MFA, author of memoir Spent. Ms. Crane is the 2018 Creative Nonfiction Grand Prize Winner for PRISM International Magazine, and the Distinguished Alum in the area of Activism and Community Service (AULA, 2018). She has written for The New York Times, Quartz, Bustle, Narratively, The Establishment, The Rumpus, Buzzfeed, and DAME, among others.
My background in community service informs my pedagogical approach to writing essays. By mentoring the most diverse communities from vulnerable young populations to seniors at the top of their fields, I approach the personal essay as a place of electrifying discovery and service— the chance to reveal ourselves on the page and create empathy and social change by our rigorous intellectual inquiry and our flaws, weaknesses, generosity, humor, self deprecation and curiosity. I use the writing workshop as not only a craft-centered studio, but as a container of transformation. Rather than a distant, scholarly approach to writing essays, my teaching style emphasizes the development of courage and the surprising unfolding of the mysterious “aboutness” that bubbles beneath our personal essays. I assign writing exercises that guide students from the earliest stages of memory-based diaristic exploration to the creation of finely crafted, moving, and well-researched literature. I encourage close readings of literary essays about people confronted by all of the pleasures and dangers of trying to live an ethical, passionate life in the difficult period following the Cold War, the Great Recession and the complexities of our current tech horny mediascape and internalized neoliberalism.