While some writers might aspire to create “timeless” work, you never hear of anyone trying to make their writing “placeless.” Why is that? Without place, are one’s characters and ideas rootless and liable to tip over? What role does setting play beyond mere backdrop or window dressing to ground one’s stories, essays, or memoir? Is place-based writing regional, or communal? Over this intensive weekend, we’ll carefully look at how the rendering of place works to help establish narrative voice, credibility, and point of view. How might the physical choices you’re making on the surface better encompass your subterranean intentions? And in turn, what might locale reveal about your compass and orientation as a writer? Where are your most resonant places in the world? From where should you be writing?
“When we commit to a particular place,” writes Terry Tempest Williams, “a certain element of choice is removed. We are free to dig in, and allow ourselves to be mentored by the life around us. We begin to see the world whole instead of fractured. Long-term strategies replace short-term gains. Routine opens the door to creativity.” Expect a retreat into what makes for depth and sustainability on the page. Day 1 will focus on theory (models and exercises), Day 2 on practice (workshopping). The class welcomes writers of fiction and nonfiction at all levels.
Marc Nieson is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and NYU Film School. His background includes children’s theatre, cattle chores, and a season with a one-ring circus. His memoir, Schoolhouse: Lessons on Love & Landscape was released from Ice Cube Press in 2016. He’s won a Raymond Carver Short Story Award, Pushcart Prize nominations, and been noted in Best American Essays. He teaches at Chatham University, edits fiction for The Fourth River, and is at work on a new novel, Houdini’s Heirs. Learn more about Marc at www.marcnieson.com.