Some experiences beg us to write about them, but we often feel overwhelmed when trying to capture the whole story at once. Life is comprised of moments: Big, showy ones, and small, quiet ones–many of them infused with deeper meaning, what Virginia Woolf called “moments of being.” Sometimes we can easily articulate a moment’s meaning, but often we can only make sense of it peripherally. In a flash essay, the moment and the meaning must be distilled to their purest essence. It’s a tall order for a short form.
In this fast-paced, hands-on session, we’ll explore the art of flash nonfiction and short essays. Through prompts and exercises, participants will create a list of potential essay ideas, identify key details and imagery to help them dig into the heart of those stories, and, if time allows, write the opening for at least one essay. Using the “one-moment memoir” process allows writers to take a relaxed, yet focused, approach to telling life’s big and small stories in bite-sized pieces.
This session will benefit writers who are new to the flash form, as well as those looking for additional tools to use in writing short essays. At the end of this session, participants will have a personal list of story ideas to serve as “jumping-in” points for short essays, practical tips on how to approach the flash essay, plus a list of resources for further study and practice.