A Cactuseaters writing class: “A sense of place” at the Capitola Book Cafe

Hello everyone. I want to start getting the word out that I will be teaching a one-night class called “A Sense Of Place” over at the Capitola Book Cafe here in Capitola, CA., on , Friday May 11, from 630 to 830 pm. We will talk about capturing the idea of places (from your own backyard to the Pacific Crest Trail.) We will compose on-the-spot place sketches, discuss strategies and approaches for travel and place writing and have a chance to discuss some of my very favorite place writing selections, featuring samples from Joan Didion, Edward Hoagland, Jonathan Raban and more. Place writing can help you bring to life most any kind of writing you do, from creative nonfiction to fiction and poetry. The class size is limited so reserve a space soon. I will share more details in the coming weeks. http://cactuseaters.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default

And more memoirs (and other books) that I loved: expanded and updated

Here are a few memoirs that I’ve read and can’t stop re-reading. Sigrid Nunez: Sempre Susan. OK, I’ve got to quibble with that title, which sounds a bit too much like that Brooke Shields show from the mid-1990s — Suddenly Susan — but the book captivated me completely. I read it twice in one sitting, and you will see, from the book’s admirable svelteness, that this is possible. Not to ruin anything, but the book is a memoir of Susan Sontag — not a biography, not ‘a life of,’ but a memoir in the Vivian Gornick sense, a tale about a point of engagement between two friends/antagonists. I loved the things that fill this book, those scraps of dialogue, the way Nunez captures Sontag’s entrancing/seductive/condescending/cajoling/encouraging ways with all of the people around her, not just friends and confidantes but total strangers. I can’t stop talking about Stephen Elliott’s the Adderall…