Writing Classes: Nonfiction

Shea Serrano - Movies (And Other Things) (San Francisco Ferry Building Store)

Thursday, January 9, 2020 - 6:00pm

Movies (And Other Things) is a book about, quite frankly, movies (and other things).

One of the chapters, for example, answers which race Kevin Costner was able to white savior the best, because did you know that he white saviors Mexicans in McFarland, USA, and white saviors Native Americans in Dances with Wolves, and white saviors Black people in Black or White, and white saviors the Cleveland Browns in Draft Day?

Another of the chapters, for a second example, answers what other high school movie characters would be in Regina George's circle of friends if we opened up the Mean Girls universe to include other movies (Johnny Lawrence is temporarily in, Claire from The Breakfast Club is in, Ferris Bueller is out, Isis from Bring It On is out...). Another of the chapters, for a third example, creates a special version of the Academy Awards specifically for rom-coms, the most underrated movie genre of all. And another of the chapters, for a final example, is actually a triple chapter that serves as an NBA-style draft of the very best and most memorable moments in gangster movies.

Many, many things happen in Movies (And Other Things), some of which funny, others of which are sad, a few of which are insightful, and all of which are handled with the type of care and dedication to the smallest details and pockets of pop culture that only a book by Shea Serrano can provide.

Shea Serrano's most recent book, Basketball (And Other Things), was, among other things, a #1 New York Times bestseller and selected by President Barack Obama as one of his favorite reads of the year. His previous book, The Rap Year Book, was also a New York Times bestseller, and is being turned into a documentary that will air on AMC in 2019. Currently, he is a staff writer for The Ringer.

1 Ferry Building
San Francisco, CA 94111

Sara Auster - Sound Bath (Corte Madera Store)

Saturday, January 11, 2020 - 1:00pm

Harness the power of sound to create balance, increase relaxation, and foster a sense of well-being to your mind, body, and spirit.

In this world of endless noise and constant distraction, sound therapist and meditation teacher Sara Auster invites readers to pause and find healing and wholeness through the power of sound. In Sound Bath: Meditate, Heal and Connect Through Listening, Auster offers a different perspective on the nature of sound, revealing it be a transformative tool to create deeper consciousness and self-awareness. Sound Bath blends memoir with practical guide as Auster walks readers through the healing practice that bolstered her own recovery following a tragic accident. In sound therapy, you are the healer, with the Sound Bath practice creating space to nurture a state of inner openness and mindfulness. Sound Bath addresses common questions on sound therapy, meditation, deep listening and its connection to healing, while lessons include images, personal stories, statistics, and essential terminology to support sound therapy exploration. Each chapter ends with exercises for readers to put Auster’s lessons into daily practice. Insights and tips from Sound Bath include:

  • How to eliminate discomfort and shift the relationship with unexpected, unpleasant, and triggering sounds.
  • The power of vocal toning and how to engage with your own sound practice at home.
  • How to use deep listening to increase empathy and understanding, build stronger relationships, support learning, and improve health.

An authoritative yet approachable guide, Sound Bath provides helpful tools for even the busiest skeptic looking to create a reflective, self-healing state and experience calming relief in their daily life.

Sara Auster is a New York City–based sound therapist and meditation teacher. Sara has traveled the world to facilitate immersive Sound Bath experiences using the transformative power of sound and deep listening. From the boardrooms of Google to the galleries of MoMA, from hotels to hospitals, grade schools to Madison Square Garden, her work has been a driving force in bringing Sound Baths to modern culture. Sara’s thoughtfully crafted experiences allow sound to be used as a tool to invite meditative states, support self-inquiry and cultivate deep relaxation. She is a thought leader on how to inspire meaningful connection through listening.

51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Class: Don George - Travel Writing Intensive

Tuesday, January 14, 2020 - 6:30pm
photo of Don George, travel writer

7 Tuesdays: Jan 14 - Feb 25 • 6:30 – 9:00 pm • $425

Don George’s seven-week intensive travel writing class is patterned on a graduate school creative writing workshop. The emphasis is on the craft of travel writing. Weekly assignments progress from a few paragraphs to full-length articles, with the goal of writing publishable pieces. Students also learn to research stories, write query letters, work with editors, and market their articles. This highly successful class has led to numerous published stories in widely known venues such as the annual Best Travel Writing and Lonely Planet anthologies.

