A Writing Class You Should Say "Yes" To

Saturday, October 24, 2020

I’m finishing up a six-week WOW class (“Face Your Fears”) with Chelsey Clammer. This is not my MO. I’m cheap. (I buy my clothes from thrift stores.) I’m broke. (I’m a teacher. Do I need to say more?) I’m busy. (In my spare time I’m working on putting the finishing touches on a manuscript that’s getting published. I have a publisher! Have I mentioned that in the last 7 seconds?) Shell out money for a class? A class that involves reading every week and responding every week and writing every week? Fuhgedddabotit. 

                                                                        image by Pixabay
                                           When you write about your fears, you write with depth.

 Until Angela Mackintosh said, “I love working with Chelsey. My favorite workshop she teaches is ‘Face Your Fears: Women Writers Anonymous’ - and there's one starting on Monday, Sept 14th!” and then I immediately paid my class fee and put my name on the class list. 

Now I’m going to sing a duet with Angela Mackintosh. Chelsey Clammer is the bomb (as my students used to say). Here’s why I recommend you sign up for any class taught by Chelsey Clammer… and one reason why you might hestitate: 

Chelsey has two lasers for eyes. Her suggestions zero in on the heart of your piece. She guides readers into figuring out what is the real point. You might think that’s easy to do, but when you’re writing about subjects filled with emotion and family dysfunction--sometimes the point is buried deep down. 

The work is not work. I thought reading multiple pieces chosen by an instructor would be a chore. You know, like reading something out of a textbook. During the first week, we were given three essays to read, in preparation for our writing. They were inspiring. Thought-provoking. That level was maintained throughout the course of the class. Clammer knows good “stuff” when she sees it (and you know what I really wanted to say when I wrote “stuff”). 

Chelsey opens up to and looks out for her writers. She made it clear that if we got judgmental with our comments, she’d put a stop to it. Before it even happened, because she’d pre-approve posts. She gave us her phone number. She offered to chat us up via email or Facebook. Like most of us, I’ve been in writing groups where the members were heavy-handed/clueless/heartless. It’s impossible for that to happen with Clammer at the helm. 

And since I’m being completely honest, I must include one reason why you might want to say a vehement “no” to taking one of Chelsey Clammer’s clases: I like to include at least 42 ellipses in every short story or essay. They add so much to a piece when you can pepper every sentence or two with ‘em. She disagrees. Clammer thinks they should be used sparingly (the horror!) and only for certain reasons (grammar-schlammer), which means she’s wrong. I won’t hold it against her too much. Some day, she’ll see the light.

If you'd like to read something written by Chelsey Clammer, check out her essay, "A Striking Resemblance."  I guarantee it will blow you away.


To sum up my advice: if you can ignore her horribly off-kilter ideas about ellipses, keep an eye out for the next class Chelsey Clammer teaches. You’ll dive deeply into your writing. You’ll become a more reflective reader and writer. And the work you do--the reading, the writing and the critiquing--will be tasks of joy.

Sioux Roslawski is a middle-school teacher and a freelance writer. She thoroughly enjoyed doing the heavy lifting that was involved in writing for Chelsey Clammer's class. Sioux's historical novel (for middle grades) will debut in spring of 2021... and she is beyond thrilled.


Jeanine DeHoney said...

Sioux, what a great instructor Chelsey must be. I can tell from this post that her class is one that will help writers finetune their writing voice and be less timid when it comes to writing about those uncomfortable or painful issues in their life. And wow, her essay, "A Striking Resemblance." Yes, it did blow me away.

Sioux Roslawski said...

Jeanine-- She is indeed a stellar instructor. I'm glad I could shine a bit of a spotlight on Chelsey's work. The old saying, "Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach" is not true of her. Chelsey Clammer can write and she can teach others how to write.

Cathy C. Hall said...

We make time (and spend money) on what's important to us, Sioux. Glad Chelsey was worth every penny (and minute)!

(However, I suspect we'd butt heads on that whole ellipsis deal...what's up with THAT???)

Unknown said...

Cathy--I KNOW. She'll see the light at some point.

Powered by Blogger.
Back to Top