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If loss is an unavoidable part of the human condition, so is making sense of it—and we make sense through the way we tell our stories. This workshop, meeting weekly for six weeks, is for writers of any ability and experience who have learned something from loss and now wish to share it.

Workshop members will have the opportunity to begin sharing almost immediately. The specific, immediate goal of this workshop is for each participant, by the workshop’s end, to contribute a short written piece that will be included in the book (tentatively titled AFTER: Stories about Loss and What Comes Next) that will be published and launched with a public reading in Traverse City in December 2018.

I expect that most participants in the workshop have as an objective a longer work such as a memoir. I’m emphasizing the writing and publication of a short piece not to supplant this larger goal, but as a way to provide interim, short-term goals that provide sustenance for the long journey. I’ve created this workshop for writers whose primary aim is to share, and nothing satisfies that larger goal so well as sharing small works not only in workshops but in public as well.

Meeting tangible, short-term goals also reflects this workshop’s practical focus. We are a writing workshop, and in our weekly meetings most of our topics and discussions will focus on the craft of writing. In the end, however, writing is only the means to reach the larger purpose of sharing. This workshop is best suited for those who seek to meet tangible goals, and for those who want to emphasize larger issues like narrative structure and character development.

And we will always be story-focused. The stories we tell after loss must be stories about redemption. “Redeem,” after all, means to gain (or regain) something in exchange for something of value. It is not within our power to reverse time and regain exactly what we had, but we do have the power to make the exchange having some meaning. This workshop is for writers who are willing to use the vulnerable “I” in place of the advice-giving “you,” and who have as their goal both honoring the lost and reassuring others that we are not alone.


Instructor: Daniel W. Stewart
6 weekly meetings: Tuesdays, October 16-November 27, 2018, 2:00-4:30pm
Traverse City, Michigan
In-person attendance is by far the best, but we’ll also have some simple teleconferencing options available. 
Registration: $400

Fall 2018 Goal

Contribute to the book AFTER: Stories about Loss and What Comes Next, to be published in December 2018.

Long-Term Goal

Most participants will be aiming also to complete larger projects. To make this possible, further memoir/life story workshops will continue, in 6-meeting sessions, through 2019, beginning in January.


Daniel Stewart [email protected], 231-715-1786

About Daniel

Daniel Stewart, PhD, is a writer, historian, writing coach, book designer and storyteller through his practice History By Design. His articles, personal essays and short fiction have appeared in various literary and historical publications and he has edited Peaceable Kingdom: Michigan Writers Reply to Edward Hicks (forthcoming from Margin Release Books). He holds interdisciplinary, documentary and history degrees and certificates, and is a past president of Michigan Writers, Inc. He is currently finishing both a memoir and a novel on an old farmstead in Leelanau County he shares with his wife and a number of animals, some of them invited.