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UCLA Writers Studio Experience: Samantha Dunn -- Memoir Writing: Works-in-Progress

I'm so happy I finally was able to attend the UCLA Writer's Studio this year. I attended Samantha Dunn's Memoir Writing: Works-in-Progress.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Writer's Studio, every year UCLA Extension offers 4 day intensive classes in Creative Writing and Screen Writing. Space is limited to 15 students per class. This year, I applied early enough to get in.

The experience was trans-formative  Why? You put yourself in a room with 15 other writers and one incredible supportive kind honest sincere instructor, Samantha Dunn and you write away. Sharing. Learning. Laughing. Crying. This was a memoir class after all.

One of the lessons we had from the class was to bring a picture that moves us and write about what is not in the picture. Clever. I never would have thought of that one.

There were several interesting exercises we participated in, but I'd say the real lesson doesn't come from one exercise or writing tip that you suddenly get and its like a eureka moment after that and all your writing is effortless. I think the real value of studio time comes from taking the plunge to open up in a memoir class and do the work, the digging to pull out the truth of your own story.

It was sort of like the Breakfast Club experience, your in a room with people you've never met before, have a wonderful unique experience, and you walk out of the room a little different than when you first walked in.

                                 Video: The Breakfast Club Theme Song Video


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When was the last time you held a book? What was the last book you read? How was your transition from reading paper backs to reading in digital format? Have you made that switch yet?

This is also from an older draft post. I've since been part of a show, an extraordinary experience I still have to blog about but I'd thought I'd still post these earlier thoughts.

I love writing so just having a story out their in print or online and getting commented on I thought was enough but as I was recently told by an actor, when your story is told on stage its a completely different experience because of the interaction between the actors and the audience.

In this play I definitely felt the chemistry. Now and days and even back in the old days it was so hard to make a motion picture. To tell one of our stories would cost thousands of dollars and an experienced Hollywood budget and staff. At CASA 0101 what you need is an idea and some ganas to make your story into a play. And best of all its a community event with a very grass roots feel.