Kimberly Lee left the practice of law some years ago to focus on motherhood, community work, and creative pursuits. A graduate of Stanford University and UC Davis School of Law, she is certified as a workshop facilitator by Amherst Writers & Artists, the Center for Journal Therapy, and SoulCollage®. Kimberly serves on the board of the Transformative Language Arts Network and is actively involved with The Center for Intentional Creativity. A former editor and regular contributor at Literary Mama, she has also served on the staffs of Carve and F(r)iction magazines. Kimberly’s stories and essays have appeared in publications and anthologies including Minerva Rising, LA Parent, Fresh Ink, Words and Whispers, Toyon, The Ekphrastic Review, Wow! Women on Writing, Read650, Mom Egg Review, and elsewhere. She trusts in the magic and mystery of miracles and synchronicity, and believes that everyone is creative and has unique gifts to share. She lives in Southern California with her husband and three children.
This fall, Kimberly will be teaching Writing About Parenthood. Here is what she has to say about the course!
Why do you enjoy teaching this class?
This workshop is always lively. When writers start talking about their kids, there’s usually a range of emotions but always some levity, some humor. And even though it’s a one-session class, a feeling of community develops easily because of the shared experience of parenting. It’s rewarding to see writers embrace and explore their creativity through this theme, and leave inspired, encouraged, and armed with ideas.
Why this genre or topic?
Parenthood is a rich subject for exploration as a result of the sheer number of themes and topics that accompany this role. All of a child’s stages of development—from the prenatal phase to leaving the nest—as well as issues surrounding our interior lives as parents, are available and ripe for excavation. As a mom of three, I’ve found that parenting offers an endless source of material for any genre, and writing about it has provided a valuable outlet for contemplating and recording this precious experience.
How would you describe your teaching style? (in 5 words)
How is each session structured?
This 3-hour generative workshop will be packed with several short readings and many opportunities to write to creative prompts. We’ll use personal photos and objects as part of the exercises, and we’ll write from different perspectives, using several techniques, including one of my favorites called “exploding the moment.” I’ll also direct participants through the process of making a small collage (no artistic ability required) related to parenting—and we’ll use that as inspiration for a writing prompt. There will be an opportunity to share—if writers choose to—and everything will be done within the cocoon of a safe, supportive, and relaxed environment.
Where do you draw inspiration from? (in your own writing or in your pedagogy)
Like most writers, I’m a collector of ideas. I write down every little idea that comes to me, even if it seems silly or insignificant, even if I don’t know what, if anything, I’ll eventually do with it. I write down minute observations and snippets of things I’ve overheard, and about unusual connections I see between disparate things. I’m also inspired by images, whether it be a photograph, a piece of fine art, or an advertisement. A lot of the writing I’m most proud of was in response to or in conversation with something visual, extrapolating beyond the image, imagining and writing its story. My December workshop will center this type of writing, also called ekphrastic writing.
As an instructor, I follow the Amherst Writers and Artists method, developed by Pat Schneider, who simply and elegantly said, “A writer is someone who writes.” AWA practices include providing feedback about what is strong and resonant in freshly-written work, and a balanced critique for a piece of writing that has undergone editing and polishing. Writing is workshopped without compromising a writer’s original voice or damaging a writer’s self-esteem.
What would you want each person to leave with from taking this course?
A strong sense that their own personal experience is singular and valuable. Confidence in their ability to seize the treasures of writing about parenthood, and creative ways to approach it. The desire to keep writing!
Where will you be teaching/telecommunicating from?
Woodland Hills, California, which is in the San Fernando Valley, just north of Los Angeles.
Favorite book? Writers? Literary pieces?
I’m currently being haunted by two books I recently read: The Need by Helen Phillips and The School For Good Mothers by Jessamine Chan. And I’m reading all of Nicola Yoon’s moving books as kind of a mommy-and-me book club with my teen daughter.