There’s more to life than meets the eye. In this eight-class alternate-week fully online course, we will explore how the internal landscape of thoughts, hopes, dreams, fears, regrets, fantasies and what-ifs impacts the way we see the world, what we hold as “truth,” and how we tell our stories to one another and to ourselves. As much as we like to believe there is one REAL we all adhere to, anyone observing the world today has realized we can only ever view an object through the lens of our own eyes. Instead of fighting subjectivity, this class will welcome and befriend how specific and speculative we each are on a daily basis. In acknowledging our biases, our myths, our particular frameworks for making meaning in the world, we will actually become able to articulate a truer version of our experience than we ever could by pretending there was just one objective and infallible way the proverbial cookie crumbled. This class is both a supportive opportunity to move from poetry or fiction into creative nonfiction, and away for commited CNF writers to deepen their craft and expand their toolbox for essays to come. Generative prompts, targeted writing exercises and our essays-in-progress will form the core of this class, but we will also complement our writing by reading widely. Expect to encounter work by Nicole Walker, Lina Ferriera, Frank McCourt, Lia Purpura, Claudia Rankine, and others, along with an array of critical insights (“craft essays”) to help us articulate how these pieces (and our own) are working. This course is geared towards writers prepared to share a 3-10 page Creative Non Fiction Essay within four weeks of the course’s start date (I will help you get there if you’re still staring down the blank page.) Both returning writers and first time workshoppers are invited to join, as we will also go over Creative Non Fiction workshop best practices, genre conceptions and feedback guidelines in this class.
Cait Weiss Orcutt’s work has appeared in Boston Review, Chautauqua, FIELD, and others. Her manuscript VALLEYSPEAK (Zone 3, 2017) won Zone 3 Press’ 2016 First Book Award, judged by Douglas Kearney. Cait has an MFA from The Ohio State and is pursuing her Ph.D. in Poetry at the University of Houston.