Natalie Grigson's Blog

May 6, 2020

10-Week Intro to Fiction Class - ONLINE!

Quarantine. Month Three.

I seem to have lost my mind, because I've decided to offer another, new creative writing class starting in just over a month. We'll see how this goes.

I'm planning to offer this 10-week Intro to Fiction class every six weeks. Monday and Tuesday nights. Available anywhere in the world. Because, what else am I doing?

Seriously, though. The demand for this class has grown during this more isolated time, so I've decided to up the supply. I believe it's so important to stay creative and connected during this time. If you've ever wanted to dive into your fiction-writing-self, maybe now is the time.

I had no fiction writing experience going in to Natalie's Short Story Class. By the end of the ten weeks, I had written a short story and workshopped it with the class. Natalie offers a clear class structure, does a brilliant job of teaching storytelling basics and offers informed support and activities to encourage creative risk taking with a group. I loved this class!


- Patricia T, two-time student

Details and registration can be found here.

I hope you're all staying safe, healthy, happy, and creative out there.

<3
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March 19, 2020

So this is happening.

It’s been a minute since I’ve last updated you guys. Since then, a lot has happened. I’ve been teaching more and more classes – improv, creative writing, figure drawing. I’ve started and now nearly finished the process of editing a dear friend’s latest book. I have continued to write articles and poetry and I make art here and there. And –

OH YEAH THERE IS A GLOBAL PANDEMIC HAPPENING.

You hadn’t heard? Well, this is pretty much where we’re at.

And all that stuff I’d mentioned before? Yes, it’s still happening – more or less. My creative writing class has turned into an online class; we’re even looking at adapting the figure drawing and improv classes to be online. Because, oh yeah –

WE’RE ALL SOCIALLY ISOLATING FROM EACH OTHER.

It looks sort of like this.

In the future post-apocalyptic scenario where this blog is the only remaining historical record of 21st century humankind, I’ll go ahead and tell you – this is because COVID-19 is spreading so rapidly all over the world, hospitals are becoming flooded and the death toll is going up. So we are attempting to slow the rate of transmission = less people in hospitals at once = less people in trouble = a euphemism for dead.

So here I am, making the best of the absolute craziest global situation any of us have seen. What does that look like?

I am creating. A lot. My work has slowed down dramatically because, oh fuck, one more thing –
THE GLOBAL ECONOMY HAS TANKED.

… So I have a lot more time to be creative. That’s been looking like:

- Making new art
- Writing new poems
- Actually, finally sitting down to write a blog post
- Secretly / consensually recording phone conversations with my friend Scott. We are so funny we have decided to create a podcast that will never be heard.
- Thinking about starting my own video series. I’m the host (British, of course), my dog, Roonil is the co-host. We’ve been quarantined for a year. A fun way to keep you all updated on the state of the world as our minds unravel. Thoughts?

For real though. Things have gone from a 0 to an 11 in a matter of weeks and each day brings some unbelievable new article or information. We are all doing our best not to panic, and I am lucky to have such social support and love.

And yes, I’m also eating my weight in chocolate and I haven’t washed my hair in like a week but –

THERE IS A GLOBAL PANDEMIC HAPPENING.

I will keep you all updated and cheered as best I can via this blog. Knowing me, though, the next time I post will be in like three months and by then I’ll have gone full Howard Hughes

So in the meanwhile, please get in touch if you are interested in joining one of my online improv or art classes. It’s important that we stay connected during this time –

far the fuck away from each other –

but connected all the same.

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Published on March 19, 2020 16:05 Tags: author, coronavirus, covid, natalie-grigson, pandemic, social-distancing, update

January 6, 2020

Spring Creative Writing Class Dates Announced!

So, it's been a minute.

I've been busy reorganizing my social life and personal relationships, having a birthday, a Christmas, a New Year, traveling, teaching, launching into *CAREER ACTION* mode for 2020, and you know, watching Downton Abbey.

