Memoir Writing Classes

The Memoir Writing Course was first developed and taught for the Free Library of Philadelphia.
The Gentle, Wild Art of Memoir Writing course was first presented at the Free Library of Philadelphia.
CLASSES FORMING NOW. We have beginning and experienced writers Zooming in from all over the country now. You need only a notebook, WIFI, and your favorite pen. 
“This is what I have learned: that everybody is talented, original, and has something important to say.”—Brenda Ueland, If You Want To Write
Spring Equinox Session: 6 Thursday mornings, March 9 through April 13.   10 -Noon Eastern Time       $175.

May Day Session: 6 Thursday mornings, April 20 through June 1 (no Class May 11th)  10-Noon Eastern Time  $175.

Summer Solstice Session: 6 Thursday mornings, June 8 – July 13   10-Noon Eastern Time    $175.

About the classes:

Open to adults, ages 55 and up. Beginning writers welcome. All levels of writing experience will benefit. Classes happen on ZOOM. You’ll need WIFI, a notebook and a pen. Class size is limited.

During each class, we will work with prompts on many topics. There will be timed writing time and structured positive feedback. You will know what was strong, what held interest, what we want to hear more about in the story.

This curriculum yields a jigsaw puzzle of short stories and essays by each writer about each writer’s life, in the writer’s voice. Many participants are writing for their families and descendants. Some participants publish their stories for the readers of the world. In each six-week session, we capture stories. I offer prompts leading to stories about the ancestors, about the ones raised us, and who we may have raised. We capture stories about our childhood, teen years, and adulthood. Places. People. Interests. 

Writing memoir can be overwhelming! This method is a way to enter the the rabbit hole of life storytelling one story at a time to create a jigsaw puzzle of stories that fit together into a beautiful, complete whole. 

 To secure your spot, send a check to:

Barbara Mayfield, P.O. Box 22, Gladwyne, PA 19035  (This is a NEW P.O.Box)

Or pay by Venmo:  

@BarbaraMayfield (If Venmo prompts, 4774 are the phone digits)

Re: Missed Classes: I send the prompts no matter what. 


How this course came to be:
Several years ago, I logged onto Ancestry and found some of my people. I visited the graves of my grandparents and found the graves of my great grandies — the ones who’d crossed the Atlantic in a ship to come to America. I had little to no information about their lives. I wished I knew more about them and their life experiences. 
My goal in creating this curriculum: no more great grandkids with zero information about the ones whose lives led to their own. 
It’s hard to describe the magic that happens in these weekly 2-hour workshops. Creative prompts open up the memory banks and stories come flooding onto the pages, one after the other. 
Life’s curves and curveballs make a powerful whole.
Everyone’s story is valuable and worth telling.
“I can’t tell you how much the writing classes have meant to me. I started out thinking I had nothing of value to say and couldn’t write it well anyway. Now, I love just jumping right in and writing. Thank you s000000000000000000000000000000 much.E.Y. Richmond, VA  
“Barbara’s nurturing and detailed feedback has allowed me to tap into the sort of writing that I did not think was possible for me. Her prompts and method of listening and offering suggestions are very effective, supportive, and result oriented.” —A.B., Bala Cynwyd, PA
“I have enjoyed these memoir classes immensely, every single one! I also appreciate all the people taking part!” —P.B. Haverford, PA

 Contact Barbara


MORE ABOUT THE COURSE: The Gentle, Wild Art of Memoir Writing: This is a six-week curriculum which brings together grown-ups, ages 55 and up, who have lived to tell. We meet for two hours each week to study the craft of writing and to write, write, write life stories.

The process? Memories are jogged in unique and creative ways. Resistance and procrastination issues are addressed. Writing blocks are gently dissolved. Important aspects of the craft of writing are taught. Students learn how to give and receive positive feedback and encouragement, and to develop a personal writing practice that works. Methods of binding and presentation of the essays and short stories are addressed.

This memoir writing course was developed by Barbara Mayfield in 2014 and first offered at the Free Library of Philadelphia, Parkway Central Branch. Twenty men and women, ages 55 to 87,  wrote, read, and polished their life stories. A few were professional writers, most were writing for the first time. Since then, sessions have been held at the Trails End Cafe,  Main Line Art Center, the Narberth Bookshop, and at Barbara’s studio in Norristown. As of March 10th, 2020, we are meeting online using the ZOOM video conferencing program. It’s easy and it works. No matter where you live, these sessions are available to you now. Let’s get your memories onto the page.


“The range of voices in the class is amazing. The fact that everyone is writing so authentically is because of your safe container and gentle encouragement……you’ve got the special sauce!”—E.K. Villanova, PA

“The memoir course being given at the senior center (Free Library of Phila Senior Services) by Barbara Mayfield is the best program I have ever gone to at the library and I have gone to many wonderful ones at FLP since I was a small child. It is a miracle that for the first time, I am able to overcome writing blocks, to be able to both write and share aloud my writing.”—H.L., Philadelphia, PA

“I make my living as a storyteller, and I know my way around a narrative arc, character development, plot pacing, and creative blocks. But no artist every outgrows the need for structured learning situations and master teachers, like Barbara Mayfield…..Ms. Mayfield creates a safe structure where nothing is off limits, everybody is nudged toward the edge of their comfort zones, but nobody is pushed….”—Megan Hicks, Storyteller, Rose Valley, PA

Contact Barbara about enrolling in a course or to bring the course to your group via Zoom.

Michelle's memoir essays, gathered together in a casual format.
One at a time, the stories add up.

Barbara Mayfield   Mayfield Media LLC  POB 22, Gladwyne, PA 19035  The Gentle, Wild Art of Memoir Writing (GWAM)