Future Workshops and Retreats (Old Site)

Autobiography workshops and retreats are organized throughout the year for groups of 10 or more. If you are interested in participating in a future workshop, or in hosting a workshop in your home, please contact us at autobiographymatters@gmail.com.


Spring Retreat.  Tuesday April 23, 2019. “Creative Non-Fiction:  Using your “Write Brain.”

A different approach to autobiography, writing creative prose and imagining a different way to tell your story.

Winter Workshop  Four Sessions examining current topics of interest to our writers. 

February 7, 14, 21, 28, 2019.


THREE NEW WRITING OPPORTUNITIES: October 24, November 14 and December 6

Join us for three new opportunities to write around current and important themes of the day.  Themes include: Crises, Rumor and Reputation, and News and Blues. Cost for series is $100, or can be pro-rated.  Single workshop is $35.  For further information and to register, email autobiographymatters@gmail.com.



JULY 26, 2018

This one-day workshop will explore the many ways in which fire and ice are associated with metaphorical meanings in our lives. The theme will be accompanied by evocative questions to stimulate writing. Space is limited. If you are interested in participating, please email us at autobiographymatters@gmail.com.  The cost of the workshop is $50.


This workshop will explore your feelings and thoughts about privacy and truth.  As always, the themes will be accompanied by a series of evocative questions to stimulate recall and evoke memories.  We are offering the same workshop on two different dates: Monday, March 5th and 12th and Tuesday, March 6th and 13th.  Space is limited. If you are interested in attending, please send an email to autobiographymatters@gmail.com and indicate your choice of dates. Further information about where the workshop will be held and payment information will be sent to you.  The cost of the two sessions is $60.


The first writing workshop of 2018 will begin on Monday, January 22nd and continue for the next three Mondays, January 29th, February 5th and 12th.  We will explore “new beginnings.” Registration fee for the workshop is $120 for all four sessions.  If you are interested in attending, please send an email to autobiographymatters@gmail.com expressing your interest in attending.  Space is very limited in this workshop.


WRITING A JEWISH LIFE: A new writing workshop at the Braid Theater in Santa Monica exploring the influences on your Jewish identity, your career choices,  and exploring the role of family, money, and history in your life. Registration fee: $300. Register at  jewishwomenstheater.org, , or send an email to autobiographymatters@gmail.com expressing your interest.

Dates: November 6, 13, 20 and December 4: 6:30-9:30 p.m.


THE ROLE OF FAMILY AND CULTURE IN THE CREATION OF SELF: A one-day workshop in Palos Verdes in a private home.

Wednesday, November 8th: 10 a.m. -3 p.m. Cost:$75.  Lunch included. Space is limited to 15 participants. Email autobiograhymatters@gmail.com with your interest in attending.


NESTS AND BOUNDARIES: A FOUR WEEK WORKSHOP exploring these two subjects.  In a  private home in Century City.
November 6th, 13th, 27th and December 4th.  Cost is $120.  Space is limited to 15 participants. Email autobiographymatters@gmail.com with your interest in attending


RETREAT IN SANTA YNEZ VALLEY: Monday, October 23rd and Tuesday, October 24th

Enjoy a two night stay at the Chumash Casino Resort in the Santa Ynez Valley.  Write and share in small groups. Spend some time wine-tasting, shopping in nearby Solvang, or relaxing at the pool or spa. Visit the Casino at your own risk. Theme will be sent upon registration.

Registration fee: $100. Space if very limited.  REGISTRATION CLOSED.


TWO WEEK WORKSHOP: PICK A PAIR OF SEASONS: Wednesday, August 9th and Wednesday, August 16th.

Cost: $60.

Address and theme will be sent on registration.


ONE-DAY WORKSHOP: Wednesday, June 7, 2017 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Join us for a one-day workshop, An Exercise in Magical Thinking. We will meet in a private home in Hancock Park.  The morning panel will offer reflections on creativity and generativity. In the afternoon, writings on Magical Thinking be shared in small groups.

Cost: $75, lunch included!

Address and theme for writing will be sent on registration.  SPACE IS VERY LIMITED.

To register, email autobiographymatters@gmail.com


The topic of this four week workshop promotes self-exploration and will provide a provocative, informative and insightful experience for those who write and explore.

COST: $100. If you are interested in participating, please email us at autobiographymatters@gmail.com

CHANGE:FOUR WEEK WORKSHOP beginning January 17, 2017

A four-week workshop on Change and how it intersects/affects/influences your life over time. Issues such as how we disengage and divest; what concerns us now that id different from our past concerns; and what we STILL want to accomplish will be highlighted in individual themes. At a personal level, who we really are and whether we can and do change over our lifetimes or whether we become more like ourselves remains a provocative and complex question, leading to what is the relationship between Change and Identity.  Is Identity what we choose to be? Is it what we are born with? Is it determined by our actions? Is it imposed on us? Does it change?

COST: $100.


