When you could choose to describe any of a hundred different details in a scene—the trees, the light, the smell of the old carpet, the sound of the dishwasher—how do you decide what to include and what to leave out? This course will help you write descriptions that are more deliberate: beautiful, but also purposeful; images that give the reader a sense of place while, at the same time, contributing to a larger motif that will imbue your work with deeper meaning. We'll look at examples from other masters of description (Jo Ann Beard, Chris Jones, Barbara Kingsolver) and dissect their choices. Then we'll try this approach ourselves with some in-class writing exercises.
How do we write about our most tragic experiences with levity, or turn simple observations into outrageous comedy? This workshop will explore how to write against your material in creative nonfiction—that is, how to create dissonance between your tone and your subject matter in order to maximize your stories’ emotional impact. We’ll look at scenes from great memoirs and essays that use this counterintuitive tool, including work by Kiese Laymon, Patricia Lockwood, David Sedaris, and Alexandra Fuller. Then we’ll try writing some scenes from our own lives, practicing the art of scaling back our language for the heaviest moments and ramping it up to make a mundane moment hilarious.
Join me on October 11 for the "Telling Your Story" workshop—part of The Porch’s Artober Library Workshops series. We'll spend an hour reading, writing, and discussing personal narrative/creative nonfiction. It's free, but registration is required. Y’all come!
Join local storytellers for an in-gallery performance, exploring themes of identity in Nick Cave's visual art. Positioned throughout the galleries, each storyteller will tell a personal, true story in response to the prompt “I am . . ." Free for Frist members; admission required for non-members.
The theme for October's show will be "Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time." Join us at Douglas Corner Cafe for nine true stories of 20/20 hindsight. This is a free event.