Storytelling Class (Virtual Edition)

Many of us feel like we don’t have stories. That we’re not interesting. That no one would want to hear what we have to say. That our stories don’t matter compared to others’ stories. Many of us have stories but we’re scared to write and share them. Because of whom we may hurt. Because of what you may think of us. Because of what the digging may unearth. Some of us know we have meaningful stories and we’re chomping at the bit to spotlight them, we just haven’t yet had the opportunity.
 
This is an empowering intimate class for those with “no stories” or “uninteresting” stories, or for those who simply want space for community, words, and self (with a dash of challenging yourself to push through any fear or discomfort). This is a writing and sharing-intensive virtual class that meets weekly for eight weeks that culminates in a showcase, a public sharing of student stories.
 
Mac & Cheese is an inclusive space and welcomes all human beings.
 

Upcoming Class Registration

All classes are virtual (for now). If it says “Join Waitlist” in the registration box, that means that section is full.

Fall 2020

  • Thursdays, September 10th to October 29th, 5:30pm to 8:30pm CDT — Facebook Event

Black Lives Matter Scholarship info below the boxes; don’t register for class or join the waitlist, just fill out the self-nomination form.

For both scholarship and non-scholarship folks, highly suggested that you check out the detail below before registering/applying so you know what to expect and so you can suss out if this is indeed the perfect fit

Non-scholarship folks, there are no refunds so make sure you can join before registering. 

Black Lives Matter Storytelling Scholarship

With the recent tragic events of George Floyd’s death and the ensuing aftermath, a White person reached out — 

“I’m interested in providing a scholarship to a Black participant. I feel like your storytelling class has done a great job at helping people find their stories and tell them to the world, and I think now is the time to elevate Black voices.”

Within seven minutes, another person offered another full scholarship. A few more minutes, another. And another. And another. If you’re “another” and would like to gift a scholarship ($365), fill this out.

Apply for a Full Scholarship

If you’re a Black individual and you’re able to attend every class Thursdays, September 10th to October 29th, 5:30pm to 8:30pm CDT, you are encouraged to nominate yourself for this eight-week virtual journey via the below form. Scholarships are awarded on a rolling basis so depending on acceptances, there may not be any left. But, Life of Yes℠, the only guaranteed No is to the question you don’t ask, or in this case, scholarship you don’t apply for, so feel free to fill out the form, cause you never know! If there’s a spot for you, Mac & Cheese will be in touch. 

Self-Nomination Form

  • Please make sure you type this correctly and use an email you actually check as it's the only form of contact.
  • This will only be used if Saya has trouble getting in contact with you for some reason via email.
  • The more specific, the better. E.g. instead of "a friend," "John James"
  • All attempts will be made to put you in your first choice, but it may be full. If you're open to either, please choose that as it increases your chance of being selected. CLASS DAYS/TIMES: Mondays, June 29th to August 17th, 5:30pm to 8:30pm CDT OR Wednesdays, July 1 to August 19, 5:30pm to 8:30pm CDT
  • As a way to give voice to those often silenced and unheard, this scholarship is for black individuals.
  • Eight weeks in a row. Class is Thursdays, September 10th to October 29th, 5:30pm to 8:30pm CDT.
  • Workshop = be critiqued/share critique in a supportive manner
  • Make sure whatever time zone you live in makes sense for the CDT timing of class. You'll need a video-capable device, preferably wifi-enabled, at least with cell service.
  • Where showcase = each student sharing their story publicly to loved ones and strangers. We'll choose a showcase date that falls soon after our last class. You're expected to both invite people and tell your story.
  • Some times, if we haven't e-communicated before, Saya will end up in not your inbox a la spam, your promotions folder, etc. To avoid that, add Saya to your contact list. It's also a good idea to check spam/promotions occasionally, especially during a time when you're waiting to hear from someone. For further instructions on how to do this, check out tinyurl.com/y7y8vpdb (copy and paste link into your browser)

An art form that’s been in existence since the beginning of time yet is the current “hot” tool for sales, marketing, networking, public speaking… The world has discovered the magic that is sharing a story. You know those people who make it look so easy? Where “it” is everything? They’re more often than not good storytellers. They have an easier time making friends, dating, getting hired, getting promoted, managing, leading…

The best communicators are conversational. The best leaders are the ones that compel and inspire, achieved through fostering trust and connecting with others on an emotional level. Data, facts, and stats are easily forgotten; the key to being memorable is emotion. Enter the sticky tool of storytelling — what you hear sticks with you (and those with whom you share the story).

