Upcoming classes: Creativity
WEDNESDAYS, JUL. 28 — AUG. 18 | When we think about traditional “nature writing,” poems and essays about getting lost in “pristine wilderness” and survival stories of (mostly White) rugged adventurers may come to mind. In this course, we’ll use nature writing from Black, Indigenous, Immigrant, Queer and other writers of color to explore how we can write about nature and the outdoors in ways that also considers issues like ancestry, colonization, racial justice, migration trauma, sexuality, and more.
In our time together, students will read work from authors like Audre Lorde, Kiese Laymon, Natalie Diaz, Sabrina Imbler, Marta Valdés, George Abraham, Robin Kimmerer, and many others to help expand their idea of what nature and outdoor writing can look like. We’ll use this work as inspiration and an entry way for creating and eventually sharing our own nature and outdoor writing with the group. By the end of the course, students will have at least one piece of nature writing (of any genre) to present to the class. …
TUESDAYS, AUG. 3 — SEP. 14 | Get a jump on the college essay process before school starts and homework overwhelms! In this workshop, students will write at least one main college essay. In the process, they will learn essay-writing tools such as how to choose topics, write a compelling hook and introduction, develop ideas through personal anecdotes and observations, and reflect on their experiences to create powerful conclusions. Even though these essays are memoir-type nonfiction, they use many of the same tools that make fictional stories come alive.
Cheerleading, snake-charming, handholding, and tear-wiping – how do you get your teen to write those dreaded college essays? And WHY is it so dreaded? First, kids are expected to do a type of writing with which they have little to no academic experience. Then, suddenly, their whole life is on the line if they don’t tell the greatest story ever told – in which they are the star! On top of that, they need to reflect on What It All Means and How They Are Forever Changed. Yikes!
WEDNESDAYS, AUG. 4 — SEP. 8 | What happens when we approach writing like an experiment? Our minds are open, our writing is deep, and there is no room for writers’ block or cliché ideas. Burroughs used cut-up writing, Anaïs Nin made her diary her art, the surrealists played party games, and now novels are being written in Tweets and texts. Each week we will explore different experimental styles from surrealism to postmodernism to hybrid writing, and do exercises to loosen our minds and push us in new directions with our writing.
Make some time for your writing as you emerge from quarantine. Join Grotto member Lyzette Wanzer for an evening of writing designed to shift focus and open a vein of creative energy to keep you writing during this time. We’ll have prompts, accountability, and—if you choose—sharing. Finish a story you’ve started or free-write your way to something new. Find inspiration and energy writing in virtual community!
Choose one or more of the sessions below. Write-ins are held every Friday from 5:30 to 7:30pm.
All write-ins are held via Zoom. Registered students, please contact the instructor directly for Zoom login information.
MONDAYS, SEPT. 13th – OCT. 4th | Data sounds dull, but when used in an argument, an opinion, an analysis, a criticism, or as part of guerrilla journalism it becomes the engine that propels the story. Data informs the argument, lends credibility, and invites engagement. Persuade decision-makers using the “And-But-Then” narrative.
In this four-week workshop for beginning to mid-level journalists, we will discuss where to find data to support stories, how to analyze and interrogate the data we find, and how to use the And-But-Then argument to tell a persuasive story.
TUESDAYS, SEPT. 14th — OCT. 12th | Revisit perception and perspective in a guided reading of Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse. First published in 1927, Woolf’s fifth novel is not only one of the most important works of early-20th-century Modernist literature, but also a deeply affecting portrait of a woman and a family beset by the forces of the modern world. Over the course of five weeks, we’ll read this masterpiece together, and explore its sitting rooms and hidden byways in search of not just lessons we might use in our own lives as readers and writers of literature, but new ways of perceiving (for it is nothing if not a novel of perception) the world around us and ourselves.
SATURDAYS, SEPT. 18th – OCT. 30th | When you were a kid, you were probably obsessed with the hero of a book. You loved that book because it was hilarious, or thrilling, or made you feel as though you weren’t a weirdo living on the wrong planet. Maybe it taught you things you didn’t realize were possible. Maybe it even helped you survive. In this class, we will focus on learning the essentials of writing for children: memorable characters, unique voice, strong plot, deep emotion, and a big idea.
This workshop is best for beginners/intermediate writers OR artists who want to add text to their illustrations.
THURSDAYS, OCT 7th – 21st | Living in times marked by relentless and intersecting crises, the serious writer must ask, “Where is the literature that responds to this astonishing moment?” Our goal for this class is to answer the question by crafting our own, by writing crisis. This introduction to the art of writing the prose of crisis—memoir, journalism, different genres of fiction and science fiction—(and poetry if there’s interest) will begin by looking at the crisis in literature that has created the vacuum that we will fill with our own work, including one piece we will polish in the course of our sessions.
WEDNESDAYS, OCT. 27th — DEC. 1st | There is a magic and mystery in the process of writing, but sometimes we lose that feeling when we write for a living or have an idea of writing as only a finished project. In this generative writing class we will use tarot, dreamwork, astrology, automatic writing and hypnosis to generate new ideas and spark our creative minds.
THURSDAYS, OCT. 28th & NOV. 4th | Do you have an essay draft that’s almost there, or one that keeps getting rejected that could use some expert feedback? Need a supportive group to nudge you over the finish line and actually send your work out? This personal essay “clinic” will help you finetune your draft for submission and identify potential outlets for publication.