Classes, Public Speaking, etc.
October 9, Annual Lecture, St. Andrews in Wellesley and the Village Church.
Making Friends of Your Enemies: The Hero's Journey, the task of the ordinary
The United States is deeply divided. This has led to family get togethers becoming potential battlefields and either polarization or stasis as we fear being open about our beliefs. Working on Nelson Mandela's dictum to "make friends of your enemies," Charlene Smith, Mandela's authorized biographer sketches what this means in our personal lives.
Smith using literary guru, Joseph Campbell's concept of the Heroes Journey sketches the challenges we may face in our personal, business and political lives and the teachings of the great from Lincoln to Gandhi, Archbishop Desmond Tutu to Franklin D. Roosevelt, Boston Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Dr. Bernard Lown and Pulitzer Prize winning author, Barbara Tuchman, among others to create seeds of inspiration and reflection.
Wellesley Library and Wellesley Council on Aging have a popular speaker series. Sunday, January 27, 2019 at 2pm at Wellesley Main Library, I will discuss:
"THE POWER TO COMMAND FREQUENTLY CAUSES FAILURE TO THINK"
So writes Barbara Tuchman in The March of Folly. Charlene Smith, authorized biographer of Nelson Mandela, and a political journalist who has covered the White House and politics and economics on four continents, looks at how, "the trappings of power deceive us, endowing the possessors with a quality larger than life," but sadly, often leading to "the insiduous spell of wooden-headedness."
Smith looks at how power, whether in politics, at work, or the family can cause us to become obstinate bullies who take no counsel and cause misery.
She will argue that individualism often leads to downfall and that greatness lies in inclusivity and consultation.
January 8 to Feb 12, 2019: Wellesley Hills Library writing class.
These classes are marked by warmth, empathy, humor and some incredible writing emerges. You may be a seasoned writer or a beginner. The classes tend to fill up on the first day they are advertised. Booking opens mid-December. Please do not contact the library ahead of time.
Your Name in Print: Writing for Publication -
Needham Community Education: Seeing your name in print has never been easier, you can write a blog, self publish a book, or develop a podcast. Commercial publication, however, has never been harder. This course will help you develop some of the skills to identify the right markets for your writing, the techniques commercial publishers demand, whether newspapers, magazines, or books. If you self publish, it will also ensure you don't go to print after months or years of hard work with a book that never gets sold. You will learn tips about writing, self-editing, and layout that will ensure a professional book for sale on Kindle, Amazon, libraries, and your family and friends. Contact Amy Goodman at NCE for more details.
Online Writing Course, November 8, 2018 (five lessons every second week): You must be working on a project, eg. book, article, short story/ies, speech/es, poetry, thesis, etc. – fiction or non-fiction. Confidentiality is expected, so you may tell others about me, but not discuss the work or stories of your peers.
You are encouraged to record classes, not for my words but the words you may speak and forget to write down.
I teach to a high standard, good enough to get you a commercial publisher.
From the very first lesson of the five classes (one every second week) you will learn the basics of technique eg. narrative arc, brain mapping, chapter layout, how to start thinking of your readers, how to focus your book, and some early marketing principles. We'll also discuss the neurology of writing. We discuss target audiences, themes, and the importance of focus.
On this journey we will work on character descriptions, scenes, dialogue, introspection, voice, new trends- primarily in fiction and poetry and how this is changing the narrative about what the market wants.
You'll learn self editing, competitions, and places to submit your work whether magazines, newspapers, websites, podcasts, agents or publishers.
We'll also discuss the importance of you developing a presence on social media and in your community.
You'll meet great people, and learn a lot.
Two hour classes.
Once you pay I will send a long list of recommended books on writing, please try and read at last one; plus course preparation notes.
• Charlene Smith is a multi-award winning writer, writing teacher, and documentary film maker. Authorized biographer for Nobel Peace Prize winner, Nelson Mandela, she has worked for the Los Angeles Times, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and CBS 60 Minutes among others. She has a MFA-IA majoring in Advanced Narrative Non-Fiction. She studied fiction and narrative non-fiction at Harvard, creative writing at Stanford, Yale and Arvon (UK), American Literary Traditions, American Women Novelists, and American Poetry at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell, and Advanced Creative Writing at Oxford University. She teaches at schools and colleges – or delivers lectures - across the USA, UK, Sweden, Australia and South Africa.
"Mandela’s cell on Robben Island was the colour of a jade sea under a stormy sky. It is little more than three paces wide and five long. Its high narrow window looks onto an exercise yard next to grape arbours, peach trees and flowers grown from pips and smuggled seeds. "Visiting the prison in 1998, Mandela gazed into the cell where he spent two decades and mused, ‘It seems so small now, but so big then’. And it was. He brought the universe into his cell: books, reflections on political debates, analyses of news broadcasts from smuggled radios, and snippets of news from contraband newspapers and journals.
Payment for smuggling was often made in diamonds – obtained by MK cadres from Angolan diggings or rivers – which were either given to warders or sold. ‘One warder now has a beautiful house on Signal Hill in Cape Town,’ reflected Mbeko Zwelakhe, a former MK soldier involved in smuggling operations, and who today runs a security company. The smuggling routes MK soldiers used persisted after the democratic elections in 1994 and even now are used to smuggle contraband, whether diamonds, stolen vehicles or drugs.
In prison Mandela learnt the lessons of survival: ‘Prison is designed to break one’s spirit and destroy one’s resolve. To do this, the authorities attempt to exploit every weakness, demolish every initiative, negate all signs of individuality. Our survival depended on understanding what the authorities were attempting to do to us, and sharing that understanding with each other. It would be very hard, if not impossible, for one man alone to resist. But the authorities’ greatest mistake was to keep us together, for together our determination was reinforced. We supported each other and gained strength from each other. Whatever we knew, whatever we learned, we shared and by sharing we multiplied whatever courage we had individually.’
"In a letter to Tim Maharaj he wrote: ‘It has been said a thousand and one times that what matters is not so much what happens to a person than the way such person takes it.’" _ Excerpt from Mandela: In Celebration of a Great Life by Charlene Smith © 2014.