Fall 2021 Workshops
Sat, Sept 25 1-3pm on Zoom
With Maria Mutch
Sometimes the events of a life can feel less like a typical story and more like a constellation of disparate parts. In this workshop, we’ll explore how to work with this phenomenon and give compelling shape and structure to memoir, investigating variations in structure from the simple to the complex in works by authors such as Rebecca Solnit, Jesmyn Ward, Patti Smith, Helen MacDonald and Carmen Maria Machado. Memoir writers, including cross-genre and hybrid artists, will come away with a variety of organizing techniques and inspiration.
Maria Mutch is the author of Know the Night (a memoir), When We Were Birds (a story collection), and Molly Falls to Earth (a newly released novel), as well as being a GrubStreet writing instructor and certified meditation teacher. Born and raised in Canada, she lives in Rhode Island.
Sat, Oct 16 1-3pm on Zoom
With Kate (@sharksketchbook)
In this workshop we'll explore storytelling through the mini-comic: a simple booklet made from a single folded sheet of paper with three interior spreads. Whether you're working with images or words, the miniature layout can be a generative blank slate for many creative practices, offering a unique opportunity to experiment with sequential storytelling. We’ll ask questions like: How do you break a larger story down to three essential beats? How can you use this three-beat structure to experiment with your own narrative? Discover various uses for mini-comics, from promotional to narrative aids, memoir to icebreaker, and create collaborative comics as a class.
Kate (aka Shark Sketchbook) is a writer, illustrator and designer. A Parsons and RISD grad who works in tech, she runs Providence’s SciFi/Fantasy Writing Group, is prepping several projects for publication, and creates comics and illustrations in her off hours.
Sat, Nov 13 1-3pm on Zoom
With Jessica Metzler
Ekphrastic writing—writing that describes another work of art—has ancient roots, yet remains a popular form for exploring contemporary issues. This generative workshop explores how writing about visual art can help us craft vivid descriptions and engage in social commentary. Using images from online museum collections, we’ll practice close looking skills and use our observations to create poems and short prose pieces. We’ll also look at examples from writers such as Gwendolyn Brooks, Yusef Komunyakaa, Anne Sexton, and Ocean Vuong, and discuss ways to use art as a starting point for developing characters, setting, and narrative.
Jessica Metzler received her PhD and MA in English Language and Literature from Cornell University and holds an MA in English from Florida State University. She has taught writing and literature at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Cornell, and FSU. She is currently a
Senior Associate Director at the Sheridan Center for Teaching and
Learning at Brown Senior Associate Director at the Sheridan Center for Teaching and Learning at Brown University, and serves as the Arts Editor for House Mountain Review.
Sat, Dec 11 1-3pm on Zoom
With Rick Claypool
Imagined worlds in speculative fiction can provide an outlet for the doom scroll of injustices we experience and absorb every day. Stories help us find our way out of collective trauma, revealing the way to better (and worse) worlds. We juxtapose the imagined world with the real and invite comparisons. We force the question: Does it have to be this way? In this workshop, we'll explore activist worldbuilding strategies and the politics of imagined culture, history, and place, with an emphasis on understanding how authors create commentary about the real world through speculative fiction.
Rick Claypool is the author of the post-apocalyptic workplace horror novella The Mold Farmer (Six Gallery Press, 2020) and the dystopian absurdist superhero novel Leech Girl Lives (Spaceboy Books, 2017). His short fiction appears in several online publications and anthologies. He
has a master’s degree in Popular Culture Studies from Bowling Green
State University. By day he writes corporate accountability reports that have been covered by NPR, the Associated Press, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and numerous media outlets for Public Citizen, a consumer advocacy group founded by Ralph Nader. Rick is also an audio columnist for the speculative fiction podcast If This Goes On (Don't Panic). He lives in Rhode Island. Find him online at rickclaypool.org and on Twitter at @weirdstrug.