But I'm here now to announce the official dates for my latest 10-week Intro to Fiction: Short Story Class.

It will be from February 24 - May 4 in Austin, Texas.

For detailed information and registration, visit the event here.


Happy New Year, everybody!

<3 Natalie
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November 5, 2019

10-Week Fiction Class - Final Days to Enroll!

Hey you.

Just a quick reminder that starting November 18, I'll be teaching a 10-Week Short Fiction-Writing Class. It will be in Austin, Texas. It will awesome. And registration closes next week!

So if you've been wanting to register but haven't yet, get in touch today. Message me or email me at nataliegrigson@gmail.com. Full class details below!

<3 Natalie

***

This is a course for writers of any experience level who want to...

- Become an expert at writing a compelling plot for a story
- Create rich, developed characters, backstory, and dialogue
- Master the art of description, details, and showing; not telling
- Learn to develop and trust your own writing style, voice, and narrator
- Write
- Write
- Workshop each other’s work
- Receive verbal and written feedback from myself and your classmates on your story
- End up with a polished and reviewed complete short story or single chapter of a longer work
- Read & learn from some of the best short stories

In this class, we will focus on writing short stories. (Fiction - between 1,500 and 10,000 words.)

That means, we’ll be focusing on creating new work during these ten weeks. If you find as you are writing that your short story is actually a chapter in a longer work, that is also acceptable – but you’ll need to let us know the greater context before we read yours. If you find that your short story is actually a memoir - we can talk about that.

We will spend the first four classes of the course learning various elements of storytelling, reading a short story per week on each theme, and creating the bones and details of our stories. Then, we’ll begin working on writing the stories themselves. And then we’ll workshop.

Here is a detailed breakdown of our time together:
- 2.5 hours per week
- Each Monday for 10 weeks -
(first five classes): Nov 18 - Dec 16
(HOLIDAY BREAK): Dec 17 - Jan 6
(second five classes): Jan 6 - Feb 3

- Cost: $600
- Tuition is nonrefundable
- Maximum number of students accepted: 8

*Cost Breakdown: $50 per class + $10 per week for editing, reviewing, & reading assignments

*Class cost also includes supplies, including: copies of the short stories we'll be reading, notebooks, pens, & snacks

Please let me know if you are interested as soon as possible, as I will only be taking a small number of students and spaces will fill quickly! Class members will be invited to join a private FB group upon enrollment and will receive an email with complete syllabus.

About Me:
I am an author, illustrator, and facilitator from here in Austin. I'm the author of seven books, including the bestselling Peter Able series. I've been writing and editing professionally for the past ten years and have been teaching classes on improv and creative writing for the past three.

More information at...
www.NatalieGrigson.com
www.facebook.com/AuthorNatalieGrigson
www.amazon.com/Natalie-Grigson/e/B00Z...
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Published on November 05, 2019 12:32 Tags: class

October 5, 2019

10-Week Short Fiction Class - Register Today!

I've just finished reading an excellent short story called Girls, At Play by Celeste Ng. Before this, I read a short story by Flannery O'Connor, and before that, one by Toni Morrison.

All of this isn't just for fun - though, these stories are amazing and it is quite fun - it's because I'll be teaching a creative writing class in about a month and a half, where the focus is short fiction.

In the class, we'll go over the various elements of story-telling - plot, voice, setting, character, etc. - by way of lessons, discussion, and even games. Students will use each class to dive into writing their own story - from outlining plot points to writing out character backstories and descriptions. We'll then have a break for the holidays, and when we return, the focus will be on writing our actual short stories, and then workshopping them as a group.

This will all take place from November through February, with 10 total classes. It will be in my cozy, downtown Austin home, complete with tea and hot chocolate and snacks, as the weather gets cooler.

I'd originally announced that this workshop would begin in October, but I decided to push it back by a month to begin November 18.

I'm offering $50 off registration to those who sign up before October 18 - less than two weeks away.

If you're interested in learning more, please get in touch today as spots are already filling.

