BLAISE ALLYSEN KEARSLEY
Hello, it's me. I know the name looks complicated. I would like to help you with that:
My first name is pronounced BLAZE, my middle name is just ALISON, but with some
different letters, and my last name sounds like KEY-ER-S-LEE.
That's it for this first section of my website. It's been pretty demanding already.
I'm a New York-based writer and teacher and the creator/producer/host of How I Learned, a long-running storytelling, comedy, and reading series. I've appeared at The Moth, Risk, Literary Death Match, Mortified, The Gotham Storytelling Festival, and at various venues that serve booze and sometimes snacks.
My writing has appeared in Catapult, Longreads, VICE, The Boston Globe, Midnight Breakfast, Electric Literature's The Nervous Breakdown, Oldster, Elle.com, the creative nonfiction anthologies Nonwhite and Woman (forthcoming from Woodhall Press, Summer 2022), Cringe (Crown Publishing, 2008), and Mortified: Real Words. Real People. Real Pathetic. (Gallery Books, 2006). I've written for several magazines and online outlets dating back to 2001 that are perhaps not worth mentioning by name and probably don't even exist anymore.
I teach mostly memoir and personal essay writing, as well as creative writing for teens. I'm currently a contributing editor at Vestal Review, the oldest flash fiction journal on the planet.
In another life I took a lot of pictures with actual cameras, and some of those pictures were published in places like New York Magazine, Gawker, Playbill, The Morning News, JPG Magazine, and Nerve.
I live in Brooklyn, but if you need me for something somewhere else maybe I'll go there.
[ select writing
🜃 A Jet All The Way Oldster, 2022
🜃 The Story of My Father's Hands Catapult, 2022
🜃 Finding Oneself in 'Surviving the White Gaze' The Boston Globe, 2021
🜃 Why Mr. Bauer Didn't Like Me Longreads, 2019
🜃 The Mail Club Midnight Breakfast, 2016
🜃 3 Songs About Being Young and Disenfranchised Before The Internet The Weeklings, 2014
Blaise Writers Workshop + Consulting provides a safe space for BIPOC + LGBTQ+ writers.
Narrative nonfiction, articles, humor pieces, and poetry by current and former students have appeared in The New York Times, Modern Love, Blavity, Manifest Station, Refinery29, Dame Magazine, The New Yorker, McSweeney's, Elle.com, Rolling Stone, 11th Street Journal + elsewhere.
[ classes + consulting
[ FULL ] Sudden Truths: Writing Flash Memoir + Super-Short Personal Essay
6 weeks; Thursdays, beginning
7:00 - 9:00 p.m. EST (Zoom)
Open to all. Limited to 8 writers.
How do you tell a story with a beginning, middle, and end in 250-1000 words? We'll explore the ways in which the super-short form can enhance our writing practice, improve our skills, and make sense of our truths.
We'll generate ideas through in-class writing, and discuss structure, pacing, narrative thread, and the revision process within the context of micro stories. Writers will share their work and receive constructive peer and instructor feedback.
Sponsored by Writing Workshops:
SPECIAL GUEST INSTRUCTOR
Writing on The Right Side of the Brain
with Sibyl Kempson
5 weeks; Saturdays, July 9 - August 6;
11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. EST (Zoom)
In this 5-week series led by Sibyl Kempson, writers are encouraged to reconnect to their own intuitive pathways of research, and in the testing of aesthetic frameworks and formal mechanics.
This process-based instruction helps writers clear away or brush aside anything that might be threatening to block their most authentic, original, visionary creative expression.Here we build skills, push boundaries, and question inherited structures. Learn how to get out of your own way. What wants to come through you, into the world conversation?Originally designed for playwrights and writers of other performance texts, these exercises are adjusted for scribblers and makers of all stripes. Yes, there will be homework! And yes, some scribblings will be shared!
$450 / $410 - $420*$30 off if returning for a second Blaise Workshop. $40 off for three or more.
Sliding Scale available for BIPOC and LGBTQ+ writersPayment plans are also available.
RSVP by June 25.
[ NEW ]
The Topography of Memory
6 weeks; Tuesdays, beginning July 26th; 7:00 - 9:00 p.m. EST (Zoom)
Memory is fluid, faulty, and fallible. How is our writing both hindered and enhanced by the limitations of memory? How can we navigate the gaps in our recall? What do we do when the memories are vague or elusive?In this workshop we'll shake the current foundation and excavate past and recent memories, unearthing core stories and important secondary events. What are the brain-encoded stories we need to tell?
For neuroscientific insight and creative inspiration we'll draw from the work of Brian Broome, Gerald Walker, Wendy Fontaine, Danzy Senna, Santiago Ramón y Cajal, Josh Korda, Sven Birkerts, Mary Karr, and more. We'll read short excerpts in class with some longer texts for homework. There will be writing prompts, sharing, and guided feedback.
