SP QTR 19
Instructor: Gillian Parrish
Start Date: Wed. April 10
Meets: Wednesdays 6:00pm to 10:00pm
Location: HARMON HALL room 250
Class Type: Craft, Workshop, & Literature
Credit Hours: 9
This course will provide material that can help you deepen your fiction characters and/or refine how you render your own life on the page. We will explore ways that the mind and senses move through the world and world on the page, and how characters are formed by encounters with others, objects, obstacles and events, glimpsing layers of past days that often shape our lives or our characters’ lives in the present.
Developed with fiction and creative-nonfiction writers in mind, this cluster will include a range of works selected to expand our range of formal possibilities and hone our eyes and ears as writers. We’ll read work by Neil Gaiman, bell hooks, Jane Yolen, Julie Otsuka, Tim O’Brien, Ann Carson, and others. The course will also integrate chapters from two innovative historical fiction authors who will visit us in June for one of our MFA Craft Talks.
Come ready to write in any genre you wish, whether its a magical realist story, historical fiction, sci-fi, a crime novel, or a memoir…or a mashup of all of the above.
Come ready for lively conversations on our readings, which will inspire our own writing as we try out new forms, new frames, new shapes and ways of making life come alive the page.
Our creative work will unfold in an encouraging learning community that will help bring our lives, real and imagined, into clearer focus and finer form.
Contact instructor Gillian Parrish with any questions about the course: email@example.com
Our readings are chosen to expand our choices as writers, introducing us to new possibilities for getting the world on the page. The “First Night Assignment” allows us to dive into lively conversation the first night of class.
-An interview with three authors about “speculative memoir.” Please note that in this, we are being dropped into a conversation, and need not know about the books they reference—please instead read for their insights about writing, about how imaginary elements in memoir help them to tell their stories.
-A section of Ann Carson’s work of fiction, Autobiography of Red, in which she uses a Greek myth to tell the story of a contemporary young person who feels like an outsider. (I will email this to enrolled students.)
-A section of Ann Carson’s work of creative nonfiction, Plainwater, in which she makes a memorial for her brother, sharing a glimpse of his solitude, imagining his mind, unknowable as a cat’s…(I will email this to enrolled students.)
Step 1: The first part of this assignment is a list. In step two you will expand on one of your memories for 1-2 pages.
Be sure to bring a copy to class, as we will share aloud as a way of getting to know each other.
Take a few moments to think back to books that you have loved at various times in your life.
Perhaps jot a list of these beloved books (and maybe the age you were then, if that helps bring the scene to life for you). Make note of a place you remember reading the book.
Example of this list:
-Reading A Wrinkle in Time in the back of the tan station wagon, which smelled like vinyl and apples baking in the sun, feet pressed against the back door, dad yelling to “Look! Look!” pointing frantically at the snow-capped mountains, “Get your nose out of that book! We’ve come all this way—it’s the damned Alps! It’s the damned Alps! It's the Alps!”
-Reading Catch-22 in my car in the high-school parking lot, the old car smelling like cigarette ash and spilled coffee, wanting to stay out there all day, reading.
-Reading Whitman for the first time in a small park after a long illness, a June day, kids playing basketball, the ring of the hoop, dandelions in the grass, cicadas singing.
Describe that moment in that place, vividly bringing to life that scene of you there reading that book—the sensations, the textures, the smells, the colors, the angles of light, the movement of things around you. What was it like to be you then, reading in that setting?
And—keeping us in that moment and scene—deepen the scene by sharing too what it meant to be in that book in that time of your life. How did that book entwine with your life then? How did the book’s world reflect your world with your wants and worries and wishes? Maybe this book was like a light bringing your own life into focus, maybe it was comforting like a good bowl of soup, or like a door or a trapdoor that opened up new worlds. (Find your own metaphor if you would like. Maybe you’ll find an image in the book itself. No pressure on this, just see what comes…)
REQUIRED |By HOOKS
- EDITION: 96
- PUBLISHER: MAC HIGHER
- ISBN: 9780805055122
REQUIRED |By GAIMAN
- EDITION: 16
- PUBLISHER: HARP PUB
- ISBN: 9780062459367