University of Iowa

The Art of Unbalance: Using Disequilibrium and Vulnerability to Deepen Your Writing

Weekend July 13 to July 14 2019

For many of us, the challenge is not getting to the writing desk but knowing what to do with ourselves once we’re there. What does it mean to develop a writing practice? How do we create momentum from where we are right now?


What if destabilizing ourselves as writers could move us forward in our work, if experimentation and play catapulted us into our best writing? As a classically trained violinist, I spent years looking for the “correct” way, endlessly seeking the most efficient path, setting myself upright if I began to wobble. The truth of the matter is that all of us—writers, artists, musicians—enter into the creative process from a place of instability. Our objective should not be to straighten up and fly right, but to embrace that physics and allow our work into it.


In this class, we won’t try to fix what isn’t broken. We’ll hold our vulnerability and begin creating from where we are. We’ll give ourselves permission to commence, no matter how fragile the surface under our feet feels. Together, we will enter and engage with the work as it begins to speak to us, and we’ll allow ourselves to follow that uncertainty and see where it takes us. Each session will include in-class generative exercises: playful explorations of Surrealist and experimental prompts, collaborative techniques, and a dive into the ekphrastic as we turn to works of art—both visual and musical—for inspiration. This workshop is open to prose writers of all levels.


In this workshop we will generate new writing through guided exercises and prompts.


Hybrid Forms