GAB Workshops

I offer three levels of guided autobiography. And, during these Covid days, I offer them all online.

Some people think that an online group can’t achieve the same level of trust and mutual support as an in-person group, but those who participate online would disagree. This online course is live and highly interactive. All you need is a quiet and private place, with a computer that has a built-in mic and camera. The rest is easy. For a glimpse of what it means to participate in an online GAB workshop series, go here.

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GAB1 is the basic level developed by the Birren Center for Autobiographical Studies in California and has a strong focus on life review. In sessions held over six weeks, we explore themes like turning points in our life, family, health, and what we consider to be our life’s work. The first part of the roughly two-hour session is devoted to activities to enhance self-awareness, writing skills, and memory; the second for sharing aloud the stories you have written at home in the preceding week.

In GAB1, the story is key.  We learn to write from the heart, how to focus a story, and write within an overall structure. We talk about using sensory details and metaphors to help bring your scenes alive for others. Our primary focus, however, is on the experience being shared. We are active and supportive listeners; our feedback provides validation and demonstrates active listening.

I offer GAB1 privately, and through SFU’s Liberal Arts and 55+ program.

My fee for a private GAB1 workshop series is $249. 

GAB1 Through SFU

I offer GAB1 through SFU’s Liberal Arts and 55+ Program. Look for “Story Catching: Learning From Life” in their catalogue.

Unlike my regular classes, which are limited to 6 people, up to 12 people participate in the SFU online series, but you still share your stories in small groups of no more than 6 people.

The next SFU workshop series will run for six weeks beginning September 14th, from 9:30am to 11:30am PDT. Make sure you are on the list for SFU’s program updates and then, because spaces for these workshops fill very quickly, be sure you register as soon as registration opens (August 17th, 10 am). Go here to register on August 17th.


Those who want to continue gaining benefits from life review and sharing their stories in a small group but want a stronger focus on writing craft can choose to go onto GAB2.

GAB2 borrows from a GAB2 curriculum developed by the Birren Center but, where that curriculum delves more deeply into life review, my GAB2 is intended for those who want to take their writing to the next level, and I offer some new themes.

In GAB2 we spend the first part of the session learning the core elements of writing memoir and discuss things like story structure, developing strong characters, cutting for clarity, and good dialogue. In the second part of the session, we tackle themes like love, finding independence, and gaining resilience–themes you will write about at home and then share aloud with your small group the following week.

The fee for GAB1 is $259. Completing GAB1 is a prerequisite for GAB2.

GAB Writers

GAB Writers is designed for those who have completed GAB1 and/or GAB2 but want to continue writing. These are people who like the GAB approach of sharing their stories in small supportive groups and who know they need some structure and guidance to keep them writing. Unlike GAB2, which is more about learning the craft of writing memoir, GAB Writers is more about just doing it through free-form writing, and GAB-type stories.

Like regular GAB, we write on pre-selected themes but, in GAB Writers, the themes move on from the foundational ones we address in GAB1 like family, health, money, and work, to other aspects of life and self. We ponder and write about topics like friendship, vulnerability, even holidays. Whether feedback focuses on content or craft is the writer’s choice. 

The fee for GAB Writers is $239+GST. 

I am offering a GAB Writers 6-week series of classes this fall beginning September 18th, 9:30am to 12:00pm. If this interests you, please write to me here.

And when we ever get through this pandemic, I’ll be able to offer…

GAB at (My) Home 

Home groups have always been popular. It’s a warm way to share. We gather around my dining room table. I make tea; people bring offerings; friendships are made; follow-up groups are always in demand.

The fee for GAB at Home is $249+GST (and occasionally maybe some cookies). Looking forward to the day this can happen again.

Don’t forget, sign up for Workshop Updates on the right side of this page to make sure you get the latest news about upcoming GAB Sessions.