And if you have some time to spare, I highly recommend reading Girls, At Play.
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Published on October 05, 2019 13:20 Tags: austin, author, class, classes, creative-writing, fiction, natalie-grigson, short-stories, short-story, texas, writer

September 13, 2019

Stop and Eat the Roses

Lately my life has been very full - full of writing, researching, creating curriculum, teaching three improv classes per week, planning an upcoming 10-week creative writing intensive... Basically, I've had the bandwidth to work and to take care of myself and my dog. But not a whole lot in between.

Which, of course, is very satisfying for parts of me - especially those parts that thrive on self-reliance and creativity and productivity. But for the parts that need down time and deep connection - I really just haven't had the time.

I'll go through phases like this. You don't write seven books in less than a decade by *not* having a streak of self reliance and a love for productivity. But it's a lot harder to do *and* care for the relationships in my life that matter to me.

So - I'm taking a *small* step back. :-) I'm moving my just-announced Fiction-Writing course back by about a month to start November 18. We'll have the first five classes, then a holiday break, then the last half of our course. If you're at all nostalgic for school (like me), just think of it as fall and spring semesters.

I'll still be teaching at night and writing during the days; but total, I've decided to keep my teaching nights to just two per week.

If you're interested in the 10-Week Fiction course, I'll still be signing up people all this month and next, but now there is a bit more time and spaciousness to get you guys registered. Event linked below.

https://www.facebook.com/events/27933...

Thanks for being with me on the ups and downs of this strange highway of life. Don't forget to stop and eat the roses .
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Published on September 13, 2019 13:05 Tags: austin, author, class, course, creative-writing, fantasy, fiction, natalie-grigson, texas, workshop, writer, writing-class

September 3, 2019

CREATIVE WRITING CLASS!

I've just finished writing the curriculum for my upcoming creative writing workshop and I'm so freakin' excited. It will be each week for 10 weeks starting in October.

Our focus will be on short story, but first chapters of longer works will also be accepted.

In this in-depth 10-week course, you'll...

- Become an expert at writing a compelling plot for your story
- Create rich, developed characters, backstory, and dialogue
- Master the art of description, details, and showing; not telling
- Learn to develop and trust your own writing style, voice, and narrator
- Write
- Write
- Workshop each other’s work
- Receive verbal and written feedback from myself and your classmates on your story
- End up with a polished and reviewed complete short story or first chapter of a longer work
- Receive resources and support on publication
- Read & learn from some of the best short stories from the past 100 years
- Get to spend 2.5 hours a week learning & writing in a cozy home downtown, sipping tea and eating chocolate, with badass people

If this sounds like something you're interested in - please let me know! I'll only be registering up to 8 people.

:-)
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August 6, 2019

What's Your Life Like?

This was the question I woke up thinking on repeat – you know how brains do that, sometimes? I’d just had a very familiar dream. Like every time, he was there – wearing a prosthetic, in good spirits, healthy, laughing. Like every time, the feeling was choice. Do I follow this path? Do I still know you? Did I ever?

What’s your life like?

So I send him this message – I do this, maybe, once or twice a year. Often after I’ve been thinking of him, or after one of those familiar dreams.

I lie in bed a while longer, anticipating him asking me the same. How you been? What you been up to? I’ll tell him, I’m mostly good. I’ll tell him I’ve been teaching improv, writing, researching, currently house-sitting for my parents who are on a trip. Maybe he’ll smile and remember this house; it’s where I grew up. It’s where in high school, he’d tap on my window to say – life is waiting out here. Let’s go, into the night. Let’s live.

He was the first person I fell in love with, in that crazed, wild, stars-are-aligning sort of way that comes with youth and adrenaline and a feeling of invincibility. Dying was for the old, we thought. We could live forever fueled by such a love.

But he did, die, that is. For at least a little while. Just after high school, he was in a terrible boating accident; he was in cardiac arrest for over 45 minutes. He left this place. But then – somehow – he came back.

