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This activity deepens our observation skills, challenges our imagination, and stimulates delight. Participants will be given a list of items to find around their homes within a time limit. When we reconvene with our found objects, we will incorporate them in a variety of writing genres.
Writing the Other: Authentic Inclusivity
Good writing draws us into the experiences of another. But what if the writing jolts the reader out of the narrative, making them feel othered instead? Through examples, we explore blind spots that alienate readers—with stereotypes and irrelevant references to ethnicity. We will then explore techniques to create, instead, authentic inclusivity in fiction and nonfiction writing, to draw and maintain a wider audience.
Play is an integral part of the creative process that often gets sidelined for the more ‘important’ tasks associated writing. Referencing a strong body of research that details the role of play in adult emotional, physical, mental, relational wellbeing, we will play and reflect on play to understand why play needs to become part of our writing routine and how to integrate it. Participants will discover how play can nourish them personally as well as invigorate their imagination. Participants will leave with a ‘playlist’ of easily accessible activities as well as inspiration from in-session writing to inform their work.
Props as prompts
Like the play workshop, participants will interact with different art mediums (which I'll bring) to inspire writing based on provided themes. The intention is to loosen up and widen one's inspirational faculty. Part of the workshop will be creating art in another medium and another part will be responding to art of different mediums through writing.
Point of View: A Constellation of Self
Launching from a children’s book, we'll consider the perspectives surrounding an occurrence and then write a scene from myriad perspectives. Through this, we will discover where our point of view comes from, which perspectives come easily, where our blind spots are, how our perceptions inform our narrative as well as the readers’ experience. We will then practice techniques to help us see from another point of view.
We will focus on dreams as writing material. Participants come to the workshop with a dream we’ll explore through these writing prompts: what are you afraid the dream is telling you and what do you desire the dream to tell you? Then, emanating from the premise that each character in the dream is a facet of the dreamer, participants would rewrite their dreams from the different personas that showed up. Based on these exercises, participants can write an 'ending' to the dream, thereby writing a dream story in the workshop.
So much of how we live in modernity keeps us disembodied. This workshop is designed to remind us that we are embodied beings and our writing typically orbits around our experiences in and with other bodies, human and non. Through a brief guided meditation, participants will imagine themselves as a body part of their choosing. Then we will create a 'day in the life' piece of writing from the perspective of that body part. In so doing, we will deepen our attention to detail and extend our sensory imagination, enriching our own writing practice.
The Male Gaze
Applying the Bechdel-Wallace test to the literary arts, we will explore the following questions: who writes the stories, who is missing from or constrained within them, who benefits from the narratives, and finally, what and where are the other stories? Launching from this critique, we will consider the ways in which the female is imagined through the ubiquitous but limited male gaze thereby shaping (and limiting) the imagination. Through writing exercises, we will then expand our imaginative range through the female gaze.
The Female Gaze
As in all art forms, women and those who identify as female are consistently underrepresented in the literary arts. The stories of men are often touted as universal stories; but are they really? Indeed they are viewed as such because female characters are crafted to uphold and support the male drama. In this workshop we will reimagine literary classics from a female-centric perspective, flipping the script to foreground female experiences, center female voices.
The imagination at play is emancipatory medicine through which we create community: with ourselves, each other and Earth.
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