Why do people take this class?

  • (re)discover a muted voice
  • (re)instate creativity in life
  • do something for themselves
  • connect with others
  • connect with self
  • face a fear — performance, imposter syndrome (I’m not a writer! I’m not a storyteller!), sharing insides, being vulnerable, digging deep into your own life, being on more Zoom…
  • forced to write
  • learn/hone a different way to communicate
  • something new
  • “storytelling” is THE art-form du jour

This is a non-fiction class where you are the inspiration for what you pen and the meat of class material is what you and your classmates pen. Don’t worry if you think there’s nothing within you from which to be inspired. There is. You’ll be led through brainstorming activities, you’ll read and critique the stories of your classmates, and you’ll write and share your own narrative. Class is intimate and workshop’y to allow for a high-level of participation and attention. We’ll also spend time on the art of performance storytelling — what to do when you’re on stage and in the spotlight.

At the end of our time together, we’ll have a showcase where everyone will share a story publicly to both have the benefits of our stories travel beyond our walls and ourselves and to challenge ourselves to face the fear of public speaking and opening up in front of loved ones and strangers. The showcase is a warm hug of an experience where nothing but love and cheers fill the space. As it’s much more impactful and fun (even if it’s scary-fun) to share in front of a packed “room,” everyone is asked to invite widely.

LOGISTICS

  • Required Materials: analog or digital note-taking materials, a device with a camera (laptop, desktop, tablet, phone); we’ll all be on video to make conversation more conversation’y, a quiet space
  • Other Requirements: consistent attendance, focused time outside of class to write and read, ability to critique and be critiqued, a willingness to be open, vulnerable, and supportive, and showcase participation (both inviting people and telling your story)
  • Timeframe: we will meet once a week, same day of the week, for three hours. Our showcase will be within a few weeks of our last class — we’ll pick a date that works for all
  • Food/drink welcome during class

Testimonials

"I've always loved stories but have never devoted much time to writing my own. This class forced that to happen and it was beautiful. Magic happens as you become vulnerable, heed your classmate's suggestions (sometimes!), and edit, edit, and edit some more. It's remarkable how much better a story can become with a little work and how fun it can be to do that work. I think I might have a new hobby. Maybe. Saya created a warm, welcoming environment for us to learn and grown. It was the highlight of my week. Truly. Thank you Saya!"
“Thanks so much for the assignments and the way you designed the class. I took a chance on M&C and it turned out very well. I especially enjoyed the notes you wrote on my stories. You have a knack for critique. And I take your words as valuable because they are. Also enjoyed my classmates mucho…and their stories…also mucho. And being in M&C good vibes and comfortable. I learned A LOT; more than I expected.”

INSTRUCTOR

When Saya used to try to fit in — which as an amazonian biracial Black Jew with a single mom, homemade clothes, and bike for a car was difficult — she was miserable. Since learning the power of voice and vulnerability, she is a master at getting others to push themselves and “Me too!”, and now embraces her literal and figurative stretch marks. Often through the spoken and written word.

A proud Boston College English and Sociology major, Saya loves to combine her superpowers of storytelling and an ability to connect people and get them to see the goodness within. She’s keynoted conferences, shared a TEDx talk, and participated in various performances from the Chicago Women’s Funny Festival to Listen To Your Mother to Fear Experiment℠. For years, she’s guided people in personal journeys to increased self-confidence and personal fulfillment. And taking that journey through writing and storytelling? The best.

She’s run her business, Mac & Cheese Productions℠, since 2004. Mac & Cheese creates virtual and in-person spaces that build connection: to others, to opportunities, to self. A space for those without a space. A space for those who want to renovate their space. A space for those who want to share their space. Mac & Cheese inspires groups and individuals to learn, grow, and become better versions of themselves and you to take charge of your life.