convince us that the truth does not exist, it’s a good time to write memoir. Speak your unspeakable truths and shatter the false, glittering surface we’re supposed to present to the world!

This course is focused on helping students write about their actual feelings, experiences, wishes, and needs, not the ones they think they’re “supposed” to have.

Memoir Writing in The Age of Trump: The Art of Radical Truth-Telling

Six Mondays, 7 PM to 9 PM, March 27 through May 1

Arts on Site, 12 St. Mark Place. The fee is $225.

To register, please click here: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2886466

In this workshop, we will use emotion, sensory details, critical thinking, imagination, and courage to construct profound and relatable works about our actual experience. Students will get frequent feedback in a supportive atmosphere.

Bio: Donna Minkowitz has taught memoir writing since 1998 at the 92nd Street Y, The Kitchen, the JCC of the Upper West Side, and the New York Writers Workshop. Her recent memoir Growing Up Golem was a finalist for both a Lambda Literary Award and for the Judy Grahn Nonfiction Award, and her first memoir, Ferocious Romance, won a Lammy. A recipient of a Writers Omi fellowship and an Exceptional Merit Media Award, Minkowitz has also written for the New York Times Book Review, Salon, and The Nation.

The class is sponsored by the New York Writers Workshop.

I’m happy to answer any questions. You can send them my way at growingupgolem AT Gmail.

 

Cooking Up Rebellion

In times of trouble, cooking makes me whole. I may be tired, irritable, I may have gotten home late, I may even be sick, but I stand at my fry pan tossing in onions, that base of almost every culture’s cooking. To me, it might as well be the base of life itself, as I stand there trying to make something tasty and satisfying and warming out of a few teensy bits of vegetables and some shreds of meat.

Cooking, which I came to only in my 40s and disabled, like someone clutching a lifeline, reminds me of the sacredness of the act of creation. It feels like making something out of nothing: whatever’s assembled on my cutting board – a little mess of garlic bits and bitter vegetables and cheese snips – always seems so poignantly small to me as the basis of a hot dinner that will somehow sustain two adults. The process that transforms these scraps into a whole always seems mystical to me: what god created this eggplant parmigiano pasta?

Certainly not me.

With cooking, as with writing, providence comes in and accomplishes what we ourselves, with our conscious minds, can barely accomplish. When I say providence, I don’t exactly mean God. Who made this dish? It was the fire (which reshapes molecules and “denatures” proteins and divinely caramelizes eggplants). It was the balsamic vinegar in all its oddness, sour, acid, musty, sweet, powerfully itself and shaped by hands and minds other than my own. It was the traditions of a million years of hominids cooking (while humans have only been around and making dinner for 200,000 years, our hominid ancestors have been cooking for even longer). It was my innumerable memories of meals out and Food Network snippets and half-remembered recipes, plus glimmering images in my brain (my mother’s ancient Italian friend’s fresh sausage and tomato sauce), and, maybe most of all, dumb luck and inspiration!

It was also me, yes, along with all of these. It was my own arm strength and my thinking mind, saying “Now! A dab more tomato paste!” and “Now! I want sesame oil and more parsley!” In point of fact, I feel really butch when I cook, much more butch than I do when writing, say, or making love. Turning the flame up and down, I am Hephaestus at the forge; I am Casey at the switch. I feel powerful, capable, gripping my 11-inch pan and smelting tomatoes, refining wine, building skyscrapers out of flour and beef. I am doing this for my family which consists of my partner and me, making things to keep us good and warm inside, and feeling loved. I am blending tahini in a machine noisy as a cement mixer, making a sauce so sumptuous it can make steamed zucchini taste good. I am butchering squashes and making rebellious Jewish bricks out of walnuts, apples and wine that will make our conquerors choke. I am constructing fantasy universes out of ground turkey and breadcrumbs and spices and egg. The turkey meatballs I make will make our hearts happy as we eat them in a radiant red sauce before going to the demonstration.

