Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Advanced Writing Institute, Summer of 2008

Living the Narrative Life

Gian S. Pagnucci, author of Living the Narrative Life, says ,

We ought to seek out stories. Even our troubles, the broken down car, the lost treasure, the embarrassing fall: when we become attuned to the ways these events create a storied life, they lose some of their bite, becoming, with some time and distance, moments to treasure. Once, walking out of an Eric Clapton concert that had cost $85 per ticket, I heard a tall, blonde man say to the friend next to him: “Sure, It was expensive, but what are your memories worth?” (55)

This is a glimpse of what Pagnucci means by “the narrative life.”

In our second annual Advanced Writing Institute this summer, we invite teachers to pursue their “narrative lives” in about ten days of writing, sharing and reflecting on how narrative shapes our personal and professional lives. We can compose teacher narratives, literacy narratives, family narratives, digital narratives, case studies, personal profiles —whatever uses narrative to explore a memory or topic.

As we did last summer, we will set a goal to publish our pieces in journals or books or monographs or whatever form of dissemination seems appropriate. We will support each other to complete some important narrative from our lives.

The institute will be centered around seven days in July, the 21st to the 29th and a pre-institute and post-institute meeting. At the pre-institute meeting we will set our individual writing goals for the institute and at the post-institute meeting reflect on our present or future steps toward publication. We are anxious to recruit our active teacher/ writers as consultants as well as participants in this institute.

In another article in the Winter Newsletter, Sarah Soebbing reflects on our Continuity Group’s goal to write a book of teacher narratives. This is the first time a Continuity Group has set a goal of publication, but I hope it is the beginning of an active writing community among the teachers of the Eastern Michigan Writing Project. We need each other to support the urge to write. Without our community, our best efforts lie dormant in our journals.

Following the model of last summer, we will offer the institute with three ways to pay: $100. fee for EMWP teachers, $200 for teachers who are not EMWP members, and the cost of three graduate credits for those registering for credit (Engl 592). Naturally we are eager for everyone to take this for credit, because it seals a commitment, but we are trying to be as inclusive as possible.

For more information and to express interest in participation, contact Bill Tucker, Institute Director.