The Journal: A Practice in Writing and Reading

with Kate Oberdorfer

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Course Description

In 2013, a team of Egyptologists found a papyri journal written nearly 4,500 years ago. The journal’s author was a man called Merer, and he chronicled moving limestone blocks from the bank of the Nile River to the construction site of the Great Pyramid. These papyri, along with other papyri found on the site years ago, are the oldest written documents in history. Today we call them journals.

Journal writing is an ancient practice that encompasses everything from the writer’s intimate thoughts, to daily tasks, or where our writer went at a particular time. Journals can span decades as we see with such published writers as Virginia Woolf and Sylvia Plath, or change the course of history as did The Diary of Anne Frank. 

But why do we write journals, and how? What do we write about and are there things we do not dare write about? How do we feel in the presence of another person’s journal and what do we search and hope for if we choose to read it?

Together we explore and uncover all that journal writing affords us. This online workshop begins with a journal writing exercise. Though we will not share our entries, we do speak about the experience of writing them. We consider what it takes to begin, how it feels to move ink across the page (or listen to keys plunge the keyboard) and think about what is coming up for each of us as we engage in the writing.

Are there themes to our journal work and what role can place and time play? Prior to the workshop’s start, we study several excerpts of published journals and then discuss why and how these publications are an asset to history and literature.

Join zealous journal writer Kate Oberdorfer Skov and step into a contemporary approach to a time-honored tradition.

Additional Information

All are welcome

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Writers Lab
Kate Oberdorfer

Kate Oberdorfer is a writer based out of Colorado. She is a graduate of the Columbia Journalism School where she wrote her masters on Cuban exiles in Union City, NJ and continues to write about Cuba for the Huffington Post and Startup Cuba. She freelances for various book reviews and works on and off as the Personal Stylist for Anthropologie.

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