When we talk about hybrid literary genres, what do we mean? This generative workshop will invite participants to climb the branches of genre’s family tree, seeing where hybrids originate and cross-pollinate. We will read and respond to craft essays on and examples of such hybrid forms as the lyric essay, the epistolary, poetic memoir, prose poetry, performative work, short-form nonfiction, flash fiction, and pictures made of words.
David Foster Wallace once noted that, while all writers steal, the best writers are “kleptomaniacs with really good taste.” In this generative workshop, we will engage our own artistic really good taste, looking at ways writers move narrative, build momentum, and create surprise on the page. We will consider the link between pattern and plot, imitating these structures and styles to our own ends. The class will focus largely on generating new material.
Annie Dillard says, “The writer of any work, and particularly any nonfiction work, must decide two crucial points: what to put in and what to leave out.” If you have a nonfiction or memoir project in progress, you probably agree. But you may be asking: how do I decide? I have all this material, but how do I shape it? Where do I begin and end? Which parts do I put in and which parts do I leave out?
In this workshop, we will use principles of meditation to get the most out of our work. Writing with a conscious awareness and an “empty mind” can result in surprising and fresh material. If your writing feels inauthentic, or you are stuck and don’t know how to proceed, learning to let go of your attachment to the outcome can not only be liberating, it can help you see the project to completion. We will use exercises and meditative practices to come up with new work and break through mental roadblocks. This workshop welcomes writers of all genres.