So, gentle reader who loves the taste of food, dear one who loves kimchi, posole, and democracy: go to the demonstration. There are a lot this week, and there will be more the week after, and the week after that. Keep going. Eat something hot before and after. Take care of yourself. Take care of other people, too. There is no contradiction between activism and compassion, no contradiction between activism and tenderness or sweetness: remember that. What I am trying to say is: everything we do, whether we are masters or novices, we do in the context of other people. I’m no great chef by any measure, but I learned to make a damn good dinner, and so can you. Individual writers don’t create literature, individual cooks don’t create the art of cooking, and individual actors don’t create entire movements. Everyone is needed, and everyone needs others.

Everyone is important in cooking up this struggle, even and especially you.

Originally published in Gay City News on January 19, 2017.

January Memoir Workshop


Hi everyone.

Just wanted to let you know that my 8-week memoir writing workshop will start January 25 in Brooklyn. (I’m also delighted to announce that I’ve begun offering editing services to writers for their manuscripts.)

The class will run on Wednesday evenings from 7 to 9 PM, and go till March 22. The fee is $325.

The workshop focuses on craft. We’ll explore ways to use emotion, the five senses, creative insight, and critical thinking to create a memoir even readers utterly unlike ourselves can identify with.

Students will get frequent feedback in a supportive atmosphere; class size is limited to eight. (You may either bring in a memoir project you are already working on, or use short class assignments to spark your writing.) We will skip class the week of February 8.

Class location is near the F/G stop at Fort Hamilton Parkway in Windsor Terrace (just south of Park Slope). Students at all levels are welcome.

Just let me know if you’re interested. I’m happy to answer any questions. You can contact me at growingupgolem AT Gmail, or through the contact form below. All best – Donna

My bio: Donna Minkowitz has taught memoir writing since 1998, at venues including the 92nd Street Y, The Kitchen, the JCC of the Upper West Side, and the New York Writers Workshop. Her recent memoir Growing Up Golem was a finalist for both a Lambda Literary Award and for the Judy Grahn Nonfiction Award, and she won a Lambda Literary Award for her first memoir, Ferocious Romance. A graduate of Yale, Minkowitz has also written for the New York Times Book Review, Salon, and The Nation.

Course refund policy:
Withdrawal by January 19: full refund
Withdrawal by January 26: 50% refund
Because class size is small, no refunds are available after January 26.

 

Intensive Memoir Workshop December 10

nyww-logo

Hi readers!

Unexpectedly, I am going to be teaching a low-cost ($60), three-hour intensive memoir workshop Saturday, December 10, at the Goddard Riverside Community Center on the Upper West Side of Manhattan! Please sign up at the link below if you’re interested 🙂

I hope you have a great holiday season – Donna

Memoir Intensive: How to Write Truthfully about Your Life
Saturday, December 10, 2 – 5 PM
647 Columbus Ave. at 91st Street
http://www.newyorkwritersworkshop.com/2016/11/27/december-non-fiction-and-poetry-weekend-intensives/

The true stories of our lives are often messy and complex. In this three-hour intensive, we will learn to write about our lives using emotion, the five senses, the power of critical thinking, and the art of storytelling. Each student will get an ample amount of feedback, in a supportive atmosphere.

Donna Minkowitz has taught memoir writing since 1998, at venues including the 92nd Street Y, the JCC of the Upper West Side, and the New York Writers Workshop. Her recent memoir Growing Up Golem was a finalist for both a Lambda Literary Award and for the Judy Grahn Nonfiction Award, and she won a Lambda Literary Award for her first memoir, Ferocious Romance. Minkowitz has also written for the New York Times Book Review, Salon, The Nation, and New York magazine.

 

Summer Memoir Writing Workshop

Brooklyn writing classes

Hey, I’ll be teaching a five-week summer memoir writing workshop in Brooklyn! The class will meet on Wednesday nights starting June 29 in Windsor Terrace, and run from 7 to 9 PM. The last class is August 5 (no class the week of July 20). The fee is $250.

The workshop focuses on craft – particularly on using emotion, sensory details, critical thinking, and imagination to construct profound and relatable works of personal writing. Students will get frequent feedback in a supportive atmosphere. The number of students is limited to 8. Continue reading