Origins:
Lineage, Legacy, and Blood Relations

A Nine-Week Online Writing Class
September 20 – November 21, 2021

Sorry, this class is closed

Uncover the Wisdom Passed Down
to You Through Generations

“Memoir-writing is an opportunity to claim the life that you’ve been given, take ownership of your experience, and stop apologizing for having a point of view.  Whenever you sit down to write memoir, you are declaring to yourself and the world, ‘My life matters enough to remember.’ Having lived, you have the right to describe your existence in whatever way you choose.” 

~Mark Matousek

Each of us exists on a family tree, connected by blood and lineage to the first people who walked the earth. We cannot escape our heritage any more than an apple can deny the tree. If memory exists in the blood, what lessons were you given at birth? Do you view your own heritage as positive or detrimental? What is the nature of your emotional and spiritual inheritance? How has this legacy shaped who you are and informed your personal narrative?
In this nine-week online class, you’ll be guided through a series of thought-provoking lessons concerning legacy, origins, and family dynamics. Whether you’re working on a memoir or exploring this rich topic for healing and self-understanding, Mark’s penetrating questions and insightful feedback to each week’s writing will deepen your insight as well as your creative work. By grasping the connection to your origins, and their effect on who you are today, self-awareness deepens tremendously along with the potential for happiness and meaning.
“Origins” will teach you how to:
~Unearth the secrets of your family tree
~Explore the mythic dimension of lineage and legacy
~Identity the shadow side(s) of your family constellation
~Gain perspective on your blood relations
~Write about yourself as communal being — not merely an individual self
~Craft your personal history from family experience
~Deepen insight into your roots and how they’ve affected you are today

Lesson Overview

Lesson One: The Creation Myth – Each of us carries a story about how we came into the world, the parents who came together to create us, and the emotional narrative into which we were born.
Lesson Two: Ancestral Voices – Your creation story is the product of multiple voices communicating to you through episodes in your biography as well as through your imagination.
Lesson Three: The Wise Child – Childhood is a wellspring of innocence, inspiration, and native wisdom, and you can explore and learn from the child-like qualities that persist in your personality.
Lesson Four: The Magic Circle – One of our greatest fears is to be exiled from our community, rejected by the people we call our tribe. In order to avoid this, we are often willing to sacrifice our originality.
Lesson Five: Telling Secrets – Authenticity arises from confronting the impostor within and refusing to be controlled by our secrets or the contents of our psychological shadow.
Lesson Six: Love Invents Us – Emotional connection is the link to our sense of meaning and a central element of character. When we come to recognize the bonds of the heart, we reveal who we are and what really matters.
Lesson Seven: Creative Memory and Imagination – There are many ways of knowing things about ourselves, including non-verbal memories and received ideas from family.
Lesson Eight: Creating from Memory – In the process of articulating what we know and representing it on the page, we learn to distinguish essential information from imagination.
Lesson Nine: What Do I Mean? – The need for meaning is universal, as important to our survival as food and water. Learning to identify your primary sources of meaning will enable you to make clearer choices about how to tell your story.

How the Online Class Works

One week prior to the start of the class, you will receive an invitation to join the Google Group for the class where all assignments, individual work and Mark’s weekly comments will be posted. Using Google Groups allows the class to read, comment and support each other’s work in a positive and nurturing environment.
Each Monday, for the duration of the class, a new lesson will be posted to the Google Group. Students post their work to the Group by the following Saturday evening. Assignments should be no more than 1,000 words.
On Sunday and Monday, Mark responds to your submission in writing. His comments are focused on insight, authenticity of voice, and emotional honesty not writing technique, prose style, or grammar.  His responses offer additional prompts for deeper exploration of the subject. Students who wish not to share with the group can send their work privately to Mark.
Three live group Zoom Meetings will be held to provide an opportunity for students to ask questions and talk together about their work. The live Zoom Meetings will be held on:
Monday, October 4 @ 5 p.m. Eastern
Monday, October 25 @ 5 p.m. Eastern
Monday, November 15 @ 5 p.m. Eastern

Join us for Origins: Lineage, Legacy, and Blood Relations.
You’ll be amazed by how much insight and depth are added to your personal story by understanding where you come from.

Sorry, this class is closed

Here’s what former students have to say about working with Mark:

“Brace yourself if you work with Mark! You might have to leave your comfort zone and learn more about yourself than you had expected. The assignments are like roadmaps leading you to where you need to go. And then, when you have worked through them and you think you have come up with all the wisdom you were able to find deep within yourself, Mark will come up with more questions for you in his response and you will get to dig even deeper. I think this is the greatest gift Mark offers. He LISTENS. I mean, he really listens. And he gets is. He knows just when and how to ask the questions that will crack you open! Can’t wait for the next class!”
~Saskia Nienna Steidel, Germany
“Mark is an insightful teacher whose skill with the written word is outmatched only by his skill with the human soul. I did not know him before this course, but the feedback I received was more like something from an old dear friend – clear, kind and direct. His ability to see into the heart of the story and the emotions behind it were uncanny I could not recommend it highly enough.”
~Pascale Kavanaugh, engineer
“Mark has a laser beam like ability to identify the core of what you’re writing about, or where you’re writing from, and shines his light to encourage you to go there. He inspires you to go beneath the surface and tell the truest story that your heart yearns to express.”
~Jifa Wind, architect