142 episodes

Writing Class Radio is for people who love true, personal stories and want to learn how to write their own stories. There's no better way to understand ourselves and each other than by writing and telling our stories. Everyone has a story. What's yours?

writing class radio andrea askowitz and allison langer

    • Education
    • 4.7 • 236 Ratings

Writing Class Radio is for people who love true, personal stories and want to learn how to write their own stories. There's no better way to understand ourselves and each other than by writing and telling our stories. Everyone has a story. What's yours?

    Cutting Needless Words

    Cutting Needless Words

    Today on our show, we’re sharing another story by Corey Devon Arthur. Corey’s stories have been aired on Episode 120: My Pen Uncovers the Real Me and Episode 128: My New Manifesto.

    Corey Devon Arthur has served 25 years on a life sentence for robbery and murder and is currently housed at Otisville Correctional Institution in New York. Corey is an artist and writer who has been published on Writing Class Radio and The Marshall Project. 

    The story Corey wrote for this episode was in response to our callout for men’s abortion stories and it came in at 3,000 words. Allison loved the entire story, because she pretty much loves everything Corey writes. She made a few edits, asked Corey a bunch of questions, and the story got longer. She sent it to Andrea, sure she would love it. Only, Andrea was like, What is all this? Andrea whittled it down to 1,113 words. So today we’re talking about omitting needless words and why that is important.

    We have a guest host. Xaire Vii co-hosted the prison series to help us get things right. Xaire is a poet, singer-songwriter, actor, and educator who teaches writing and poetry to kids in the foster care system and kids caught up in a detention center.

    This episode of Writing Class Radio is hosted by Allison Langer, Andrea Askowitz and Xaire Vii. Audio production by Matt Cundill, Evan Surminski, and Aidan Glassey at the Sound Off Media Company. Theme music by Justina Shandler.

    There’s more writing class on our website www.writingclassradio.com including essays to study, editing resources, video classes, writing retreats, and live online classes. Join our writing community.

    Follow us on Patreon to join our First Draft weekly writers groups. You have the option to join me on Tuesdays 12-1 ET and Zorina Wednesdays 7-8 pm ET. You’ll write to a prompt and share what you wrote. 

    If you’re looking to take your writing to the next level, we have two Second Draft writing groups. Each week, three people bring a finished draft for feedback. 

    Join the community that comes together for instruction, an excuse to write, and most importantly, the support from other writers. To learn more, go to www.Patreon.com/writingclassradio. Or email andrea@writingclassradio.com for a Zoom link. First session is FREE.

    A new episode will drop every other WEDNESDAY. 

    There’s no better way to understand ourselves and each other, than by writing and sharing our stories. Everyone has a story. What’s yours?

    See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.

    • 25 min
    Beginnings and Endings

    Beginnings and Endings

    Today on our show, we’re talking about beginnings and endings. What is an effective way to begin a story and a satisfying way to end? The story we bring you on this episode is an amazing example of how to start with appropriate grounding and how to land/end the essay like a gymnast. The narrator isn’t just a beginning and ending genius, she also uses lingo associated with her theme. This style is effective, because the reader feels more drawn in. Another example of that same type of inclusive linguistic style was discussed on Episode 110: How to Write About Death: Use an Obsession. Jackie Ashton told the story of her best friend’s cancer by using the situation of a Golden State Warriors obsession and basketball lingo throughout. 

    Shawna Kenney submitted the essay you will hear today and we were blown away. Her story is called Words with Mom.

    Shawna Kenney is the author of four books, the latest being Live at the Safari Club: A History of HarDCore Punk in the Nation’s Capital 1988-1998. Kenney is a Contributing Editor with Narratively and her work has appeared in The New York Times, Playboy, Creative Nonfiction, Vice, Bust, Rock the Bells and more. She teaches memoir writing with the UCLA Extension Writers Program. 

    Writing Class Radio is hosted and produced by Allison Langer, and Andrea Askowitz. With frequent guest host, Zorina Frey. Audio production by Matt Cundill, Evan Surminski, and Aidan Glassey at the Sound Off Media Company. Theme music by Justina Shandler.

    There’s more writing class on our website www.writingclassradio.com including essays to study, editing resources, video classes, writing retreats, and live online classes. Join our writing community.

    Follow us on Patreon to join our First Draft weekly writers groups. You have the option to join Allison on Tuesdays 12-1 ET and Zorina Wednesdays 6-7pm ET. You’ll write to a prompt and share what you wrote. 

    If you’re looking to take your writing to the next level, we have two Second Draft writing groups. Each week, three people bring a finished draft for feedback. 

    Join the community that comes together for instruction, an excuse to write, and most importantly, the support from other writers. To learn more, go to www.Patreon.com/writingclassradio. Or email andrea@writingclassradio.com for a Zoom link. First session is FREE.

