Grackle image by artist Christy Stallop.
There are few greater glories than creating a piece of fiction that surprises its readers, moves them to tears, to laughter, to heckling—to whatever it is we hoped they’d experience, and maybe even to a few sensations we couldn’t have predicted they’d feel. Variations in Prose helps writers tell the stories they need to — whether it’s one they’ve been wanting to tell a long time, or one that’s itching at the back of their mind, but they just can’t pinpoint. Writers in this class may be in the middle of memoirs, just dreaming up a short story, or trying to find the right prose style to tell their story. It’s an energetic, engaging prose class that names and examines the unique strengths of your fictional or fact-based prose. It will offer guidance to further texturize your work into full, developed stories by exploring the murky and extensive waters of prose – of fiction and non-fiction, and all the places in-between.
Every week we begin writing stories or essays based off unique prompts pulled from the stories we read. Our readings are broad and diverse — for example in the fall, we read works by Nina McConigley, Grace Paley, Gish Jen, Laszlo Krasznahorkai, Ruth Ozeki, Helen Oyeyemi, Steven Dunn, Joy Baglio, and Duamwad Pinwana.
For workshops, fiction, essay, and memoir writers will come together to share projects and perspectives. Since this class boasts a small core of talented regulars, it’s likely that even if you’ve taken three dozen prose classes, the material we read and share will be new, because some students have taken the class for years and I don’t like repeating stories. Best of all, in this class, you receive not only expert instruction from the instructor, but from exceedingly engaged and thoughtful fellow writers. It’s a wonderful class for people looking to create a strong writing community.
Miah Arnold, PhD, is the director of Grackle and Grackle. She has taught creative writing for the past twenty years through Houston non-profits including Inprint, Writers in the Schools, and Aurora Picture Show as well as University of Houston, University of Houston-Downtown, Houston Community College, and Georgia College. Her essay “You Owe Me” about working for M.D. Anderson via Writers in the Schools was selected by Best American Essays in 2012. Her first novel, Sweet Land of Bigamy, was published in 2012.