(Wednesday nights in Sacramento since forever now, with a parallel section in Davis on Tuesday nights)
CNF (because at some point we all just stopped spelling out ‘Creative Nonfiction…’) is a weekly, year-round workshop that provides area writers with the chance to build and sustain readerships attuned to longer-term conversations about new work at any stage–and to keep you writing your way forward in close-knit community, week after week, in conversation with living literature.
We read the very best creative nonfiction being published today, practice workshopping in a way that is generous, supportive, and focused on the writer’s goals, and take home a wide variety of writing exercises to fuel us during the week and inspire our sense of possibility.
Many in this workshop joined years ago and have used its structure to develop book-length projects, but the group is open to writers who identify as beginning essayists and would like to find support for exploring their writing lives one piece at a time. We make room to explore the many intersections of poetry and prose, lyric and argument, story and truth, investigation and meditation, and the personal and the universal in our thinking about this genre, and are wide open to those who work in forms other than the essay.
As facilitator, I will push you to concentrate the core of your writing, honor your creative expertise, and produce work that will change your life. I lead from a belief formed over a decade of teaching and a lifetime of voracious reading that this moment’s work is about creating more space for truth in our world: through formal expansion, re-evaluation of the beliefs we bring to story, sharper attention to how we perceive, and trust in the capacity of voice.
I originally started this workshop in Davis in 2003, and have proudly watched dozens of writers find what they most wanted to find in their writing within this circle. Alums of the workshop have now published memoirs, gone on to MFA programs all over the place, launched publishing projects, become reviewers, and hit print more times than I can count. The miracle of this thing lies, I think, in how seriously I encourage those in my workshops to arrive exactly where they are, week after week.
New sessions open for registration three times a year (in August for fall, December for winter/spring, and April for spring/summer). If you’d like to receive word to your inbox when future sessions open for registration, I suggest clicking back to the home page and signing up for an email subscription to this blog.
Curious about how we operate? Drop me an email and introduce yourself: rgouirand [at] gmail [dot] com.
CNFers past + present have said the following:
Rae crafts an inspirational space in which we collectively create community, practice intellectual exchange, and develop the confidence to share the best of ourselves in writing. (MDK, Davis)
Rae honors each writer’s intention by meeting new work where it is. As leader, she brings her tremendous depth of reading, writing and evaluative skill to bear on each piece, which she expresses with both clarity and complexity to aid the writer’s continued progress. This magical combination offers continuous inspiration to us all. (GWS, Davis)
Rae’s workshops provide me with a stable practice of reading both current and classic literature and exploring and taking risks on my own. The feedback I receive helps me to hone my writing skills and illuminates the fact that as a writer I am not alone. (BN, Davis)
Rae is astonishingly smart and perceptive, and yet so patient. Experiment or play it safe. She responds to each participant individually, with as much inspiration and guidance as each desires. Over the years, Rae has provided me with a consistent foundation of support as I’ve progressed from aspiring writer to published–and even paid–writer. (SST, Sacramento)
Rae’s CNF workshops dive deep. Her thoughtfully chosen readings and engaging lectures make for spirited round table (or in our case, living room) discussion. Our writing assignments are shared in an environment of support and encouragement. Rae urges us to look deeper, and ask harder, and write truer. She is a true gift to the writing community.(CH, Fair Oaks)
Through lucky happenstance that only happens when your heart is open to magic, I found Rae and the community of writers that I needed as my hometown literary tribe. I’ve discovered a fresh commitment and passion for my memoir. (TJW, Davis)
Rae’s unrelenting commitment to sharing her passion and talent for words on a page has allowed me to unbridle my own passion for writing. I appreciate that Rae takes equal interest in all her students, regardless of their writing experience or professional goals. I am grateful to have participated (and will continue to participate) in her workshops, and to be a member of this writing community. (BH, Sacramento)
Rae is a gifted teacher: she draws on a wealth of knowledge and brings out the best in her students. (Anonymous, Sacramento)
Rae creates a stimulating, supportive environment with so many thoughtful, inspiring insights. Her poet’s vision is fresh and contagious. (KD, Carmichael)
I love Rae—she is by far the most informed, engaged instructor I’ve had and her passion for and knowledge of creative nonfiction is incredible! (Anonymous, Sacramento)
The community Rae has crafted offers a supportive and companionable ‘home’ to each of the participants in her workshops. (JS, Carmichael)
It has been a breathtaking 16 weeks, with much read and written, and much learned… [Rae is] indeed a writer’s gift! (HA, Sacramento)
Being in the presence of other writers and taking part in Rae’s lively and challenging discussions have been instrumental in helping me heal. (MN, Davis)
Having the opportunity to discuss writing with fellow writers is a gift, doing so under the direction of someone as skilled a facilitator as Rae an even greater gift. (SS, Davis)
Rae expanded my mind and writing skills in ways I could never have fathomed. (Anonymous, Sacramento)
Hands down, this is the best class I have ever taken, kindergarten to Masters’ degree. (JB, Sacramento)