SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 18 | At a time when the words “spiritual” and “faith” (never mind “religion”) can make us all nervous, how can we write—and read—about our beliefs and doubts without coming across as preachy, vague, or insipid? How do we describe the ineffable without sinking into abstraction? And do we embrace questions – doubts, even – without sounding wishy-washy? Just what is spiritual writing anyway?
In this one-day seminar, we’ll explore examples both contemporary and classic — from fiction writers such as Flannery O’Connor, Joy Williams, and Andre Dubus; poets Gerald Manley Hopkins and Pattiann Rogers; essayists Anne Lamott and Brian Doyle. We’ll also identify the spiritual in writers not immediately identified as such, like Raymond Carver. Using the lens of craft—imagery, characterization, point of view, and setting—we’ll look deeper into published pieces as well as student work and to explore the themes and questions raised by narrative.
Using prompts provided by the instructor, students will do several in-class writing exercises designed to foster further development. You will leave the class with a deeper understanding of what spiritual writing means for you and your writing, as well as with handouts and concrete suggestions for moving forward.
Note: We’ll focus on personal experience, not doctrine or denomination. This class is open to anyone grappling with spirituality on the page. Please write the instructor if you have questions.
Lindsey Crittenden‘s essay “The Water Will Hold You” was selected for Best American Spiritual Writing, and became the basis for her memoir by the same name, published in 2007. She is also the author of numerous short stories and personal essays published in the Washington Post, the New York Times, Glimmer Train, Mississippi Review, Image, Real Simple, and elsewhere. www.lindseycrittenden.com
Number of sessions: 1
Time: 10:30 am – 4:30 pm
Date: Saturday, November 18
Course fee: $150