ONE-DAY WORKSHOP SPONSORED BY USC EMERITI COLLEGE: October 6, 2016  9:30-12:30  University Religious Center, 102

How to Make Sense of Your Life and Share it with Others: The Influence of Fairy Tales on Your Life. This workshop uses familiar fairy tales such as Cinderella, Snow White and The Three Little Pigs to illuminate the choices, opportunities, and obstacles in your life, including the challenges with sibling rivalry, step-family issues, and the modern day equivalents of the Big Bad Wolf. RSVP by October 3rd:  Call USC Emeriti Center, 213-740-8921. Parking in Structure D courtesy for USC retirees with Gold Card; all others $12. (Jefferson & Royal)

NEW WORKSHOP: “Down Memory Lane: Reflections from the Past, Insights in the Present, and Implications for the Future.” October 19th and 26th

Join us for our new workshop and explore memories from the past, gain insights in the present, and discuss implications for the future. Write and share your reflections with others in small group setting.

We will meet at the Daily Grill, 2501 Colorado Avenue, Santa Monica from 10-12 (coffee, muffins and fruit included) and a no-host optional lunch. Parking is free for three hours.

Cost is $80.  PRE-REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED. EMAIL US: utobiographymatters@gmail.com with questions and to register.


A new four-week workshop, Once Upon A Time . . . a modern re-examination of the fairy tales that have shaped our behaviors and scripted our thoughts and actions,  begins February 4th and  continues on February 10th, 17th, and March 2nd.  It will be held at the Beverly Hills Library from 12 noon to 2 p.m. The cost of the workshop is $120.  Parking is free. If you are interested in participating, please email us at autobiographymatters@gmail.com.


The Oaks at Ojai

A lecture/discussion of the three little pigs and the big bad wolf was well received by  guests at The Oaks of Ojai in November.  We look forward to returning in the Spring and continuing to re-imagine fairy tales and their modern-day meanings.


There are two five-week workshops beginning Tuesday, October 6th and Wednesday, October 7th.  They are currently FULL.  If you would like to be on a wait list, or sign up for future workshops, please email us at autobiographymatters@gmail.com


The Three Little Pigs and the Big Bad Wolf: A Modern Re-interpretation

Join us as we explore one of our favorite fables, a tale of the failed attempt of two  little pigs to build their homes.  Discover the importance of good planning and design; consider the possibility of external threats and dangers to one’s life plan;  appreciate the importance of family support; learn how resilience triumphs.

WHERE:  Annenberg Community Beach House, Pacific Coast Highway, Santa Monica, California

WHEN:   November 10, 2015 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

WHO:     A morning panel consisting of Emmy -award winning TV producer Julie Carruthers, award- winning writer and filmmaker, Richard Doyon, and Oceannaires barber-shop quartet singer, Jerome Walker will explore the autobiographical influences of music, television, and cinema on their lives and careers.

HOW MUCH:  $75 REGISTRATION FEE (payable by November 1st) No-host parking.

To register: send email to autobiographymatters@gmail.com.  Details, including an agenda,  will be sent to you upon expression of interest.

We look forward to your participation and to sharing our interpretations and insights with your own.

 Past Classes October 16, 2014 Autobiography Matters: What the Stories Teach Us A One- Day Retreat at the Annenberg Community Beach House Cost: $200.  Thematic Autobiography Workshop: Writing and Sharing Your Life Tuesdays: October 21, 28; November 4,18; December 2, 9 11:00 a.m. -1 p.m. Peninsula Center Library, Palos Verdes. Thematic Autobiography: Writing and Sharing Your Life Beverly Hills Public Library Tuesdays: February 17, 24, March 3, 10, 17, and 24,


Searching for Jewish-American Identity in the 21st Century: Inspirations and Insights

DESCRIPTION: Six consecutive weeks, beginning February 18th from 12 noon to 2 p.m.

This autobiographical writing workshop is organized around universal themes which provide an outline of a life and have particular relevance to the formation of a Jewish identity.

 To prepare participants to write, themes are introduced and discussed by workshop leaders or “story guides.”   Each theme includes a set of sensitizing questions developed to elicit recall of past events and emotions.  Participants may write as much as they like, but, due to time constraints, may only share two pages.  Examples of themes will include topics such as Choices and Regrets; The Jewish Family; The  Role of Money; The Role of Food,  and Legacy.

STORY GUIDES:  Drs. Susan Aminoff and Marlene Wagner will lead the group discussions and “guide” participants to re-create  meaningful narratives of their life stories with an emphasis how “being Jewish” influenced their life choices.

MIni-Workshop (past)

April 9th and 16th.  Fashion and Passion. Cost is $50.  Please email autobiographymatters@gmail.com


Autobiography Matters: Themes of Our Lives ed. by Susan Aminoff, Ph.D. and Marlene Wagner, Ph.D., Figueroa Press, 2015.

A collection of autobiographical vignettes on universal themes such as choices and regrets, family and food, love and losses.  Written by participants in our workshops these brief essays are stories of courage and character that  inspire and instruct, and provide insight in our lives. After you have read them, you may be encouraged to write your own!

Autobiography Matters: What’s in a Name?

ed. by Susan Aminoff , Ph.D.and Marlene Wagner, Ph.D., Figueroa Press, 2016.

A collection of personal essays examining how names influence behavior; may cause acts of discrimination; and inspire, encourage, or  influence. Writers also disclose whether or not they would like to have changed their names, or  chosen them after all!

Available on Amazon.com