“Stay At Home And Write One Single Essay”

In this pandemic, I have found myself leaning into dangerous nostalgia: folders full of photo dumps, defunct Tumblrs, Venmo transactions. So I decided to lead this workshop — and after two good runs in April, I’m opening up a 6-person class for May!

In this five-week workshop, we will use our time in isolation to investigate and introspect on topics and quandaries that home archives present us.

You don’t have to dig into your own archives. Your essay doesn’t have to be about the past. You can be futuristic! You can do whatever. You don’t have to be an essay writer at all. This is an opportunity to try something new! I will be writing about the importance/impermanence of family archives and my addiction to Sims, and collecting a spreadsheet of words.

To sign up for this course, please email aditinatashakini@gmail.com by May 11, 5 pm. Send a 1-3 sentence description of who you are and what you might like to write about and the title of the last thing you read. I’ll select the cohort depending on projects and anyone remaining will go on a notification list for future classes.

I am offering a sliding scale through $125, depending on your situation in the pandemic!

Structure

    • In this five-week workshop, we will meet for group critiques for the first, second, and fourth week; in the third week, you’ll have an off week, and extra time to prepare your work for the final critique. In the last week, you and I will schedule a one-on-one meeting to wrap up our work on your piece.
    • For each group meeting, we will read 10-15 pages of work by famous shut-ins, dogged archivists, flâneurs through the ages, and bring to the workshopping table about 500 words related to your essay topic. I will send out the readings with a week’s notice; you will send out your words with at least two-days notice.
    • We will meet Thursday evenings, 6:30-8:30 PM on videochat. That is: May  21, May 28, and June 11. You must commit to all nights barring personal or pandemic emergencies!
  • This workshop will serve as a place of witness as we are siloed off in thought and movement, and during group sessions, everyone is expected to offer feedback and reactions to one another’s work. In addition to facilitating and participating in this critiques, I will send developmental comments and edits through the workshop. 
  • This workshop will endeavor to provide safety and discourse, a lateral power dynamic between me the creator of the space and you the inhabiter of it, and an openly-sourced reading list involving writers of varying backgrounds, both famous and otherwise.

About me

I write essays, scripts and other text objects from my usually sunny Ridgewood, Queens apartment. My essays and cultural criticism have been published in Denver Quarterly, The New York Times, Vice and elsewhere. I hold a BA in Psychology and Writing from Wesleyan University, and an MALS (Humanities) from the same. My masters project was called “sun-kissed, screwed up, shaggy bodies” that may give you some idea of what I like to write about. In this workshop, I will be a curriculum-builder, moderator and editor.

Reviews???

Yes, I believe I have reviews!

“Aditi has a unique ability to find the right questions to move the work forward. Not gotcha questions—she finds the questions that help you see your own piece from a new perspective. I’ve never had reviews that focus on what to do more (rather than where you went wrong).” -E.G.

“The workshop exceeded my expectations. What started as a quarantine time pass has awaken a creative spirit in me that has been dulled over the years. I can’t wait to write more.” – H.J.

“This workshop helped me feel connected to a generous and openhearted writing community during an extremely difficult and isolating time. I’m very grateful for Aditi in fostering such a welcoming space where I felt comfortable being vulnerable with my writing, and was able to offer & receive generative feedback about craft (and life!). Thank you Aditi!!! :) You can use my name !” – Heena

“Aditi cultivated a workshop environment that was both welcoming and challenging, gave us detailed and insightful feedback, and spent a significant time with each of our work. In just three weeks, I felt that I was able to stretch and grow as a writer. I’m incredibly grateful to have had this experience.” — former student

“Joining this workshop pushed me towards trying something new and gave me the structure to actually follow through with writing something. The criticism was insightful and useful and kind, and the readings were interesting. I’m really grateful for the community Aditi fostered and came away with the courage to keep writing!” – L.H.

“The workshop was great, it felt semi-therapeutic seeing the same people at the same time every week in the midst of this madness.” – J