Course curriculum

  • 1

    Welcome & Introduction

    • Meet Your Professor: Suzette Martinez Standring (she/her)

    • Welcome! A Note from Cole Imperi

    • About the School of American Thanatology

    • Where We're From

    • Course Syllabus

  • 2

    Week 1: How to Craft 500 Memorable Words

    • Live Lecture | Tuesday, 11 May from 7–9pm Eastern | Zoom Link Inside

    • Discussion: Introduce Yourself

    • About the Course Project

    • Lecture Topic: How to Write Memorably and Self-Hypnosis as a Creativity Tool

  • 3

    Week 2: Shadowloss Separates Us

    • Live Lecture | Tuesday, 18 May from 7-9pm Eastern | Zoom Link Inside

    • Lecture Topic: Shadowloss Separates Us

    • Additional Reading: Writing to Heal Grief and Trauma

    • Daily Exercise: Thoughtful Writing

  • 4

    Week 3: Shadowlight Reconnects Us

    • Live Lecture Recording | Tuesday, 25 May from 7-9pm Eastern | Zoom Link Inside

    • Lecture Topic: Shadowlight Reconnects Us

    • Additional Reading: Wisdom from the White Buffalo

    • Additional Reading: Using Humor When Writing About Painful Events

    • Daily Exercise: Morning Pages by Julia Cameron

    • Join Our Community!

  • 5

    Week 4: Japanese Death Poems, Last Words and Altars

    • Live Lecture Recording | Tuesday, 1 June from 7-9pm Eastern | Zoom Link Inside

    • Lecture Topic: Japanese Death Poems, Last Words and Altars

    • Additional Reading: Death Poems

    • Assignment: Writing your own obituary

    • Presentation: Week 4 Slides

    • Guest Speaker: Elaine Person's Writing Tips and Tricks

  • 6

    Week 5: Healing the Unsaid with the Dead

    • Live Lecture Recording | Tuesday, 8 June from 7-9pm Eastern | Zoom Link Inside

    • Lecture Topic: Healing the Unsaid with the Dead

    • Video: Interview with Author June Ahern—How to Talk with Spirits

    • Book Recommendations: Etheric Plane Communication

    • Assignment: Write about giving voice to unfinished business

  • 7

    Week 6: The Three Most Common Deathbed Regrets

    • Live Lecture Recording | Tuesday, 15 June from 7-9pm Eastern | Zoom Link Inside

    • Lecture Topic: The Three Most Common Deathbed Regrets

    • Video: Interview with Author Tenzin Kiyosaki - 30 min.

    • Assignment: If You Died Today, What Would You Regret?

    • Book Recommendation: The Three Regrets

  • 8

    Week 7: A Return to the Lake

    • Live Lecture | Tuesday, 22 June from 7-9pm Eastern | Zoom Link Inside

    • A Return to the Lake, Final Essay Prep

  • 9

    Week 8: Final Assignment Due Tuesday, June 29, 2021

    • Final Assignment

  • 10

    In Conclusion

    • Exit Survey

    • Read: A Final Note from Suzette

The Course Opens On May 10

And the First Live Lecture is Tuesday, May 11 from 7-9pm Eastern

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Meet Your Instructor: Suzette Martinez Standring

Syndicated Columnist and Published Author

Suzette Martinez Standring

Instructor, Writing: Death & Spirituality

SUZETTE MARTINEZ STANDRING writes a spirituality column for The Patriot Ledger (MA), since 2008 and is syndicated nationally through Gannett. Her award winning books, The Art of Opinion Writing (2014) and The Art of Column Writing (2008) are used in journalism courses such as Johns Hopkins University and are published in China. Suzette is a past president of The National Society of Newspaper Columnists. Since 2010, she is the host and producer of It’s All Write With Suzette, a cable TV show about writing.


  • Does this class have live lectures?

    Yes! Live Lectures with Suzette take place each Tuesday from 7-9pm Eastern via Zoom.

  • Will we spend time writing in this course?

    Yes! There will be time during each live lecture for writing, and a one-page writing assignment is due at the end of the course. The writing assignment is optional: if you want Suzette's feedback, or you would like a course certificate of completion, you will want to turn this in!

  • Who is this course for? Do I need experience?

    This course is for: • People looking to carve out time to get something from their head onto the page, while receiving expert guidance. • Content creators wanting to create memorable and potentially publishable pieces on such intimate topics as death and spirituality. • Learners looking to expand their writing skills by diving into these deep topics. • Healthcare and deathcare professionals looking to educate the public and their clientele on topics pertinent to their work, through their writing. • People facing issues such as end-of-life, death anxiety, shadowlosses, and grief with a desire to release their thoughts and emotions through effective communication. • People looking to connect with others interested in writing about their experiences with death and spirituality.

  • Will I have an opportunity to meet other students?

    Yes! Live Lectures take place via Zoom. There will be breakout sessions (small, intimate groups) where you can meet other classmates and talk about what you're working on. There is also a private school-community you will be invited to join.

  • Will we learn writing techniques?

    Yes! Please see the course outline above which will give you insight into all the different tools and techniques Suzette will share with you.