Don George literally wrote the book on travel writing — Lonely Planet's Guide to Travel Writing, the best-selling travel writing guide in the world — and has been a travel writer and editor all his professional life. He chairs Book Passage's annual Travel Writers & Photographers Conference.

51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Class: Diane Conway - Brainstorming Your Book (Corte Madera)

Saturday, January 18, 2020 - 12:30pm

Saturday January 18, 2020  • 12:30am - 3:30pm • $75

This class helps you strengthen and refine your vision for your nonfiction book or memoir. You have the idea for your book and have done a fair amount of writing, but the concept is still fuzzy? You can’t grasp exactly what your book is about and so you are failing to gain traction? With her experience in developmental and concept editing, Diane Conway will help you brainstorm your core idea. In this supportive class you’ll discover how a clear focus is key to writing that flows.

Diane Conway is a seasoned writing coach and teacher who has published three books including What Would You Do If You Had No Fear?


51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Valerie Caccia - How to Eat a Millennial .. One Byte at a Time (San Francisco Ferry Building Store)

Saturday, January 18, 2020 - 3:00pm

This is a humorous look at intergenerational connectivity in the modern world.

1 Ferry Building
San Francisco, CA 94111

Roy Parvin - Yoga for the Inflexible Male (Corte Madera Store)

Sunday, January 26, 2020 - 1:00pm

A yoga book for the chronically inflexible, with practical, down-to-earth advice for weekend warriors, aging athletes, and anyone else who could benefit from a bit more flexibility in their lives.

The benefits of yoga--greater strength, flexibility, and presence of mind--are for anyone, no matter their skill level. But most classes don't feel that way if you're a first-timer--or an inflexible male. Enter Yoga for the Inflexible Male, a welcoming and humorous guide for people of all stripes that gives three vetted hour-long yoga routines, each with roughly a dozen yoga poses. The poses are illustrated and described in depth, and each one contains variations so that they are accessible to anyone, no matter their flexibility. The back of the book also has sequences geared for practitioners of specific sports, like running, biking, climbing, and so on. As more and more men are encouraged to increase their flexibility, the health advantages of yoga are no longer beyond their reach.

Yoga Matt is the nom de namaste of Roy Parvin and a nod to the everyman of yoga. Parvin is the award-winning fiction author of In the Snow Forest (WW Norton), and a recipient of a National Endowments for the Arts Grant in Literature. Roy is also an elite cyclist; his devotion to yoga began as therapy for a bout of sleeplessness. The yoga proved to be so therapeutic for his insomnia that he became an evangelist of the ancient practice.

51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Peggy Orenstein - Boys & Sex (Corte Madera Store)

Sunday, January 26, 2020 - 4:00pm

In her taboo-shattering New York Times bestseller Girls & Sex, Peggy Orenstein traversed the complicated new landscape of sex and sexuality that today’s young women must negotiate. “Deeply reported, passionately argued” (Slate), the book unsparingly pulled back the curtain on the reality of girls’ sex lives in the modern world. The Washington Post found it “provocative and thoughtful,” lauding the “impressive” breadth of Orenstein’s reporting. Yet, with the advent of the #MeToo era, Orenstein came to realize that her deep dive into contemporary culture provided only one side of the conversation. In a world where the sheer magnitude of sexual misconduct by men young and old has become glaringly and disturbingly obvious, Orenstein knew it was time that she look at the sexual attitudes, activities, and insecurities of a new generation of men with the same depth and candor as she had their female peers. Boys & Sex: Young Men on Hookups, Love, Porn, Consent, and Navigating the New Masculinity draws on Peggy Orenstein’s trademark mix of richly reported anecdote and research to reveal how young men understand and negotiate the new rules of physical and emotional intimacy―and to map out a much-needed vision of how today’s boys can move forward as better men.

