Writing the Community: Write to Effect Change! with Precious Rasheeda Muhammad

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"I'm interested in the way in which the past affects the present and I think that if we understand a good deal more about history, we automatically understand a great more about contemporary life."  —Toni Morrison

Explore what it means to write the community as a means of effecting change. We will study successful authors' stylistic approaches to writing for the community. We’ll examine how figures in our local communities have valuable stories that too often go untold, simply because they do not have national acclaim. We will learn creative approaches to documenting and sharing the stories of these people and how this is an effective means to “building community through history” across seemingly intractable divides. 

4-WEEK COURSE

LEARNING OBJECTIVES:

Articulate ideas about approaches to writing as a means to effect change in the community

Compose a short piece to submit for publication or donation to a local community organization or institution, for benefit of the greater community

Receive and give constructive feedback, as a trial run for engagement with larger audiences and engagement with the work of other authors

WHAT THIS CLASS WILL OFFER:

Week One: Got Character?

We will explore and discuss, through a brief lesson and assigned creative writing pieces, the key role effective characterization can play in writing the community. We will explore and discuss, through a brief lesson and assigned related texts, writing the community and writing to effect change. We will each draft an original piece based on what we learned in week one.

Week Two: Do You See What I See?

We will explore and discuss, through a brief lesson and assigned creative writing pieces, the key role effective imagery can play in writing the community. We will explore and discuss, through a brief lesson and assigned related texts, writing the community and writing to effect change. We will explore and discuss, through a brief tutorial, how to give and receive constructive feedback. We will read and discuss week one’s original piece and each draft a new original piece (or take the option to build on the previous week’s piece) based on what we learned in week two.

Week Three: Make a Scene! 

We will explore and discuss, through a brief lesson and assigned creative writing pieces, the key role effective dialogue and balancing of scene versus summary can play in writing the community. We will explore and discuss, through a brief lesson and assigned related texts, writing the community and writing to effect change. We will read and discuss week two’s original piece and each draft an original piece (or take the option to build on the previous week’s piece) based on what we learned in week three.

Week Four: It's a Wrap (Up)! 

We will read and discuss week three’s piece. We will each pick one of the submitted pieces from the past three weeks to revise and polish into a final piece. We will receive one last round of feedback from each other. We will discuss submission or donation options of the final piece.

ABOUT PRECIOUS RASHEEDA MUHAMMAD

Precious received her MFA in Creative Writing and Writing for the Performing Arts from the University of California Riverside, Palm Desert in 2016. She received her Master of Theological Studies from Harvard University. She is an author, lecturer, and researcher on religion in America, among other topics, and is known by many as “The History Detective.” She lives in Virginia with her family but travels frequently for research projects and speaking engagements. Her motto: “building community through history.” Her favorite craft-related, self-motivational saying: “write mama write.”

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