    A new episode will drop every other WEDNESDAY. 

    There’s no better way to understand ourselves and each other, than by writing and sharing our stories. Everyone has a story. What’s yours?

    See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.

    • 20 min
    Where Does Your Mind Go When You're Given a Writing Prompt?

    Where Does Your Mind Go When You're Given a Writing Prompt?

    Today on our show, we bring you a story by one of Allison’s 7th grade students. She spent two months teaching English to 7th and 8th graders at a private school in Miami, and because she’s her, she assigned personal essay after personal essay. She learned about their parents, what they eat for dinner, their nannies, grandparents, and favorite sport. They resisted getting personal, the same way Allison did when she started writing.

    Most people seem to struggle with writing about themselves, getting vulnerable, telling a story that might get them made fun of. But, not Webber. Webber is a kid who draws in class to stay focused. He pays attention and asks questions. When he speaks, his words matter. By the end of the first week of school, Allison had an inkling Webber was brilliant and unique. 

    The Hispanic Heritage Month’s Essay Contest was optional for the school but a graded class assignment for Allison’s class. The students worked on the 500-word essay in class and those who weren’t Hispanic were stumped. Allison told them to write about being stumped. On the day the essay was due, Webber handed in an incredibly mature and well-written essay. A week later, at the culmination of the week’s Hispanic heritage celebration, Webber won the competition. 

    Today, we bring you Webber’s essay, completely written on his own. Allison did no editing. What’s cool about this essay and many essays that are created from a writing prompt, is that Webber played the piano and let his mind wander. On this episode we talk about ways to relax our minds so we can write--either through being quiet, playing a sport, or using another art form.

    Webber is a 12-year-old student at Ransom Everglades Middle School in Coconut Grove, Florida. His story is called The Bossa Nova.

    Writing Class Radio is hosted and produced by Allison Langer,  Andrea Askowitz, and Zorina Frey. Audio production by Matt Cundill, Evan Surminski, and Aidan Glassey at the Sound Off Media Company. Theme music by Justina Shandler.

    There’s more writing class on our website www.writingclassradio.com including essays to study, editing resources, video classes, writing retreats, and live online classes. Join our writing community.

    Follow us on Patreon to join our First Draft weekly writers groups. You have the option to join me on Tuesdays 12-1 ET and Zorina Wednesdays 6-7pm ET. You’ll write to a prompt and share what you wrote. 

    If you’re looking to take your writing to the next level, we have two Second Draft writing groups. Each week, three people bring a finished draft for feedback. 

    Join the community that comes together for instruction, an excuse to write, and most importantly, the support from other writers. To learn more, go to www.Patreon.com/writingclassradio. Or email andrea@writingclassradio.com for a Zoom link. First session is FREE.

    A new episode will drop every other WEDNESDAY. 

    There’s no better way to understand ourselves and each other, than by writing and sharing our stories. Everyone has a story. What’s yours?

    See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.

    • 22 min
    One Man's Abortion Story

    One Man's Abortion Story

    One man's abortion story.

    • 24 min
    This Is What Mania Looks Like

    This Is What Mania Looks Like

    Today’s episode showcases a story by student Danielle Huggins. Danielle’s story shows what happened when she got off her medication for bipolar disorder. This story is the best example of show and tell EVER! We ask you, why do you read and listen to stories: to be taken into another world or to find yourself in the story?

    Danielle told a story on Episode 105: Teach Us Something We Don’t Know. That episode was about her experience with electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). If you haven’t listened to that episode, definitely check it out.

    Danielle Huggins is a former middle school math teacher with a masters degree in literacy. She is currently a stay-at-home mom, a student of Writing Class Radio, and an avid kickboxer. Danielle has a Facebook page called My Life As a Bipolar Mom. You can also find her on Instagram @bipolardanielle. She lives in New Jersey with her husband and two children.

    Writing Class Radio is hosted and produced by Allison Langer,  Andrea Askowitz, and Zorina Frey. Audio production by Matt Cundill, Evan Surminski, and Aidan Glassey at the Sound Off Media Company. Theme music by Justina Shandler.

    There’s more writing class on our website www.writingclassradio.com including essays to study, editing resources, video classes, writing retreats, and live online classes. Join our writing community.

    For $25/month you can join our First Draft weekly writers groups. (Tuesdays 12-1 ET and/or Wednesdays 6-7pm ET). Write to a prompt and share what you wrote. For $125/mth, you’ll get 1st draft and 2nd Draft. Each week three people bring a second draft for feedback. Join the community that comes together for instruction, an excuse to write, and most importantly, the support from other writers. To learn more, go to www.Patreon.com/writingclassradio. Or email andrea@writingclassradio.com for Zoom link. First session is FREE.

