Feasting on Form: Noodling around with Experimental Creative Nonfiction
Exploring structural inspiration for sensory writing:
From holiday feasting to grocery shopping, every bite-sized moment is ripe for narrative discovery. What’s in your pantry? What’s not being eaten? The sensory experience of simply squeaking a utensil drawer open can trigger inspiration, but how can we scoop it up?
Constraints foster creativity. Think croissants, croutons, and loaves of challah: they’re all flour. Like a baker’s set of cake pans, here we’ll explore creative inspiration in the menu and the mess, and serve it up by way of experimental, hybrid, lyric essay.
4-WEEK WRITING COURSE
- Discover creative inspiration within the common minutia and fodder of everyday life.
- Study and discuss the ways in which the assigned short pieces utilize found forms.
- Explore structural constraints to generate new material with imagery and other sensory detail.
- Write and revise short pieces of creative nonfiction that incorporate structure concepts inspired by the work we’ve read in class.
- Connect with other writers by reading their work and offering feedback.
This course is a 4-week exploratory, generative writing course. Each week we will read short non-traditional essays inspired by found forms, generate three first drafts of new writing inspired by the form, and enjoy lively discussion in our classroom forum about the assigned readings and each other’s original drafts. The syllabus provides prompts to get the discussion going—but students are encouraged to come up with their own questions and food for thought.
WHAT THIS CLASS WILL OFFER
Week 1: Menu
We will begin with a brief tutorial on lyric essay and read the first short non-traditional piece. We will discuss the use of structure, and draft an original piece inspired by this form, due by Monday of Week 2.
Week 2: Recipe
In Week 2, we will read each other’s Week 1: Menu drafts and offer reflective feedback. Additionally, we will read and discuss a new non-traditional piece in a different format, and draft a new original work inspired by this form, due by Monday of Week 3.
Week 3: Feast
As before, in Week 3 we will read each other’s Week 2: Recipe drafts and offer reflective feedback. Additionally, we will read and discuss a new non-traditional piece in a different format, and draft a new original work inspired by this form, due by Monday of Week 4.
Week 4: After Dinner
In this final week, we will read each other’s Week 3: Feast drafts and offer reflective feedback. As before, we will read and discuss a final non-traditional piece in a new format. During the week, there is the option to generate another first draft of new original work inspired by this form or to submit a revision of writing from the Menu, Recipe, and Feast weeks for group discussion and/or instructor feedback.
ABOUT ARIELLE SILVER
Arielle Silver spends half her life hunting words, the rest singing, and baking pies. And though she shivered through many Boston winters, the wind was blowing west, and her last music tour ended at the cliffs above El Matador beach on a night when the Pacific shimmered under a full moon. Since, her original music has been licensed internationally for film and television, and her essays have appeared in Literary Hub, Brevity, Gulf Stream, Moment, Lilith Magazine, and others. She is former editor-in-chief of Lunch Ticket and earned her MFA at Antioch University Los Angeles, where she now teaches in the MFA, BA, and Inspiration2publication programs. She is currently at work on a memoir about (step)mother/ing and a secret project inspired by the creative process. She is the co-creator of Create & Flow Retreats and lives in Los Angeles with her sweet & snarky family. www.ariellesilver.com @relsilver