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2018-01/24 The Art of the Personal Essay with Molly Larson Cook

Date: First class is Wednesday, January 24, 2018 Time: 12pm to 2pm Number of sessions: Five Wednesdays, January 24, 31, February 7, 14, 21 Members: $150 Nonmembers: $180 Location: San Diego Writers, Ink, Arts District Liberty Station, 2730 Historic Decatur Road, #202-204, Barracks 16, 2nd Floor Above Women's Museum, San Diego, CA 92106

What’s on your mind and burning to be set down on paper? What recollections do you have when an old song triggers a memory? How do the smallest things start a line of thinking that takes you to the past or forward as you ponder the future?

The personal essay is your route to bringing your thoughts, opinions, questions and ideas into the world. Learn to compose thought-provoking and publishable personal essays about topics that interest you from today’s news to your favorite places in nature, family memories and more. The personal essay is not the 5-paragraph essay you learned in school but a more reflective form that takes the writer and reader on an unhurried stroll from first sentence to last. Personal essays appear as newspaper op-eds and columns, short magazine articles, online posts, memoir chapters, and in essay collections compiled by one author or another.

The successful personal essay can be serious, light, humorous, or weighty. The form is relaxed but not without a structure which you’ll learn in this series. Handouts will provide examples, and writers will have the opportunity to workshop three short essays and one revision in this comfortable setting. (Workshopping is optional but encouraged.)

For those who have taken my earlier Personal Essay workshops, please be assured we’ll be using all new material!

Please bring a favorite small object or photograph to the first class.

Five Wednesdays, January 24 – February 21 from 12:00 – 2 p.m. Class size is limited to 8.


Molly Larson Cook  is an award-winning writer and writing coach. She began as a journalist and has published op-eds and essays as well as a number of magazine and newspaper articles. Molly taught writing and literature in universities on both coasts and in workshops for adult writers at her Skylark Writing Studio on Whidbey Island in Washington. Most recently, she received the 2016 Steve Kowit Poetry Prize, and her winning poem is included in the 2016-2017 San Diego Poetry Annual.  Molly was a Fellow at the Fishtrap Writers Conference in Oregon where she worked with poet Naomi Shihab Nye, and she received the Dibner Fellowship for Fiction in Maine. She twice served as a juror for the Maine Arts Commission’s literary award, most recently in 2017. Molly’s jazz novel, Listen, was published in 2003 and her one-woman show, On Our Way to Somewhere, in 2002. She is engaged in both writing and painting in San Diego.  She blogs about jazz and art at and She blogs about writing at and her sometimes cranky and opinionated personal essays appear under the name of her alter ego at


PLEASE NOTE: It is best to register at least a week before the start of a class to help our instructors prepare and ensure that a class does not get cancelled or rescheduled.