    A new episode will drop every other Wednesday.

    There’s no better way to understand ourselves and each other, than by writing and sharing our stories. Everyone has a story. What’s yours?

    This is sponsored by Amber Petty. Her new podcast is called Don't Wait to Write.

    See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.

    • 25 min
    There Is Always More to the Story

    There Is Always More to the Story

    Today’s episode revisits the subject of abortion but is about much more. We put a call-out for men’s abortion stories and received several abortion stories by women and very few (only three) by men. We are grateful to the men who submitted, but none was quite right for Writing Class Radio. We will continue to bring you abortion stories as they come in. So men, please weigh in. We want to hear from you. Submission guidelines are on our website.

    We selected this essay by past student Melanie Merriman because it is brilliantly written and deeply vulnerable. Melanie’s story shows how even someone who is a badass scientist can be manipulated and emotionally coerced into having sex when she doesn’t want to. Melanie's story also shows how there is so much more to every abortion story--every story.

    Dr. Melanie P. Merriman, PhD was a research scientist. Now she’s a non-profit grant evaluator. She’s the author of Holding the Net: Caring For My Mother on the Tightrope of Aging. She’s written for The Washington Post, ThirdAge.com, Guideposts, and NextAvenue.org. She is also the co-author of Merriman’s Hawaii: The Chef, The Farmers, The Food, The Islands. You can find Melanie at www.melaniemerriman.com or on Twitter at https://twitter.com/authormerriman 

    In the wake of the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, please support The National Network of Abortion Funds. These funds, provide practical, logistical, and financial support for anyone who needs help obtaining an abortion. 

    Writing Class Radio is hosted and produced by Allison Langer and Andrea Askowitz. Zorina Frey was absent for this recording. Audio production by Matt Cundill, Evan Surminski and Aidan Glassey at the Sound Off Media Company. Theme music by Justina Shandler.

    There’s more writing class on our website including essays to study, editing resources, video classes, writing retreats, and live online classes. Join our writing community by following us on Patreon. 

    For $25/month you can join our First Draft weekly writers groups. (Tuesdays 12-1 ET and/or Wednesdays 6-7pm ET). Write to a prompt and share what you wrote. For $125/mth, you’ll get 1st draft and 2nd Draft. Each week three people bring a second draft for feedback and brainstorming. Join the community that comes together for instruction, an excuse to write, and most importantly, the support from other writers. To learn more, go to www.Patreon.com/writingclassradio.

    A new episode will drop every other Wednesday.

    There’s no better way to understand ourselves and each other, than by writing and sharing our stories. Everyone has a story. What’s yours?

    See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.

    • 37 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
236 Ratings

236 Ratings

AmyKZam ,

Wonderful and engaging content and hosts

I started listening to WCR for the prison series. The episodes are released one at a time and I find myself checking back to see if the next once has come out because I have been so captivated by the previous episodes. Allison, Andrea, and Zaire are fabulous as hosts when discussing these powerful and moving stories. This is a very compelling, moving, and entertaining podcast that I highly recommend!!

robuzzi ,

Excellent podcast for listening to & learning to write personal essays

I started listening to the essays for entertainment and sideline nd teacher banter.be insights into writing. Got attached to the teacher/creator tips to the point I tried the weekly first daft then tried second draft. Excellent classes, great teachers and thoughtful student feedback as well. 5 Stars!

Constance C. Luo ,

I’m unsubscribing

I recently listened to Episode 115, titled “What I Learned from Men in Prison”. The premise had so much potential to be good, highlighting the stories of men in the prison system (many of which are men of color). But this episode seriously came off as more ignorant than Piper was in Season 1 Episode 1 of Orange is the New Black. Even Piper knew better than you both. There was acknowledgement from Allison and Andrea about their privileged backgrounds and not personally knowing people in the justice system, which is fine.

I’m not too versed in the world of criminal justice reform but even I know that this episode came off so insensitive and ignorant that I have no option but to unsubscribe. There’s a LOT of pandering to what seems to be a wealthy, white, female audience in this episode. Allison and Andrea, instead of proclaiming that you’re not “defending criminals” here, please realize that there’s so much wrong with the current justice system that needs to be reformed! And when Xaire (poor Xaire) shares a bit about after a lot of inner reflection and turmoil as a young writer, he finally begins to write about his FATHER (don’t y’all know how difficult it is for young men to open up about things like this?), y’all interject and say, “That’s just like me, I opened up and wrote about my DOG!”.

THIS is why there’s so much tension between white women and men of color (and people of color in general). I encourage you all to carefully consider how your stories are being framed, because this episode clearly had overtones of power imbalance and ignorance.

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