One of the first questions we ask each other is, “where are you from?”
I don’t have a simple answer for this one. I was born in Louisville, Kentucky to a schoolteacher from Iowa and a salesman from Wisconsin. I moved 6 times before college at the University of Iowa became the 7th stop before I even turned 18. After Iowa City opportunities opened up for me in Manhattan where I worked my first job at St. Martin’s Press/ Tor Books in marketing. When New York City started to seem too gray and mercenary, I left for the west coast. Following friends to San Francisco, the city of cotton colored fog, the bold red/orange of the Golden Gate Bridge and the vistas of the Pacific Ocean mesmerized me.
The next question you could ask is, “What have you become?”
I attended San Francisco State’s MFA Writing Program in Fiction, Poetry and Playwriting. During that time I had amazing teachers and a vibrant community of like-minded literature lovers. I moved to Los Angeles in order to be in a larger metropolitan city. I live near Dodger Stadium!
Or perhaps that cocktail party staple, “What do you do?”
Since that time, I have published writing in magazines and journals (Watchword, Fourth River, SF Station, Reed magazine, The Blue Earth Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, The Skinny, Rhino, and Copper Nickel). I have attended Vermont Studio Center and been the grateful recipient of a 2007 Djerassi Resident Artist Fellowship (more photos, here), and a 2009 Jentel Artist Fellowship (some photos, here). I am working on a memoir about my experiences with cancer, (link to excerpt), writing essays about things that hook my soul, and continuing to write teaching plans based on sharing what I have learned such as the ebook Stunt Writing 101.
And the last question that crosses our mind, and we ask indirectly, “And what can you do for me?”
I have been teaching Writing From Personal Experience classes in the Los Angeles area for the last three years in addition to working one-on-one with private students. My focus is to use writing to help people learn about themselves. Life is crazy and busy—and I believe in the art of creative contemplation. My job is to teach my students the skills, perspective and guidance to get their experiences out on the page.
I am non-judgmental, open minded, forward moving, and experientially focused. My desire is to have my students feel safe and inspired, ready to breakthrough and take what they have learned into their future.
“Writer, poet, and memoirist Erin Jourdan helped to unleash all of our desires, wants, and all without shame.”
-Stella Cheung, owner, YogaGals