Tag Archives: NYC

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.

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

Caviar for the 99%

caviar-wikipediaThere is a dish you can eat in a cellar in Brooklyn that is a work of art, and also soulful. It costs $12, and will fill you up.

That dish is Mekelburg’s salt-baked potato with crème fraîche, black caviar, and smoked black cod.

You may think it’s not for you because caviar is a token of luxury, in a city where you finally understand you cannot afford luxury. You may assume the roe must be inferior and the dish somehow a sham, because the really good stuff wouldn’t cost $12, not even as a dollop on top of a potato. Ignore your thoughts, though, and just eat the thing: a huge potato completely covering a small plate, with unctuous, salty bits of smoked fish around it (and, you will discover, thoroughly veined in a little network inside it, like eggs or seeds).

That fish is smoked sable, what “black cod” is called when it’s at home. Ashkenazi Jews of a certain age know sable as the best thing to put on a bagel, so much better than lox it’s not funny. On top of the potato is a creamy mound of crème fraîche with a huge load of unusually buttery, unsalty, even fruity-tasting caviar on it. There is softened butter with dill (and more bits of sable) around the edges of the plate. Together, the potato and sable and only-slightly-sour cream and caviar make up a food that mixes Jewish and Gentile, the feeling of being cared for by one’s mother and the delights you can get when you go out on your own into the world. How that plate brought together salt, sweet, fat, sophisticated, homey almost made me cry.

It’s an odd time for eating out in New York. The places most likely to be reviewed by critics are restaurants where entrées cost $30 and tasting menus cost $100 and more. They are tiny food-temples and shiny mega-boîtes where most of us can’t go even if, by normal US standards, we are “upper income” — little palaces where, we, reader, certainly can’t eat if we are what the government calls either low income or middle-class. (Note that $55,575 is the median household income in the United States; median household income in the city is $67,201.) Reading the reviews has become an exercise in tantalized frustration: breathing in paragon writer Pete Wells’ description, in the New York Times, of the grated frozen foie gras appetizer at Momofuko Ko, you could be forgiven for feeling like the orphan cousin not invited to the party. “A cook behind the counter would rub a frozen cured brick of it across a Microplane held above a bowl with pine nut brittle, riesling jelly and lobes of lychee, showering them with falling pink flakes of airborne pleasure.” (The liver is part of the $195 tasting menu for lunch or dinner, the only way that you can eat at Ko.) The other spots in critics’ reviews – restaurants like Cosme and Blue Hill and even Contra and The Spotted Pig — are not for us, either, unless we’re in the top 5%, or interested in acquiring a load of debt that will cripple us.
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