Statistically, over 80 percent of Americans think their life stories deserve to be published. An eight-week class with Ariel Gore will ensure that yours is indeed worthy to print. For the last five years, Ariel has taught numerous classes at The Attic, but it's her Memoir Workshop that really rakes 'em in. There she masterfully handles outsized and undersized egos with her signature blend of laidback wisdom and wit, making everyone feel comfortable enough to dish the dirt on their lives. Ariel's been using her own life as material since 1993, when she started her now-famous parenting zine Hip Mama, blazing trails for mamas everywhere, but most importantly for the until-then unheard-from mamas like Ariel: single moms, welfare moms, and college moms. Since then she's authored a handful of books, including cult-classic The Hip Mama Survival Guide and a memoir of her teen years entitled Atlas of the Human Heart. Her new book, How to Become a Famous Writer Before You're Dead, is due out in March 2007.
Did you imagine you'd become a writer?
Yeah. Sure. I always wanted to be some kind of artist or some kind of performer, but I can't draw and I have stage fright. Also, I have very few social skills, and "author" is one of the professions in which that's allowed. Kind of romanticized, even.
Does teaching classes interfere with your own work?
Not at all. It gets me out of the house, for one thing. Very important. And then it is good for me to always be living with and being with work in progress. It's very frustrating as a writer always reading finished books. I love to read, but I like to remember that I'm not the only one with a process. Books don't spring fully formed from their author's heads.
Do you attend writing workshops yourself?
Yeah, it's always helpful to me to be in a workshop. It gives me a little deadline every week or two so I can try to stay connected with the whole concept of time passing.
What's the most challenging thing about mentoring a group of writers of disparate experience?
I think people, ultimately, have pretty similar experiences. At a first meeting of the memoir workshop, I can always tell that a few people are horrified by the straightness or weirdness of other people's lives. But it doesn't take very long, when we get to storytelling, for it all to become fairly normalized. Most people are just looking for love and acceptance and some thought-provoking good fun. VIVA LAS VEGAS