Ties That Bind:
Writing About Family
6 weeks; Wednesdays, August 17 - September 28*; 7:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. EST (Zoom)
*No class on September 14th.
Invite only or by referral or writing sample. Limited to 8 writers.
It's a slippery slope. Even the funny, affectionate family stuff can stab your insides and fray your wires.
Over the course of 6 weeks, we'll consider how (and how not) to write about bloodline, adoptive, and chosen family, members who are still here or in the everywhere, in an honest, unflinching way. We'll zoom in on the stories we need to tell and examine purpose, approach, perspective and narrative core, also looking at the outside story—the context of race, class, gender, and generations. We'll discuss character and relationship dynamics and how to write about trauma—not just our own, but the intergenerational trauma of others, and ease our way into the big dig through writing exercises and readings.The anchor for our writing in this workshop is a circle of space holding, support, safety—and commiseration. Everyone will have multiple opportunities to share their work for peer and instructor feedback.
RSVP by July 25.
One On One
One-on-one work is for writers looking for personalized creative direction and guidance, whether you're working on a book or trying to finish stand alone pieces to pitch for publication.During one-hour sessions (remotely or in person, as the pandemic allows), we'll identify your goals and projects, and develop a work plan. You'll receive extensive critical feedback and other forms of support catered to your needs.In the quest for accountability and momentum, signing up for 3 sessions at a time is recommended.
Sliding scale for BIPOC + LGBTQ+ writers.
Payment Plans are also available.
Be among the first to hear about new and upcoming workshops.
"I've taken several workshops over the years, all over the country, and this was by far the best. Blaise is a goddamn treasure."
"I feel so inspired, enriched, encouraged, and empowered in my writing practice. I've been sitting at my desk since we all logged off just feeling how full of gratitude my heart is—for you, the workshop, and the entire group."
"During quarantine I had to show up for myself and others who counted on me, even when I felt like all I wanted to do was hide under my couch. Being part of this creative group of writers saved me."
"Thank you for creating this generous space for us to try new things and be vulnerable, for the insightful feedback, and for leading us through the last 8 weeks. I'm really grateful."
"Blaise was really able to build a community on Zoom. This is an incredibly difficult thing to do, and she made it seem so easy."
"What Blaise does is so specific and so special. I don't think you can find that in other workshops."
"This is a fantastic format. The small class size ensures everyone gets ample time and submission opportunities. Blaise is such a skilled reader and editor, and her notes are always valuable. She offers wonderful perspectives, and assembles groups of writers with keen perspectives of their own. Highly recommend."
"I want to thank you for not only helping me improve my writing, but the confidence and practical knowledge I got from your classes to polish and submit my work. Your feedback and mentorship meant so much to me."
"I genuinely looked forward to each week. The feedback and advice you gave sent me back out into the world with confidence and purpose."
"Submitting something for publication for the first time was one of my goals for our eight-week workshop and that gave me the push I needed to hit the send button. Everything this group taught me about specificity, vulnerability and vivid storytelling made a huge difference."
"I loved that the readings center BIPOC, women, and LGBTQ voices. That was an important and edifying element."
"You treat every question with such a genuine desire to give the best possible answer and it made me happy every time. I admire that you focus on building people up. For someone like me, that means the world."
[ how i learned
Photo: Jon Boulier
Blaise Allysen's Kearsley's HOW I LEARNED series, a live reading/storytelling/comedy show, was born on the Lower East Side in 2009. The series has featured Aparna Nancherla, Janelle James, Alexander Chee, Anna Sale, Ophira Eisenberg, Isaac Fitzgerald, Nick Flynn, Mira Jacob, Nore Davis, Lizz Winstead, Amanda Duarte, Sasheer Zamata, Isaac Oliver, Jo Firestone, Mike Albo, Phoebe Robinson, Choire Sicha, Dan Kennedy, Rob Sheffield, Rosie Schaap, David Crabb, Jami Attenberg, and many, many, many, many others.
Named one of "Five Best Comedy Shows Hosted By Women" by CBS New York and one of the Best Storytelling Series and Best Reading Series by Time Out New York.
"Hostess Blaise Allysen Kearsley makes sure to keep it awkwardly funny." -CBS New York
"...Always hilarious, sometimes touching, and without fail entertaining." -Brooklyn Magazine
"This show has renewed my faith in this whole storytelling endeavor and what it means in the world." -David Crabb, Host of The Moth
"Blaise Allysen Kearsley is a charming host with an irrepressible, humming little laugh that seems to be a compromise she’s made with some wicked guffaw within." -LitWrap
And another thing:
The free virtual write-in offers 2 1/2 hours of silent focus for anyone who needs it.
No prompts. No chatter. Just good writing energy.
Pop in for part of the time or stay for the whole thing.
Get notified about the next one.
OK, this is the end of my website. You did a great job.
Photo: Adam Verity / Logo: Andy Ross Creative
© 2022 Bazima Productions