HAVE PEN* WILL TRAVEL
*And lesson plan
Classes in writing, performing, media studies, film and literature
for your group or organization.
I have a Master's Degree from New York University in Performance Studies, a pending MA in English from Western Illinois University, six years of PhD work in Theatre and English, and 10 years of teaching experience at Illinois State University, Concordia University, the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis Community and Technical College, and EXCO: The Experimental College of the Twin Cities, and Scott Community College and Brown Mackie College in the Iowa Quad Cities. I have done every kind of writing there is to do, from technical writing to creative writing and writing for performance. I have published and performed my work throughout the country. Click here for a partial list of publications and performances.
I am PASSIONATE about teaching and about helping people to write better, no matter what subject I am teaching.
I can design classes for your group or organization designed to promote team-building and creativity and to help people become better writers and more savvy about media as well as designed to have fun and increase people's knowledge of theatre, acting, writing, media lilteracy, film, and literature.
These are some of the classes and workshops that are readily available. Most classes are designed for 4-6 sessions that are 2 hours long. They can be offered over several weeks or over just one week. In every single case, the class will be adapted to your particular needs. I can also design other similar classes depending on your needs.
The rate is $75/hour for large companies and $50 an hour for non-profits and smaller companies. If you're a small organization and this is prohibitive, talk to me and we'll see if we can work something out.
Whether you are a business wanting your staff to learn to write better reports or a writer's group who wants to infuse their group with new ideas from the outside, or any organization in between, I can help.
These are some sample courses I have taught and designed in the past. Click here to see full CV of courses.
Book Discussion Groups at corporations
Four Generations in the Work Place
WRITING AND RELATED COURSES
All writing improves upon itself and makes all of your other writing better. There are some differences between journalistic, technical, academic, and creative writing, but if you can analyze your audience and purpose and master some of the different structures of each, you will find that you can write ANYTHING reasonably well!
In addition to the classes listed here, I offer couses on technical writing, report writing, and business writing. Contact me for more information.
Writing in Everyday Life
Despite predictions that our society is being post-literate, the truth is that with Facebook, twitter, blogs and email, we are writing more now than we have ever written in our lives. Perhaps at one time, way back when, you had a class in something called composition where you wrote thesis sentences and worked on your paragraphs, but it’s all a blur to you now, yet you find yourself suddenly wanting to write better. Maybe you want to learn how to address the different audiences that you are writing to. Whether you have never taken a writing class before or you took one a long time ago and forgot all of the “rules,” this class will help you to be a better writer.
Give It 2 Me Str8: Y Grammar Still M@ers
In this modern day of twitter and Facebook, not to mention the neologisms and word play in hip hop and rap, when everyone has thrown grammar out the window, does it still matter at all? Is it just a stuffy way to exclude people? Or is there more to it than that? We will discuss issues of grammar, including how grammar can affect the ability of your work to be read, what grammar means in this day and age, and a review of some basic grammatical concepts including sentences, commas, commonly misused words, etc.
Creative Writing for the Non-Creative
In this class, we will use some unique prompts to stimulate your creativity. Have you ever tried writing with your eyes closed? Crossing out words in a newspaper? Ever written an Exquisite Corpse? We will do all of this in just one class! Whether you are an experience writer or this is your first time writing anything other than a shopping list, you will have fun and you will walk away with at least two new pieces of writing each week and a boatload of ideas for others. This classes deals primarily with poetry, but there will be some short fiction generated as well.
Whose Words? Our Words! (Sort of.)
Who owns words anyway? Are plagiarism and copyright still relevant today? What are the ethical and legal ramifications of fair use and sampling in writing and music? We'll look at the traditions of avant-garde writing over the last 100 years including Dadaism and Beat poets like William S. Burroughs all the way up to hip hop and sampling in music and writing today. Students will get to practice all forms of plagiarism from the blatant to the subtle.
Getting Started on Your Novel or Short Story
There is no substitute for just doing it! I have compiled many articles and a list of books designed to inspire you, ways to publish your excepts and get feedback and encouragement as you go, etc. We will talk about different avenues for your writing and which one might be right for you.
Watching & Reading the News
There’s a lot of talk about the liberal media, the mainstream media, NPR Fox News, fake news, etc. Do you know who produces the news you watch or read? Do you know how many corporations own all the TV news in the country? We will take a critical look at the news that we receive every day in America through keeping media journals, following stories past and present, on social media and off, and have lively (but respectful) conversations.
Acting Out of Resistance: A History of Culture Jamming
The term culture jamming comes from broadcasting terminology for jamming the airwaves. It involves ways of making your own media to counter the media messages we see every day and to make interventions into culture via media. We'll look at the history of culture jamming, including the Situationists International and the Yippies from the 1960s, feminist zines from the 1980s and 1990s, to the current practice by the Yes Men and Reverend Billy. We'll watch movies and videos of performances, read zines, have discussions, and have the chance to participate in some low cost/low tech (but potentially high visibility) culture jamming of our own.
Theatre teaches ensemble building as well as confidence in front of groups, public speaking skills, and of course, acting techniques. I can design classes based on the specific needs of your group or organization and/or specific plays that you want to workshop due to themes. I can also help you select the right play for your organization.
Acting with a Passion
In this class, we will explore several different actors and directors and their ideas about acting. We'll also learn an acting technique designed to make you an "athlete of the emotions." Actors of all levels of experience (from "none" to "Shakespearean") are invited to participate. Don't be shy! Emote! Project! Gesture! Most of all, have fun!
In documentary performance, you take something that has actually occurred and you try to portray it on the stage as accurately as possible. We will work with some acting and interviewing techniques to develop characters and texts of our own, culminating in short performances on the last day of class.
We will develop ensembles, including directors as well as actors, to bring a short play to life.
As with film, I can design classes around any author or theme, around poetry, fiction, or drama. What are you interested in? We’ll decide on a class or workshop! This is one that I designed that is near and dear to my heart.
Women Writers of the 1950s
Most people think of the Feminist movement as exploding in the 1960s, but it was really in the 1950s that the groundwork was being made. We will look at innovative women writers of that generation, including Sylvia Plath, Diane DiPrima, Hettie Jones, Joyce Johnson, and many others. We will look at some of the specific concerns of these women that came out in their poetry, memoirs and fiction.
Any number of film classes can be designed to meet your needs. There are some examples of classes that I have recently taught and that are “roadworthy.”
Recent Sci-Fi Films of Stephen Spielberg
We will look at 3 films by Stephen Spielberg made within the last 10 years, including AI, Minority Report, and War of the Worlds. We will look at the literature that the films are based upon and examine the page-to-screen aspect of the films, the process of adaptation, and common themes between the three movies.
Films of Alfred Hitchcock
We will watch and discuss several films by Hitchcock and a variety of readings that reflect on his work. Freudian dimensions are particularly fruitful for viewing Hitchcock and he was no doubt influenced by Freud's theories as well while filming.
A Temporary Madness: The Romantic Comedy
We’ll watch 3 different romantic comedies and study them for the conventions of the form as well as through the lens of feminist theory. What function do they fulfill in audiences? How do they manage to succeed even though we can see right through them? We’ll seek out the answers to these questions and more.