Grackle image by artist Christy Stallop.
Mary Oliver’s poem “When Death Comes” concludes: “I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.” Writers of all genres and experience levels are welcome in this eight-week fully online workshop-based course in which we will approach writing as a way of being in the world, exploring such questions as, how can writing prose make us better human beings? Why do certain stories “speak” to us? How can our work speak back? We’ll look at writing by writers we consider “favorites” to use as models and inspiration and to further hone what we value about our own voices and the stories we want to tell. Whether you’re working on fiction, nonfiction, or something in between, we’ll experiment with taking our narratives down unexpected avenues in writing exercises inspired by the work of Flannery O’Connor, David Shields, Stephen King, Alice Walker, Mark Vonnegut, Julia Cameron, Matthew Salesses, Aimee Bender and others. Writers will share a 10-20 page prose piece–an excerpt of ongoing work or work generated from our exercises–within two weeks of the start of the course for a workshop discussion of how the piece can best achieve the writer’s vision for their work.
Sara C. Rolater is a graduate of Rice University and received her MFA in fiction at the University of Houston, where she served as an assistant editor in fiction for Gulf Coast and where she has taught composition and creative writing for the past seven years. She has also taught for Inprint and Writespace, and has been a fellow at the Writing Immersion Retreat in Bali and at the Byrdcliffe Artist in Residence program in Woodstock, New York. Her work has appeared in Ghost Town and Gulf Coast. This is her fifth year as a creative-writing consultant at the Kinder High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, where she’s taught introductory and advanced fiction, creative nonfiction, journalism, and textual collage. She also runs The PVA Creative Writing Reviewblog, where she and her students dissect different pieces of writing.