I wouldn’t be the Los Angeleno I am today without it
I almost feel embarrassed writing this soppy bullshit. It’s almost too cliché to mention. It’s too obvious. There’s no way any of you will believe that I have anything other than ass-kissing on my radar, but this is the way the cookie crumbles, bitches, so eat up. I remember the first night I walked into this writing class. I remember being pleasantly surprised by how intimate and low-key the evening was. I think I brought a bottle of wine. I remember approaching the door and hoping I had the right house and not being entirely sure until I looked at all the doo-dads hanging around the threshold. I came in, and I took a seat near the door, and I’ve stayed more or less in that same seat for the past 4 years. When I left, I was cleansed, supported, revitalized, and that was just one class. I didn’t realize, couldn’t have realized, that that first class would literally change my life.
Sitting in that class was a woman named Nadine, for instance, who would recommend me as a PA to her friend who was making a movie, which friend would end up using me for background in that movie, which would get me my SAG eligibility. Sitting in that first class was this chick Bonnie, who would end up becoming not only one of my best friends and favorite persons in this twisted town, but who would end up giving me a place to live and stash my stuff during a time when I had almost nothing in the world going for me, when I was broke and homeless and jobless and recently dumped. Sitting in that class, and in the classes that came after that class, were women who have driven me to the airport, let me cry in their beds, let me get jiggy in their beds when they weren’t home, cooked me meals, invited me to parties, introduced me to celebrities, swooned with me over celebrities, and, far and beyond even them, introduced me to people through whom I met other people and in direct and indirect ways formed the network of friends I call my own in LA.
I had been in this town only a couple months when I came to my first writing class. Today, the biggest percentage of friends I have in this town came to me by way of Pamela’s front door and the doors those same people opened to me in the form of other people. And, of course, the Lady herself, who became my foster mother, who has given me the most ragtag and irreplaceable set of situations I could have ever found myself in. Between being her student, her friend, her assistant and her adoptee, I have a set of stories as long as a Hollywood traffic jam. In this little bungalow, I have always felt like a ragamuffin broken doll, being encouraged and loved and supported and fed (sometimes I was so broke, I actually needed writing snacks as my dinner) by mother hen and her brood. That first night of class changed my life, and I wouldn’t be the Los Angeleno I am today without it.
— Nichole, Los Angeles, CA
It’s time to write that down
Slide a white-gloved finger across the soul of one of Miz Pamela’s writing groups and it comes up covered in honey.
If you’ve started to suspect who you are or you already know and have stopped apologizing, It’s time to write that down.
Bring your open mind. Bring the girl you were at age 9. Bring the liner notes you memorized from your favorite music in junior high. Bring the sheets — or a section of carpeting from the floor of the van where you lost your virginity.
Come ready to describe your details.
Don’t say you can’t write, if you’re reading this, you know you could’ve written it yourself.
— Kris, Austin
Back rub for my mind
I moved probably 10 times between the ages of 16 to 36 and never got rid of the journals I’d kept from elementary school through college age. I did that because they were important to who I am.
Why did I stop writing? Life got in the way.
Then one day I was nearly shoved into Pamela Des Barres writing group and I knew I would hate it while also sucking at it and leave feeling ashamed.
Almost a decade later, I’ve attended as many of these sessions as were offered in my city and written a solid bridge back to the girl I was.
It’s a back rub for my mind. It’s hard and delicious and funny. It’s like a summer camp without a list of items your mom has to label with your last name.
You can make your name up! I call myself Cliche Guevara and another attendee wants to be known as CoCo Dependent.
Come and see.
— Cliche Guevara, Austin
I’ve freed my muse
I’ve often joked that if I were to write a memoir of my rock ‘n roll adventures, it would be entitled ‘I’m Not With The Band’. …
Reflecting on the workshop during my drive home, I thought about how it’s a bit bizarre that I spent the past two evenings divulging my deep, dark insecurities in front of someone who’s been such an inspiration to me. But I walked away from it with the feeling that the full significance of it may not be felt until some time in the future. I made new friends, got things off my chest, and have a new found confidence and inspiration in my writing. As Miss Pamela says, I’ve freed my muse.
— Jamie Harvey, HardRockChick.com
Wouldn’t miss it for the world!
“Miss P’s writers workshop is much more than just a bunch of exercises in effective memoir writing. It creates a close network of like-minded ladies who become lifetime friends and hold get togethers even when Miss P’s not in town. Miss P’s workshops have a certain aura about them that lets the participants (usually 15 to 20 ladies) feel free to tell their darkest secrets and know they won’t leave the room. (What happens in Pamela’s class stays in the class — and we get learn things about Miss P that aren’t in her beloved books!) Participants bring food, wine and get to chat with Miss P between actually doing the writing exercises in class…and we often hang out and shop with this sunny and sensitive rock legend when she’s in town! We’ve even gotten to meet a couple of Pamela’s celebrity friends including actress Patti D’Arbanville, who is attempting to start her own autobiography, and her son Jesse (from her relationship with Don Johnson). I have been at every one of Pamela’s New York classes (which go back 2 1/2 years now) and wouldn’t miss one for the world. They are well worth the $120 and are completely unforgettable experiences.
