Where I’m From: Mapping the Geography and Topography of Our Homelands

Six Wednesdays, February 18 through April 1 (no class on March 18)
6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
Registration: $170.00 + $15.00 course material fee = $185.00

“Who we are cannot be separated from where we are from.”
–Malcolm Gladwell

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”
― Marcel Proust       

“Poets make the best topographers.”
—W.G. Hoskins

I have always been fascinated by and enamored of place. And in most of the literature I adore, place is as much a character as any of the people who are brought to life on the page.  In this course, we will become cartographers of our homelands: the varied places that have shaped and continue to shape us. We will define the boundaries of the spaces we call home. We will discover what gives these places their essence and will, in turn, find the features, flavors, colors, and questions of these landscapes that reside within us. In addition to using writing to do this, participants will be invited to use other forms such as collage and sound recordings to visually and aurally map out the place or places that have most informed their way of being and moving in the world. We will explore other places as foils, juxtaposed against our homelands. We will consider the homelands of our ancestors and how all the places of our people are carried in our veins and sinews and skin.

In our course, participants will read and discuss selections from nonfiction writers whose work centers on place. We will partake in both in and out of class generative writing exercises, and as we progress in the course, participants’ writing will become raw material for the class with each student having the opportunity to bring in a draft and receive feedback in a short workshop. Together, we will ask questions about home and homelands, refine our ideas about how to best shape setting on the page, and consider the way shaping place in writing invites the reader further into the story: so that our home becomes their home for a while.