You might know who I’m talking about, if you know me.

He was in a coma in the ICU – in my memory, it was for at least a week. Maybe more. But I really don’t know; it could have been only a couple of days.
I remember the kids showing up from high school, all holding hands in the ICU waiting room, heads bowed, tears dripping from noses, praying. I remember going to the bathroom, panicked, repelled by their words to some God in the sky I’d never known. I remember falling to the tile floor, back against the bathroom stall –

I don’t know God, but if there’s anything that has any power here, please, please help.

More things happened: doctors made grim announcements. It didn’t look good. A friend handed me a bag of coke at the hospital, he was keeping it for someone else. I’d never seen a bag of coke before.

I slept on a bench in the waiting area. I smoked cigarette after cigarette outside in the thick, sick summer heat – doctors and nurses in scrubs joined me in between their shifts.

I wore a red spaghetti strap shirt and his lucky pair of shorts he’d left with me some time before.

I counted all the times we’d fought and hated and loved each other. I revisited every time I’d been cruel or distant or jealous.

But more than that, I counted our kisses. The moments we sat outside of that coffee shop that’s not there anymore and laughed and I’d sit in his lap and one time, just there, we smoked salvia and the world fell away for a while.

I counted the times we said I love you. The times we snuck into buildings to just look around. The times he’d come into my art class during the school day, because we were young and in love and invincible.

And as I write this, I think about how life has such a high price. How so many of those friends we sat around with outside of that coffee shop that’s no longer there, are also gone. How unthinkable it is to be alive in a body in one moment and the next be something else? somewhere else?

and how he vanished and came back

and life took us away from each other; or maybe we did that

but I can still see him when I close my eyes and dream.

So I send him a text –

what’s your life like?

And I keep moving. And I sit at the kitchen table where I grew up eating spaghetti and applesauce and later where we were all notably missing – in our own corners of the house, drunk, or working, or hiding our pain. And I work – I work on the improv curriculum; I work on the research; the writing. And then I write a blog to update you all about my life –

I was going to tell you – I’m mostly good. I’ve been teaching improv, writing, researching, house-sitting for my parents who are on a trip…

And maybe it’s sitting at this very table in this very house where I heard the news –

He’s been in an accident. It doesn’t look good –

And maybe it’s that I had that familiar dream again –

Do I still know you? Did I ever?

– but this is what wants to come out, fingers tapping away, tears dripping down my nose. This is, in this very moment, what my life is like. And reliably, it will shift and change in a moment. And I’ll get back to my day, and you yours, and memories will arise for you and fall, and in the end –

I wonder if there is an end –

this

this

is just life.
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Published on August 06, 2019 08:42 Tags: author, life, natalie-grigson, update

July 20, 2019

Upcoming Classes in Austin!

I have some really cool series coming up for the late summer / early fall:

August:
- Improv Level 1 Class - Tuesdays starting August 6
- Improv Level 2 Class - Mondays starting August 5
- Improv Level 3 Class - Thursdays starting August 22

Each of these courses are six-week series, and are focused on improv and authentic connection and expression. Now enrolling! :-)

End of September:
- Creative Writing Workshop (8 weeks)

A small class (6 participants) will workshop a piece of writing* that you have completed before your week to be workshopped. We will workshop one piece per class, and in the first two classes, you will learn and review the basic elements of story-telling and creative writing (so you can best workshop others’ writing as well as complete your own story).

This will be an in-depth workshop including creative writing exercises and high-quality notes and suggestions (from myself, as well as the other students in the class.)

*Fiction focused; some Creative Nonfiction allowed - but no academic essays, poetry, journalism, etc. This class is focused on story-telling.

I will create an event soon, and sign up will begin in August.

