Whether we write stories, essays, or wonderfully unclassifiable work, how can we define, shape and translate the idea of “reality” onto the page? In this multi-week prose-loving fully online course, we will slip into the speculative as an instrument for Fiction and Creative Non Fiction alike. Considering how much our imagination, hopes, fears, memories, dreams and myths influence our understanding of the world around us, how metaphorically rich the impossible (ghosts, time travel, magic) can be, we’ll read and create work that weaves together the threads of experiences and imaginings that make our lives and the lives of our characters “real.” No matter how distracting your outside life is, you can be guaranteed you’ll be writing new work if you take this class. We will write in class as part of this course, and we will complement our writing with discussions of our own work and work by Nicole Walker, Hanif Abdurraqib, Joan Didion, Carmen Maria Machado, Viet Nguyen, Eula Biss, and Jonathan Lethem. For those newer to prose or simply interested in deepening their craft, we will also encounter an array of critical insights (“craft essays”) to help us articulate how form (whether others’ or our own) is working. This generative course is geared towards writing new work and finding surprising ways to reexamine “failed” drafts. Both published authors and first time workshoppers are invited to join, as we will also go over workshop best practices, genre conceptions and feedback guidelines in this class. “Truth is rarely pure and never simple,” wrote Oscar Wilde. Join a community of writers dedicated to finding fresh possibilities in the everyday realities we inhabit.
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.