Turning Memories into Memoir:
Six-week course, with Mary Bonina
Mondays, March 25 – April 29, 2019
6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Thayer Memorial Library, 717 Main Street, Lancaster, Massachusetts
This is a class geared toward memoir writing at every stage in the process, giving you some tools to continue working on your own. Learn through discussion and examination of examples by some of the best published memoirists. See how to get at truth in a story and make it come alive by using elements drawn from fiction-writing including detail and image, scene and dialogue, a sense of place and time, and character development. Participants will generate personal writing pieces through guided exercises. Other important prompts will help you mine your life to identify significant experiences that beg to be dealt with. By exploring life events that mattered for you, you can select moments that reveal the truth of shared human experience and enable readers to connect with your story. Finally, this class will also delve into ways to shape your story, choosing a structure that should be unique to the demands of your narrative.
The fee for the six-week course is $200.00. Preregistration is required (see below). Contact us with questions at 7bridgewriterscollaborative@gmailcom. Deadline to enroll, March 1.
Mary Bonina’s first book of creative non-fiction was published in 2013 —My Father’s Eyes: A Memoir—which tells the story of growing up and literally being her father’s eyes, doing the seeing for him while he was gradually losing his sight from a genetic retina condition that eventually left him totally blind. Her dad, Biagio John Bonina, grew up in Milford and lived there until he married and moved to Worcester. In her memoir, Bonina relates her experience of acting as a guide for her father from a very young age, describing 1950s and ‘60s Worcester for him as she helped him navigate streets, rooms, and situations that were always in flux, nurturing skills and abilities that became essential to her adult life as a creative writer. Chapter selections appeared prior to book publication in Gulf Stream, Hanging Loose Magazine and in Zingology’s anthology called Power. Excerpts from her memoir have earned her the designation of finalist (Goldfarb Fellowship, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts) and Honorable Mention (University of New Orleans Study Abroad Contest), in addition to several fellowships for artist residencies. “Our Mutual Landscape,” Bonina’s personal essay and memoir on the work of poet Christopher Gilbert and his 1970’s community of poets in which she was active, appeared in the Worcester Review, an annual (2013).
Bonina has been a Virginia Center for the Creative Arts fellow since 2002, when she was named first alternate for the Goldfarb Fellowship, based on the submission of early chapters of My Father’s Eyes; she has since been in residence five times working on the memoir, a collection of poetry, and a novel that she has just completed. She also received a Vermont Studio Center residency fellowship as well. She earned her M.F.A. from the Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College.
Active in the Boston literary community, Bonina is a well-known reader, presenting literary programs and serving on the Board of Directors of the Writers’ Room of Boston, where she has studio space for her current work. Her website is http://www.marybonina.com.