— Anne Raso, New York, NY
A gathering of rebel souls
I sat in my apartment in Richmond, VA on a wintery cold night. I turned on the TV to VH1′s “The Women Of The Sunset Strip.” I watched intently as these ladies spoke and told me candidly about their lives. Musicians, groupies … There was nothing to be ashamed of … at all. I jumped into my bed and ordered every single book I could by Ms. Des Barres. What an amazing woman. She was 100% herself, no shame in anything she did.
As I moved to Los Angeles I saw she was having a writing workshop. I knew immediately I needed to take it. I sat through the memoir class and listened to the ladies tell their stories. I listened with undivided attention. I learned to be happy and confident in whoever I am. I’ve learned different ways of looking at things, and I appreciate what every woman has brought to the group. The gathering of rebel souls at a workshop in Mar Vista has taught me so much that I can’t even get it all down on paper. I feel more enlightened and intellectual after sharing with amazing women one night after the next.
Having similar interests and being around people who just ‘get’ me is refreshing. I’m no longer self deprecating. I just hope that I can be just as amazing as the women I’ve come across in Pamela’s workshop. My best friend back in VA even noticed! ”You’re much happier!” she said. I feel happy. I’ve learned all you need is love, be yourself 100% no matter what anyone says.
— Maddie, Los Angeles, CA
Literally changed my life!
Miss Pamela’s Writing Workshop has literally changed my life. I went from being a very slow and incredibly shy, private writer to a woman who now, in just a matter of minutes, furiously bangs out a fairly complex, layered, stream of consciousness story that constantly surprises myself and my “groupie-mates” under her gifted tutelage. Miss Pamela creates a safe, compassionate comfort zone so her students can share their innermost thoughts in a judgement-free space filled with like-minded women who desire to be creative, expressive and supported in their writing efforts. Like many a rock n’ roll hero before us, we are fortunate and truly blessed to have such an accomplished author and transcendent spirit as Miss Pamela, graciously inspiring the muse in all of us.
— Kelly Phillips, Portland, OR
Inspiring! Uncover your potential!
If you are looking for a creative, nurturing group environment where you can uncover your potential and grow, this is the one for you. … You can open your vision, write about your innermost secrets, and focus on the process as opposed to the end product, all in a non-judgmental environment with women from all walks of life. … Now that’s inspiring!
— Geri Miller, Los Angeles, CA
What Your 5 Senses Can Expect from a Ms. Pamela Writing Class…
Sight: You will be sitting in a circle with 5-10 of the most diverse and interesting future best friends that you will ever have!
Hearing: You will hear your future friends share their interesting, hysterical, amazingly true-life stories, and will share your own stories under the guidance of Ms. Pamela.
Touch: You will be seated upon leopard goodness and all chairs in class are fluffy and welcoming.
Smell: Everyone at writing class smells good. In addition there are the sweet delicious smells of food.
Taste: Last but not least there are snacks!!! You can feast upon gourmet Whole Foods Popcorn, Hummus, Lemon Bars, gluten free goodies, fermented grape libations and more!
In summation, writing class is groupie therapy for your soul.
— Brandy Batz, Los Angeles, CA
Courage and priceless relationships!
Through Miss Pamela’s writing workshop, I’ve not only met some of my dearest friends, I’ve gained the courage to write. When I first signed up for class, I had rarely written for recreation, let alone professionally. Having been in class for two years now, I’m much more confident and willing to take risks. I’ve been a guest columnist in The Daily Journal of Commerce twice and now write regularly on my own blog pdxpenny.com. I guarantee I wouldn’t have progressed this much without the encouragement of Pamela and my fellow classmates.
The relationships I’ve built in her class are priceless. Each writer is so unique and brings their own style to the group. The bond between all of us grows fast and strong. These are women you’ll know and love for many years.
— Penny Williams, Portland, OR
Deep connections in a warm, welcoming environment
After years of girlcrushing on Pamela Des Barres via her fantastic books, I jumped at the chance to join her all-Doll writing workshop. Whereas most writing groups focus on critiquing each other’s work on a technical level, we gather to share life experiences with each other. It’s a warm, welcoming environment with, as Pamela says, no judgments, no qualifications, and no apologies. There’s a deep connection created in her workshops that is unique and incredibly special. It’s come to be known as “Groupie Therapy” to those of us who are fortunate enough to sit in that circle, with Pamela’s radiance just illuminating us all. I wish I could take classes more often than every six months.
— Tara Dublin, Portland, OR