Writing Your Story in the Woods


A memoir workshop presented by

No story is like yours — and your telling it is powerful and necessary. Join this workshop to find your woods and tell your story.

In this two-day workshop, national memoirist & distinguished teacher Dr. Barbara Mossberg invites you “to the woods” — a place to find focus, inspiration, connection, and support for developing your memoir. Experiments, prompts and exercises in this workshop are designed to invite, inquire, and invoke your own “woods” through Thoreau’s lens of living purposefully.

Through Mossberg’s memoir readings, you will also connect with the wider community of memoir-writing throughout history and across the globe, including Thoreau and his circle, and present day forms of bestselling memoir across media. In this workshop you will—in the words of “Dr. B”—“discover yourself as an extraordinary being who, like Thoreau, has new life inside you to dawn through the act of memoir-writing.”

Is formal writing experience necessary? No— just bring your own life experience!


Following morning writing instruction at Thoreau Farm, participants are provided writing prompts and suggested places in Concord to go “into the woods” Thoreau sauntered and journaled, and further connect with and develop your story. 

Following morning writing instruction at Thoreau Farm, participants are invited to participate in afternoon opportunities. 


Dr. Barbara Mossberg is a prizewinning teacher and memoirist on the page and stage and in the air, with recent books (Here for the Present, A Grammar of Happiness in the Present Imperfect, Live from the Poet’s Perch, and Sometimes the Woman in the Mirror Is Not You, and other hopeful news postings), in poetry, essays, one-woman plays, and radio and podcast programs. Actor, playwright, dramaturg, literary scholar, diplomat, and California laureate/city poet in residence, Barbara is Professor of Practice, Clark Honors College at the University of Oregon.

She has taught creative writing and literature at public, private, large, small, traditional and innovative colleges and universities, including Indiana University, Union Institute and University, Mt. Vernon College (Distinguished Institute Scholar), Pacifica Graduate Institute (Engaged Humanities Faculty), and the University of Helsinki, where she twice was Senior Fulbright Distinguished Lecturer and Bicentennial Chair of American Studies. She has held administrative and leadership positions at Hobart and William Smith Colleges and National University, and both teaching and leadership positions at California State University – Monterey Bay, as founding dean of the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences and Director of the Integrated Studies Special Major, at Goddard College, as President and Professor from 1997-2001, and where she was awarded the title President Emerita in 2001, and at the University of Oregon, where as tenured professor in the English Department she co-founded and co-directed the American Studies program, as well as served as acting dean of the graduate school and director of the graduate Individualized Studies: Interdisciplinary Program.

Mossberg has also held distinguished national and federal appointments, including representing the University of Oregon and United States as U.S. Scholar in Residence to the U.S. Department of State (American Studies Specialist), Senior Fellow to the American Council on Education, and Poet Laureate for the Lilly Conference on College and University Teaching. Mossberg is known as a dedicated mentor for writers from school-age through 101, and studies creativity in aging.


Thoreau’s intimate daily writing changed the world, in civil and human rights, war and peace, and environmental conscience. In “ going to the woods,” to write, Thoreau didn’t just document his life — he created it, and made his story history far beyond the boundaries of Walden —and so can you through discovering and honoring your own writing process.

The world depends upon each of your stories— your writing it and our reading it. Writing your memoir helps you create and define your truest life. It also helps to build community and provide wisdom. Reading your memoir allows others to connect and relate to your story, and recognize in it elements that can be understood, forgiven, and cherished in their own.