Hosted by: Rachel Basch and Baron Wormser.
Cost: $425 (includes lunch both days). Space limited to six participants.
Register: Contact Rachel.
Writing to prompts from literature connects us to our imaginations in ways that are at once identifiable and uncanny. In the generative workshops we've taught, we've witnessed how writers are granted access to previously hidden sources of their own creativity. At the same time, we've come to recognize that there is a real hunger for substantive, penetrating discussions of literature, both classic and contemporary. Deep reading can lead to truly surprising creative writing. And in these two days, we plan to read, respond and, above all, create.
Prior to the weekend, we will select two short stories by Anton Chekhov and two pieces of fiction by Alice McDermott for you to read. Saturday will be devoted to Chekhov and Sunday to McDermott. The first morning we’ll begin by engaging in a thorough discussion of one Chekhov story. Our examination will focus on the elements at work in the creation of the experience of the story — point of view, characterization, dialogue, language. When we’ve wrung what we can from the piece, you’ll be given a short passage from the story as a writing prompt. The next hour will be for writing, for responding to that prompt in whatever way moves you.
There are a number of rooms in Rachel’s house to which writers can retreat to work in privacy and quiet. After about an hour, we’ll gather again and share what we’ve written or simply share the effect of the prompt on the writing process. Then we’ll break for lunch, which Rachel will provide. In the afternoon we’ll discuss the second story by Chekhov, after which another passage will be picked for the second prompt of the day. Everyone will spread out, write and then reconvene and share. On Sunday we will do the very same thing with the work we’ve chosen by Alice McDermott.
“The task,” as Stanley Kunitz has written, “is to get through to the other side, where we can hear the deep rhythms that connect us with the stars and the tides.” The weekend is open to anyone interested in making that connection. The workshop revolves around trust: trusting us as teachers and trusting yourself to respond to what occurs in the moment. We think responsiveness is a great gift. It is a hallmark of our being alive.
Please feel free to contact Rachel if you have any questions. We’re more than happy to share our experiences with this generative process, with the way in which an intimate encounter with art can pave the way to the making of art.