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Write Your Body’s Autobiography

Whether you’re fat, thin or a medium-sized person in between, your body has a story. Sometimes it’s a story of the punishment it endured; often it’s a tale of adventure, disappointment and growth. The drama that is revealed when we tell our bodies’ stories is boundless: eroticism, illness, fertility, waste disposal, pain, stored trauma, muscle memory and other adventures of our bodies are crying out to be told.

Culturally, we find stories about the changing size and shape of our bodies to be deeply compelling, though that is often the least interesting thing about us. Stories of fat people in mainstream popular culture often follow super unimaginative narrative arcs, such as “fat person becomes thin,” and other tales of increasing violence. In these stories, “fat” is narratively placed outside of the norm, while thinness is centred as the default.

This course makes room both for students in bigger bodies and those in smaller ones to craft meaningful autobiographies that go beyond simplistic, patriarchal tropes. Together, we’ll move past the male gaze and into the meanings we have created or want to create for and out of our bodies

This is a four week course, meeting online weekly for four sessions. The first hour will be teaching and the second hour will be writing and discussion. Homework will be provided to the keeners who want to work on stuff between sessions.

Some of what we’ll cover:

  • locating the body in space & time: where to start writing your autobiography
  • getting clear on your audience & deciding if this is for you or for others
  • writing your way to self-acceptance
  • writing and contemplative practice

This class is open to everyone, regardless of size, weight or shape. It is best suited for those who are looking to challenge conventional narratives about their bodies. While themes of dieting, self-hate, fatphobia, weight stigma, etc. may certainly show up in our writing, the point of this class is to create narratives that move beyond the well-worn weight loss = eternal happiness story.

This class is not suitable for those who are looking for support around intentional weight loss. While students who have engaged in intentional weight loss (a coping strategy in a fatphobic society) are welcome, students who want to discuss or write about their current efforts would be better off finding a different course.

Beginners and experienced writers are welcome.

$375 per student; scholarships available.

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