Second Round of Feedback for the Memoir Writing Workshop with Cheryl Strayed

Posted by on Feb 15, 2014 in General Reading, News | 0 comments

Dear Friends,

As promised, here are the remaining comments we have received for Cheryl Strayed’s Memoir Writing Workshop. Click here to read the first round of feedback.


IshanIshan Sharma, an independent filmmaker and poet, was kind enough to send us the following words:

The Memoir Writing workshop by Cheryl Strayed was a wonderful experience not only for seasoned writers, but even for enthusiasts like me, who are forever scared to share their writings. And that’s what Cheryl started on- the importance of “courage” when you’re writing. The beauty of showing all sides of your character in memoir writing. To my delight, these few hours ended up being less of a workshop and more of an intimate conversation with a writer I admire. And a good conversation always ends up teaching you more. We did quite a few writing exercises – ranging from pinning down thoughts about loss, periods of transition to writing about talismans. It was interesting to listen to what others had written and even more liberating to finally share what I had written. I’m quite surprised how much I learnt in a span of a few hours.

Thank you Cheryl, and the Literature Studio for an inspiring experience! I would love to be a part of any more workshops, meet-ups that you guys have to offer.”
Thanks Ishan for  your kind words. Such encouragement will keep us going a long way.
RaviManoramRavi Manoram is an MBA from FMS and is currently working on his first novel. He has shared the following thoughts with us:
There are workshops and there are THE workshops; where you are not taught and yet you learn. Attending Cheryl Strayed’s workshop on Memoir writing was one such event in my life that is worth remembering. The best selling author, yet in her most simplest avatar guided us through the whims and needs of memoir writing and made it come so alive that it almost made each one think of telling our own story or atleast make an attempt at one.I myself have been working on a novel that can be classified as a memoir and I was happy to get a lot of inputs from Cheryl on the art as well as the craft of writing which is helping me rewrite pages of the book. A workshop that emerged from the ocean of unknown because of a friend who lives seven seas far turned to out to an important chapter of learning in my life for which I would be thankful to three people in particular:a)      Cheryl Strayed: for taking all the pain to come and spare some time;b)       Vibha Malhotra: for taking the initiative and the pain to organize this wonderful workshopc)       And my unnamed friend here who guided me to attend this workshop.

The best things in life are free and it comes out of the blue in your life. Thank you Cheryl once again and hope to meet you again the times to come.”

Thanks Ravi! We wish you the best for your novel.
Sumita ThaparTraveller and aspiring writer, Sumita Thapar, sends us the following gracious note:
The memoir writing workshop with Cheryl Strayed was an excellent learning opportunity. Cheryl shared tips, leads, clues with such generosity. The writing exercises helped reveal new insights. Cheryl spoke of how memoir writing is the art of revelation, how we must choose the story we want to tell and explore how that struggle/ enquiry connects with something universal. She also told us to choose the vantage from from where the story is told best. Loved the clues like how moments of transition become effective entry points into storytelling, using objects like talismans to tell a story. Finally, about technique and practice, ‘building the writing muscle’, ‘becoming brave slowly’, how revealing one’s self is not for the fainthearted.

I had first read about Cheryl’s book Wild in a Salon article, which led me to her wonderful memoir. Since I have gifted the book to many 20-something women friends. Her remarkable journey told with such honesty is truly inspiring. For me this workshop was special because I have an unfinished travelogue for the last many years. I came hoping to get some help in identifying problems areas and ways to overcome them.Cheryl’s insights on how to deal with common problems such as protecting other people’s privacy, how to build the narrative, were very useful.
I’m hoping to complete my travelogue this year. “
Thanks Sumita! Amen to finishing your travelogue this year.
Anmol KatareYoung writer and an author of a published novel, The Story, Anmol Katare, wrote a review of the workshop on his blog. Here is an excerpt:
“Memoir” is a very significant part of the literature, which stands for “Memory or Reminiscence” that involves only literary non-fiction genre. And more specifically is a collection of memories or personal experiences that an individual writes about events of his personal life that could be either private or public. In some perspectives the memoirs and autobiographies are relatively different in some aspects. A memoir focuses on one aspect of author’s life and on the contrary an autobiography focuses that author’s entire life.
So, fortunately we had a workshop organized by ‘Literature Studio’ at ‘The American centre- New Delhi’ which had a session of two hours. I was grateful for being enlightened by the International bestselling Author “Cheryl Strayed” (American Memoirist), who has written several books and known widely for her Memoir “Wild”. It was a very edifying session of two hours in which the lady interacted with us personally and instructed a lot many things about the Memoir Writing. So for the foremost session, we had an introduction round in which Cheryl told us about many of her life’s experiences and how she came across the writer inside of her. Being inspired by Her own life, she ended up writing an incredible Memoir “Wild” that has her own personal story from her young hood, narrating the loss when her mother died of lung cancer and several more strategies of her life as well…”. Click here to read the entire review.
Thanks for your kind words Anmol! All the best for your writing. Don’t stop, write another book. 🙂

Sangeeta Khanna

Sangeeta Khanna, a health food and nutrition writer, a nutrition consultant, and a blogger wrote a generous note on her blog. Here is an excerpt:
“I got my answers, at least a few of them, when I attended a memoir writing workshop by Cheryl Strayed. My friends Vijay and Vibha (from Literature Studio) invited me for the same. I had little idea what I am headed for. But let me tell you about Cheryl Strayed first. I had come across this column by Dear Sugar in the past and had found her insightful advises really genuine. Now that I always felt these agony aunts always come up with superficial advice to funny people in our news paper and magazine columns, this one seemed like she had seen life in true sense. I could not point a finger how and why she sounded right but she was someone who had lived all shades of life, has related well to others, has connected with human soul and has observed those inevitable patterns of pain, suffering and healing in her life. I had no idea what sugar had experienced or where her perspective came from. Later I forgot about this column as there was too much to handle on my own plate. I never knew who this sugar was.This workshop was a pleasant surprise when it started. An author whose work I had not read came across like a warm personality and started the workshop quite casually. It was when she mentioned she was the anonymous writer of sugar columns, I started getting a few glimpses of what all she wrote. And then she told she had written this book Wild which was about a solo trek she took after her mother had died. I could relate to what all she spoke and could very well understand why she took 20 years to write this book after the real experience. A memoir of a solo trek that she took after her mother’s death. A powerful story of grieving, healing and bringing life in perspective…”. Click here to read the complete review.
Thanks Sangeeta. May “Creative Writer” be one of the many hats you wear.
And this is it. We can’t express how humbled we feel by this generous out-pour of support. To many more such workshops…to many more such creative hours spent together…Cheers.

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