Memoir, writing based on the author’s personal experience, and midrash, filling in the gaps in the Torah narrative, may not seem to have much in common. But both require the exercise of the imagination within limits. Memoir should be about things that really happened, but we never remember it all precisely. To really live on the page, the experience must be reimagined in full sensory detail. By necessity, something will be invented. Midrash invents experiences and explanations to fill gaps in the Torah narrative, but cannot contradict what the text already says. Fortunately, there are lots of gaps to fill. In either case, the writer’s imagination supplies the detail.
In this workshop, participants will write in either or both forms as they choose, walking into their own pasts or into the gaps in Torah narrative to see what they discover. We will write during group sessions (as well as in between) and share the results. Don’t worry if you have never done this before! After the class ends, participants will be invited to give a reading on a Friday evening at WJC.
Judith Kerman, Professor Emerita of English at Saginaw Valley State University in Michigan, taught creative writing, Hebrew Bible as Literature and other courses for many years. Dr. Kerman has published eight collections of poetry, most recently Galvanic Response (March Street Press), and three books of translations of Cuban and Dominican women’s poetry and fiction (White Pine Press, BOA Editions, Mayapple Press). A Fulbright Scholar in the Dominican Republic in 2002, she founded Earth’s Daughters magazine in Buffalo,NY (1971 to present) and runs Mayapple Press, located in Woodstock, NY. A chapbook, Postcards from America, will be published in 2015 by Post Traumatic Press, and a book of Diaspora poems, Aleph, broken, will be published in 2016 by Broadstone Media. She practices Heterodox Judaism and sometimes clowns as Reb Kugel, the Rubbadubdubber Rebbe.