“I already knew that Americans talk precious little to their daughters about sex, but I’d soon learn they talk even less to their sons,” writes Orenstein, who spent over two years talking to boys between the ages of sixteen and twenty-two, engaging in-depth, hours-long conversations about masculinity, as well as their attitudes, expectations, and early experiences with sex and intimacy. She came to realize that “boys may now more likely be admonished to ‘respect women,’ but what, precisely, does that mean: which women, under what circumstances, and how? What’s more, despite the growing insistence that only ‘yes’ means ‘yes,’ boys (like girls) are bombarded by incessant images—on TV, in movies, games, social media, music videos—of female objectification and sexual availability, which is reinforced by unprecedented exposure to pornography. How were they navigating that contradiction?” Orenstein also spoke with psychologists, academics, and other experts in the field as she investigated such topical realities as locker room talk; how the word “hilarious” robs boys of empathy; pornography as the new sex education; boys’ understanding of hookup culture and consent; and their experience as both victims and perpetrators of sexual violence.

Peggy Orenstein is the New York Times bestselling author of Girls & Sex, Cinderella Ate My Daughter, Waiting for Daisy, Flux, and Schoolgirls. A contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and AFAR magazine, she has been published in The Washington Post, Slate, New York, The Atlantic, and The New Yorker, among other publications, and has contributed commentary to NPR's All Things Considered. She lives in Northern California with her husband and daughter.

51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Lawrence Ingrassia - Billion Dollar Brand Club (San Francisco Ferry Building Store)

Wednesday, February 5, 2020 - 6:00pm

A leading business journalist takes us inside a business revolution: the upstart brands taking on the empires that long dominated the trillion-dollar consumer economy.

Dollar Shave Club and its hilarious marketing. Casper mattresses popping out of a box. Third Love’s lingerie designed specifically for each woman’s body. Warby Parker mailing you five pairs of glasses to choose from. You’ve seen their ads. You (or someone you know) use their products. Each may appear, in isolation, as a rare David with the bravado to confront a Goliath, but taken together they represent a seismic shift in a business model that has lasted more than a century.

As Lawrence Ingrassia--former business and economics editor and deputy managing editor at the New York Times--shows in this timely and eye-opening book, a growing number of digital entrepreneurs have found new and creative ways to crack the code on the bonanza of physical goods that move through our lives every day. They have discovered that manufacturing, marketing, logistics, and customer service have all been flattened—where there were once walls that protected big brands like Gillette, Sealy, Victoria’s Secret, or Lenscrafters, savvy and hungry innovators now can compete on price, value, quality, speed, convenience, and service.

Billion Dollar Brand Club reveals the world of the entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and corporate behemoths battling over this terrain. And what fun it is. It’s a massive, high-stakes business saga animated by the personalities, flashes of insight, and stories behind the stuff we use every day.

Lawrence Ingrassia is a former business and economics editor and deputy managing editor at the New York Times, having previously spent twenty-five years at the Wall Street Journal, as Boston bureau chief, London bureau chief, money and investing editor, and assistant managing editor. He also served as managing editor of the Los Angeles Times. The coverage he directed won five Pulitzer Prizes as well as Gerald Loeb Awards and George Polk Awards. He lives in Los Angeles.

1 Ferry Building
San Francisco, CA 94111

P. Carl - Becoming a Man (San Francisco Ferry Building Store)

Saturday, February 8, 2020 - 3:00pm

Renowned artist and activist P. Carl uncovers the intricacies of transitioning and finding himself anew in his memoir, Becoming A Man. Carl is an award-winning producer and dramaturg, and co-founder of Howlround, a free and open platform for theater-makers worldwide. When working with Claudia Rankine on her new play “The White Card,” Carl was transitioning, and this book came from that experience. “On March 16 of 2017 I become a man, a white man,” writes Carl, just months after Trump’s election, two months shy of Carl’s fifty-first birthday, and just a few more months away from the eruption of the #MeToo movement.

