November Class Notes

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Lindsey Crittenden

Nov 25, 2014, 7:31:58 PM11/25/14

Class Bulletin
Welcome to our monthly e-newsletter including tips about writing, what we're reading now, and the latest news about our classes.  

WINTER CLASSES are now online!  We’ve got everything from memoir and personal essay to poetry and screenwriting, travel and business & tech writing, experimental and spiritual writing and various aspects of short fiction and the novel.  We’ve got weekend (and one-day) immersions and multi-week workshops in all genres.  All Grotto classes are taught by writing professionals published in the genre they’re teaching.  Classes start in January and will fill fast.

You’ll see that we’ve revamped our website and our enrollment process.  Now you can sign up directly on the website.  For more information, and to see the new classes website in action, please visit or scroll down to Note three.

Note one: Writing tips from our teachers
From Joshua Mohr (A Master’s Class on Building a Character’s Vibrant Psychology, 8 sessions beginning Jan. 12, and Plaracterization: Marry Plot and Character, 1 session Feb. 22)

Are timed exercises a part of your writing life?  Whenever I'm in the early stages of putting together a novel, I like to put 10 minutes on the clock and scribble scribble scribble.  I don't correct typos or grammar.  I don't allow myself to stop clacking.  The nice thing about this style is that there's no time to be self conscious; it's just about building one sentence at a time, brick by brick.  Of course, I end up going back and cleaning these things up, yet the ideas--the wild ideas that I stumble across writing this quickly--it helps me to get out of my own head and into the minds of my characters.  Go ahead and put yourself on the clock and see if it helps your books like it's helped mine!

Note two:  What we’re reading now

From Lavinia Spalding (Writing the Travel Essay: From Inspiration to Publication, 6 sessions beginning Jan. 8)

I just returned from a trip to Peru, and I brought along the new anthology from Lonely Planet (out in bookstores this week), edited by the incomparable Don George and titled An Innocent Abroad.  It features tales of lost innocence via travel experiences, penned by some of the country’s most celebrated authors. Cheryl Strayed writes about going, with only 24-hour’s notice, to a country that she (a “world traveler with a lifelong map obsession”) had never even heard of—Andorra—and risking her life to do the thing she loved most, while Dave Eggers brings you into the seedy back room of a Bangkok nightclub/brothel. Jane Smiley and Ann Patchett both tell about travels in France—Patchett as a nineteen-year-old ingénue in search of experience, and Smiley as an experienced equestrian in search of comprehension. Sloane Crosley brings us right to the edge of a terrifying cliff in Australia, making us wonder what we would do in her situation: jump or chicken out? Mary Karr writes about her journey into the jungles of Central America, and Richard Ford brings us along as he blithely drives a dangerous drug-smuggling road in Morocco.  Other travel-writing legends sharing their stories here include Pico Iyer, Simon Winchester, Jan Morris, and Tim Cahill. Full disclosure: I also have an essay in this anthology. And even more exciting , so does Jenna Scatena, who penned her "Innocent Abroad” story in a travel-essay class at the Grotto. If you’re interested in the art of literary travel writing, this anthology is the perfect primer for you—and even if you’re not, it’s a great ride.

Note three: Winter classes & workshops
Classes are listed in chronological order, by date of first session.  For full descriptions, and to enroll, click on each class or 

  • January 8, 2015 - February 12, 2015
    6:30 pm - 9:00 pm
  • INSTRUCTOR: Lavinia Spalding
  • January 14, 2015 - March 4, 2015
    6:30 pm - 9:00 pm
  • INSTRUCTOR: Gerard Jones
  • January 17, 2015
    10:00 am - 4:00 pm
  • INSTRUCTOR: David Munro
  • January 28, 2015 - February 25, 2015
    6:30 pm - 9:00 pm
  • INSTRUCTOR: Junse Kim

  • February 22, 2015 - March 1, 2015
    1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
  • INSTRUCTOR: Lindsey Crittenden
  • March 21, 2015
    10:00 am - 4:00 pm
  • INSTRUCTOR: David Munro
Note four: Hearing from you
We’d like to hear from you.  What would you like us to include in the Grotto Class Bulletin?  What classes would you like to see offered at the Grotto?  What books about writing have been particularly useful for you?  Send your thoughts/comments/kudos & complaints to Lindsey Crittenden at 

Note five: Subscribing & unsubscribing
And of course, if you'd like to opt out of the Grotto Class Bulletin, you can always do so at, just click on Edit my membership, and then Unsubscribe.

Thanks for reading!

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