In this session Greg Howard leads workshop on Writing-as-Collection, which will include reading from his work and strategies for writing-as-collection, with bonus exercises to complete before and during.
Gregory Howard teaches creative writing, contemporary literature, and film studies at the University of Maine. His first novel Hospice has just been released by FC2. He lives in Bangor, Maine with his wife and cats.
(& be sure to check out Dennis Cooper’s tribute to Hospice here: http://goo.gl/G5zFTe)
~to complete before~
Spend a part of your day or week collecting objects. For our purposes here, let’s define objects broadly–not just literal objects like things you find on the street, in your room, in a friends room, but also perceptions, memories, ideas, sentences or lines from work. Basically collect anything that fascinates you are captures your fancy.
Now make a list. Be specific in your list. The fabric of your language is important here. Don’t just write “the photograph.” Write instead: “the photograph of the vacation in which the girl, who wearing a green one-piece swimsuit with golden fish on it, looks bored while being entertained by a street magician who looks malevolent and possibly drunk.” In other words, describe your objects well.
Write a short narrative based around your list (250 words). Use the actual language of your list.
~to be done during~
While I’m talking make a new list. What words or ideas strike you while I’m talking? What suddenly looks new or strange in the place that you are in? Look at your new list of objects. Why are they interesting? Why are they important? Who might find them fascinating? Write this story by connecting it to your previous narrative, the one you thought you had finished (surprise!), thus creating a newer longer narrative. How can you connect these two? How might they be “read together”? Try to keep the surprising and fragmentary nature of the pieced going. Don’t smooth things over. (another 100-200 words)