Do you want to go to France this summer and be in a writing workshop taught by Dan Chaon and Lynda Barry? They’ve been working together to develop a way of teaching writing that is a BLAST! Lynda Barry says:
"This class is about a kind of writing you may not know you’re good at. It has a lot in common with making visual art. It’s based on seeing, but it’s the mind’s eye kind. The kind that happens during a flood of memory; unwilled, vivid, easily described. A place you’re suddenly ‘in’.
We’ll use handwriting, simple drawings, unexpected imagery and a specific way of keeping a notebook to help us write both fiction and autobiographical stories and to track and identify the images that keep coming up in our work, a kind of writing that helps notice how and when these images show up in our day-to-day lives, gives us an understanding of our history with them and just where they may be trying to take us.
Becoming accustomed to a kind of spontaneous image-based writing can help us tremendously in writing both autobiography and fiction along with other writing tasks like artist statements, response papers, project descriptions, reports, reviews, etc. All you’ll need is a pen, a composition notebook, a pile of candy, and your two bare hands.”
She also says: “I love LOVE teaching with Dan Chaon. He is a genius writer and a genius teacher.”
This is what I like to do. Find a simple character that keeps showing up in my comp book, one I like drawing and fold a page into 16 chambers and just try to follow what they might do and what might happen next. Twirlita showed up a couple of years ago. All she wants to do is finish one dance without being interrupted. Will it ever happen?
Here is the homework page I handed out on Wednesday. Remember that the manuscript pages are actually due Monday, Feb 24th. For Monday, ink in the non-photo blue drawings we did in class from stories we wrote, and the four ‘monster-family’ drawings we did. Bring in your finished ‘Hall of Science” page and the 8 index-card strip mentioned on this page.
This week we’ll be changing up our daily diary to something like a Bingo Game. It’s pretty easy. You trace this grid into your compbook and then look to the world around you and your day as you’ve lived it so far to find
3 things you did
3 things you observed
3 things you overheard
3 things to draw
You can do them in any order, you can do them over the course of your entire day or in a single sitting; at a coffee shop, a classroom or lecture hall, at home, on the bus— any where where there are people around you.
For the drawing part, it’s helpful to look for specific things, such as three round things in the room, or orange things, or hairdos, or switches or styles of backpacks. Anything that will make you look around the place you find yourself in.
I’ll pass out copies of this page tomorrow in class.
This is my own composition notebook homework assignment in progress. Professor Chewbacca reflects on the crayon experience. I’ve inked it and now I’m coloring it in
I like to figure out problems in my composition notebook using drawing and slow writing and non-photo blue pencil to help me with certain problems that defy being approached head on. I’ve found there is something to moving ones hand in a certain way — like a coloring way— while filling in a space and half thinking and half not-thinking about this something you are trying to figure out that invites possible answers to present themselves..
Dearest Students, I’m not able to make it into class today. I live on a little rural road and we are snowed in. But we will still have class! Tune in to thenearsightedmonkey.tumblr.com at our regular class time this afternoon and there will be special videos and exercises ready for you. Looking forward to ‘seeing’ you this afternoon. Sincerely, Professor Chewbacca
For speaking engagements or for workshop teaching requests for Lynda Barry, please contact: Steven Barclay
Steven Barclay Agency
12 Western Avenue
Petaluma, CA 94952
For literary inquiries or permissions contact
Upcoming Lynda Barry Writing workshops :
University of Wisconsin-Madison, first
Saturday of every month, a two-hour workshop, free and open to the public, registration required.
Link to more information: http://wid.wisc.edu/events/workshops-for-educators-with-lynda-barry-writing-the-unthinkable/
The Omega Institute, Rhinebeck New York
Writing the Unthinkable
July 20-25th 2014
Link to more information: http://www.eomega.org/
Chamonix Summer Writing Program, Chamonix, France
May 17 through June 28 2014
Link to more information http://blogs.butler.edu/chamonix/