You don’t need to endure extreme adventures or personal traumas to produce powerful, salable essays. Oftentimes the most resonant essays are those that are based in quiet, everyday moments, moments that we might pass by if we didn’t take the time to reflect on them. It is the work of the writer to pull the magic from such experiences, to draw on his or her personal insight, and personal history, to unpack “small” events in order to tell a larger story, ideally illustrating universal aspects of the human condition. In this six hour seminar we will read essays by writers including Virginia Woolf, Jesmyn Ward, John Hodgman, among others, and discuss why these essays work. Through a series of guided writing prompts students will also work on their own personal essays, which we will discuss in a workshop format. Students will leave the class with new material and a fresh perspective on old material.