Facing Down Our Fears // Webinar

Writing What Haunts Us

Facing Down Our Fears // Webinar

All writing, in some ways, is a form of being haunted.

An idea, experience, or memory—beautiful, terrible, soothing, frightening, ordinary or extraordinary, simple or tangled—will not let go. It whispers into our ears, it stands at our shoulders, sometimes for days, for weeks, sometimes for years, demanding our attention. Yet we hesitate to write it, sometimes out of fear of the memory or experience itself; sometimes fearing we don’t have what it takes to honor the “ghost” of this experience; sometimes resolving to confront it in writing, only to see it still hovering in the shadows of our work, shy to emerge.

In this webinar, we’ll explore the idea of being haunted as a writer, and how we can use this feeling to better hear and understand the stories we want to tell (as well as to decide when, or when not, to tell a particular story). We’ll consider how we can use this invisible, powerful pressure to spur our work, and look at how the “haunted moment” has shaped the work of other writers. We’ll discuss how we might use some of the strategies other writers have used to inform our own responses to the material that seems to follow us. And we’ll give ourselves permission, finally, to write about whatever haunts us—whether it’s something great and terrifying asking to be listened to, or a tiny, profound joy wanting only not to be lost.

In this webinar, you will:

  • DISCOVER strategies for shaping stories out of what haunts and keeps returning to you
  • BROADEN your awareness of the role of “haunted memory” in writing
  • EXPLORE how and when to navigate and use this kind of memory and material to launch your work

This webinar is for beginning and more practiced writers encountering the dilemma of being haunted by memories or experiences they can’t seem to shake—and that seem to beg to be written—and yet seem to hide, reluctant to reveal how they can be written. Writers seeking inspiration and help navigating their fears of a demanding, insistent, I-will-not-leave-you-alone story are welcome.


Wednesday, February 3rd, 2021

2 pm - 3:15 pm Eastern Time

Advance registration required.
Space is limited.

$15 if registered by 1/24/2021
$25 if registered after 1/24/2021

Registration will close 24 hours before the event.

A recording of the webinar will be sent out to all registrants three business days after the event.

PLEASE NOTE: It may take a little while for us to process your order and send you the link to the webinar. If you haven't received the link by the morning of the date of the webinar, please email us at information@creativenonfiction.org.


About the instructor: Mylène Dressler writes creative nonfiction and fiction and is the author of six books, many exploring the ghosts of the past, including most recently The Last to See Me and I See You So Close. Her stories and essays have appeared in Creative Nonfiction, the Kenyon Review, the Massachusetts Review, LitHub, the Washington Post, and elsewhere. She has been a writer-in-residence and taught creative writing at universities and colleges around the US and abroad, and has received awards and fellowships from Hedgebrook, the Carson McCullers Center, Paisano, and the Fulbright Commission, among others. She writes and lives on the coast of Oregon and in the canyon country of southern Utah.


Questions? Please call us at 412-404-2975 or email the director of education, Sharla Yates, at yates@creativenonfiction.org.