For more information on me and/or my writing: www.NatalieGrigson.com

**Let me know if you are interested in these offerings ASAP!**

**YAY!**
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Published on July 20, 2019 08:42 Tags: austin, author, books, classes, creative-writing, improv, natalie-grigson, texas

July 3, 2019

Women - Do Less (To Achieve More)

We live in a culture that tells us to do more - almost all the time. If we're not getting the results we want - in work, in family, in friendship, with our health and fitness - our culture tells us that it's because we're not doing or trying hard enough.

It's no accident that our culture is based around a 24-hour cycle rather than a month-long cycle, as (news flash!) our culture is a patriarchal one. As in, a system or government where men hold the power and women are largely excluded from it. (Just take a look at this.)

See, people born with penises and people born with vaginas (not talking about gender identification here) have different hormonal cycles. Just like females, males have a hormonal cycle - but it is fast. 24 hours fast.

Females, on the other hand, run on a roughly 28-day hormonal cycle. Where men are the sun, women are the moon. And for centuries, we have been living in a society that honors and pedestalizes the male's 24-hour cycle.

All of us - no matter our natural hormonal cycle - are expected to live within this narrow 24-hour box. Never mind that we might be feeling exhausted, unproductive, or the need to rest and just be - there is simply not time for that in our current system if we want to achieve some level of success.

Of course, we can all see just how well this current system is working out - not so well for a huge percentage of the population. I know this is for a large number of reasons, but I'm starting to see that one big one is the lack of taking into account that big old other half of the population - females. Yes, it's that we are currently in a system run by men (white men), who are continuing to elect, hire, and give social standing and rights to other white men - but we also seem to be missing that the whole damn thing needs to be turned on its head from the most fundamental level.

We can't continue working within a 24-hour cycle when half the population would be better-served working within a 28-day cycle.

In her book, "Do Less," Kate Northrup talks about this very issue and lays out the four stages of a female cycle:

New Moon / Menstrual Cycle: this is the time of the month when a woman bleeds. This is a time for introspection, rest.

Waxing Moon / Follicular Phase: Just after her period - likely the time of the month she will feel creative, productive; a good time to start projects.

Full Moon / Ovulation: Around the time of ovulation (a few days before and after), we are at peak fertility. We are likely feeling the most "outward" - outgoing, productive, telling the world about the projects we're working on, etc.

Waning Moon / Luteal Phase: This is the week before your period. Likely, we'll be feeling more inward again. A good time to wrap up projects and slow down.

In case you're thinking this is a little "woo woo" for you - women's cycles being based on something as mystical as the MOON! - just know that is completely scientifically true. Matter of fact, when women are not exposed to artificial light, our monthly cycles sync up pretty precisely to the moon's cycles - and to other women's cycles. Pretty cool, huh?

Now, I'm not saying that people born with vaginas should not be in positions of power because hormones, blah, blah, blah. Quite the opposite. I believe we should know more about our cycles and really honor and use them to our benefit. When we feel like resting - we should rest. When we are in that follicular phase and we feel productive, we should follow that. When we're ovulating and at our most powerful, we should take over the world and dismantle the current patriarchal system and leave it in a smoking pile of ashes. Or something like that. :-)

Again, I know there is a LOT wrong with our current system, and this failure to honor, appreciate, and work *with* rather than against our natural, female cycles is just one of them. But it is a big one.

After reading this book, I've started to find more power and achievement - by doing less. I'm keeping track of where I am in the month and beneath the moon, and planning my work accordingly. I feel more connected to the cosmos in a very real way. And I feel more like the strange and mysterious animal that I've always been, buried beneath artificial lights and consumerism and pavement.

If you felt some resonance reading this, I highly recommend reading the book Do Less by Kate Northrup. Its primary audience is women with kids, but it is just as useful for women without kids, folks who are not currently having their monthly cycles, who haven't started to yet, and pretty much anyone who can see the moon and watch her wax and wane.

<3

Do Less The Unexpected Strategy for Women to Get More of What They Want in Work and Life by Kate Northrup
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Published on July 03, 2019 10:18 Tags: author, book-review, do-less, kate-northrup, natalie-grigson, spirituality