“I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight.” Martin Luther King, August 28, 1963



I was awakened by milling on my street at 2 am, brewed up some tea, and made the mistake of turning on my iPad.

More unbearable breaking news: cops shot in Dallas during a demonstration against police brutality. Before the gunfire, protestors and police were posing for photographs—peacefully. This lovefest does not answer the endemic racism, but it may be a watershed moment. Unless we become inured to killing, it will stop. We are not Boko Haram training drugged children to kill by slaughtering chickens or their own parents. We are Americans. We’ve had our civil war, our revolution, our Bill of Rights. We can fix this.

For what remained of the night, even as I attempted to rest my brain, I was writing this blog post and thinking of all my African-American friends who have been stopped by the police. My husband’s screenwriting partner, Gerard Brown III, author of “Juice,” a cult classic, has many stories to tell. He has a gentle, loving nature so when the cops stopped him, frisked him and searched his backpack one afternoon in the neighborhood where he lives, he was able to stay calm and civil. The humiliation and disrespect stayed with him.

And that is just one story among too many stories. An ex of my daughter’s carried a police badge in his wallet. His dad was a court officer and got it for him. But what if he had reached for it one day in the car when he was stopped, my daughter riding “shotgun.” What an image that is!! When I asked him one day—as a mom—if he was being careful, he pulled out the badge. I had never known he was carrying it until then.

For weeks now, many of my FB friends have been writing the most heart-rending posts about the latest killings. It’s so hard for all of us to know how to respond. FB is helpful because it enables us to have a conversation and, therefore, some solace. Articles are posted. Petitions. This morning I signed a petition to Loretta Lynch. Thousands upon thousands of people signed it.

What a world we live in. What, if anything, has changed? Have we made progress? Is it possible to maintain an historical perspective? Where can we find sanctuary and wisdom?


2016 Workshops
NYU School of Professional Studies
Creative Nonfiction Writing

Explore the process of writing nonfiction with clarity and precision as well as with a poet’s eye. Geared toward both novice writers and out-of-practice scribes, this course guides you through a series of effective exercises to jump-start your nonfiction writing. Emphasis is placed on building self-confidence and developing your individual voice. Write short essays, memoirs, and profiles. Learn to improve tone, style, and point of view through imaginative weekly writing assignments and by reading masters of nonfiction.

Course Number
WRIT1-CE9713
Price
$580.00

Department
Humanities, Arts, and Writing
Program Area
Creative Writing
Wednesday Nights


Witness to History
NYU- SPS

Course Description:

Whether it’s the moon landing, the 9/​​11 terrorist attacks, or the election of the country’s first African-American president, historic, world-changing events can have a very personal impact. In this interactive workshop, choose a reported event—whether witnessed firsthand or through the media—and craft a personal essay that recounts it from your own perspective. Use oral storytelling of personal recollections to shape your essay, and then delve into research to unlock memories and to add context to your story. The only required tools are memory, a notebook and pen, and access to the Internet or a library. Beginners and seasoned writers are welcome.

Course Number

WRIT1-CE9940
Price
$290.00
Department
Humanities, Arts, and Writing
Program Area
Creative Writing
Monday Nights


PRIVATE WORKSHOPS & INDIVIDUAL COACHING

Group Class by audition/​​ invitation only @​​ $50-70 per session depending on enrollment. Prerequisite: a workshop experience, motivation, commitment to critiquing work. I don't run a group class every term.

Individual Coaching @​​ a realistic sliding scale within your budget:

$15-$25 per submission page, $100 - $150 per hour for a F2F, Skype or FT discussion of the critique. Marked-up pages will be returned to you.

I discuss the fee with my students before beginning work. We settle on a fee that is comfortable for both of us.





Carol Bergman’s articles, essays, and interviews have appeared in The New York Times, Cosmopolitan, and Salon.com. Her essay, “Objects of Desire” was nominated for the Pushcart Prize; her short stories have appeared in many literary magazines. She is the author of biographies of Mae West and Sidney Poitier, a memoir, Searching for Fritzi, two books of novellas, Sitting for Klimt and Water Baby and two novels, Say Nothing and What Returns to Us. She compiled and edited Another Day in Paradise; International Humanitarian Workers Tell Their Stories, nominated for the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize. She lives in New York City and teaches writing at New York University.