Skip to Content

The Remembered Life: Keeping a Writer’s Notebook led by Evan James


10 Sessions

In stock

Once a week Wednesdays, 6:30 pm EDT - 8:30 pm EDT July 15 to September 16, 2020

This workshop will take place online via Zoom. Participants will receive instructions prior to the first session.

How do we gather the raw material for our work? How can we use the details of our lives—the day-to-day sights, sounds, and scenes that we witness—as the starting point for meaningful writing? And what special purpose might this serve during a time of great change and upheaval?

The Remembered Life is a 10-week generative writing workshop in which we will hone the practice of keeping a writer’s diary—a practice aimed toward refining our skills of observation and collecting material that can eventually be developed into polished work, be it nonfiction, fiction, or otherwise. Throughout the 10 weeks, students will receive prompts and challenges meant to encourage the use of their writer’s diary as a kind of “sketchbook”: a way of capturing the flux of life and refining their own distinct way of seeing and depicting things.

We will read and discuss excerpts from other writers’ diaries, journals, and notebooks, some of which stand as works of literary and historical interest in their own right, by Franz Kafka, Alice Dunbar-Nelson, Sei Shonagon, Charlotte Forten Grimké, Clarice Lispector, Virginia Woolf, Samuel Pepys, and others. We will examine short works of fiction and nonfiction that grew out of a similar process—works that took flight through note-keeping and the fundamental practice of noticing the world—or that make use of the diary form in some fashion. Naturally, we will also discuss our pursuit of this practice in the context of current events.


Led by

  • Evan James by Beowulf Sheehan

    Evan James

    Evan James

    Evan James is the author of Cheer Up, Mr. Widdicombe: A Novel and I’ve Been Wrong Before: Essays. Born in Seattle, he currently lives in New York. He attended The Evergreen State College and earned an MFA in Fiction from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. His work has appeared in Oxford American, the New York Times, Travel + Leisure, the Sun, and many other publications.