Against the backdrop of our pivotal political moment, Carl’s personal journey interweaves with a broader mission: Carl delivers a cutting, clear-eyed dissection of gender and identity in America. Carl has a unique vantage point—having moved through the world for decades as a woman before walking those same streets as a man. And he uses his first-hand experience to shine a light on the subtle double standards and injustices that run through daily the daily lives of millions in America. Even as Carl is finally able to celebrate his arrival in the world as the man he has always known himself to be, he must reimagine masculinity and challenge it. “To construct that man,” he writes, “knowing what I know as a woman, is my work now.”

Carl delivers a singular, heart-baring story—about what it’s like to transition at age fifty, to become oneself after waiting a lifetime, and how this transformation ripples through all the habits and relationships (including his roles as spouse and sibling) he has built over half a century.

P. Carl is a Distinguished Artist in Residence at Emerson College in Boston and was awarded a 2017 Art of Change Fellowship from the Ford Foundation, the Berlin Prize fellowship from the American Academy for the Fall of 2018, the Andrew W. Mellon Creative Research Residency at the University of Washington, and the Anschutz Fellowship at Princeton for spring of 2020. He made theater for twenty years and now writes and teaches. He resides in Boston and lives with his wife of twenty-one years, the writer Lynette D’Amico, and their dogs.

1 Ferry Building
San Francisco, CA 94111

Shauna Shapiro with Rick Hanson - Good Morning, I Love You (Corte Madera Store)

Tuesday, February 11, 2020 - 7:00pm

In conversation with Rick Hanson

All signs pointed to a promising future for the vibrant 17-year-old. Her entire life lay before her. The possibilities seemed bright and limitless—until they weren’t.

Shauna Shapiro was the star of her high school volleyball team and had just accepted early admission to Duke University when an early childhood health problem remerged, leading to emergency spinal surgery. Instead of finishing up high school with her peers and preparing for her freshman year of college, Shauna was living in pain, both mentally and physically with little reprieve. It wasn’t until she was given a copy of Jon Kabat-Zinn’s Wherever You Go, There You Are that she realized she could be happy again by practicing mindfulness. Flash-forward four years when Shauna is making her practice a reality, visiting and meditating among monks and nuns in Nepal and Thailand. Yet, even with all of the time she’d put into her practice back home, something here was different. It was harder; her mind wandered, and her frustration with herself took over. It became less about what Shauna could do, and more about what she couldn’t.

That is, until she met a monk who said five simple words that she’ll never forget—what you practice grows stronger.

It was then when Shauna realized what mindfulness truly is. That it’s not just about paying attention. It’s about how you pay attention—with kindness. That’s where the magic is. Because kindness changes everything. In her debut book,Good Morning, I Love You: Mindfulness + Self-Compassion Practices to Rewire Your Brain for Calm, Clarity + Joy, professor, clinical psychologist and internationally recognized mindfulness and self- compassion expert, Shauna Shapiro, PhD, draws from both her 20+ years of clinical experience and the remarkable research she’s compiled over the years, addressing topics that resonate on a universal level, like:

  • How we can encourage the brain’s neuroplasticity (its ability to change itself)
  • The roadblocks to self-compassion and how we can overcome them
  • Applying mindfulness to sex, decision-making, the workplace, parenting and eating
  • Mindfulness meditation and practices for greater feelings of calm, joy, and possibility

Dr. Shapiro’s goal is to teach us not only what mindfulness is but how mindfulness can work when used effectively. When it’s oversimplified, it loses its radical transformational power. Because it’s not just about paying attention, it’s how you pay attention—with kindness. What we practice grows stronger.

Shauna Shapiro, PHD, is a clinical psychologist and internationally recognized expert in mindfulness and self-compassion. She is a widely published scholar whose TEDx talk, “The Power of Mindfulness”, has been viewed over one million times. She is a professor at Santa Clara University and a fellow of the Dalai Lama’s Mind and Life Institute. Dr. Shapiro lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. For more information, visit drshaunashapiro.com.

51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925