Well, I am thrilled to be teaching with LitReactor! This February, in “A Mile in These Shoes,” we will focus on travel, and using it to evoke insightful, powerful stories that are neither reductive nor colonizing. Please consider attending? And spread the word?
And some personal stuff:
I lost an online teaching gig last year–because the school felt an MFA was not enough to teach college writing. That stung–seriously, that is horribly mistaken. Also, it hurt because it had been a known and familiar job.
I’ve mostly been teaching comp classes, and though I like it, it’s not always by choice. Part of the fun thing about being trans and (as of now–and why they don’t is another story) not having all my identities lined up, is that one must always check to see a school’s policy on gender and legal identity and privacy before even getting around to qualifications.
So, I’ve not been able to take many of the opportunities I would have liked to advance my teaching career. It’s not been bad–I have far more focus on actually producing writing–so I try not to spend too much time thinking about how life would have been in a more trans-accommodating world.
Instead, I am putting on a smile and opening my eyes and heart to other opportunities. ISO places where my MFA and writing and queerness are assets. One step at a time. And this is LitReactor class an important step in that direction. And I have so much I want to share!
On February 6, I will be teaching at Litreactor! 🙂
“A Mile in Whose Shoes? Writing vividly and consciously about your road trips, journeys, and detours that come your way.
Your Instructor: Ryka Aoki
“To travel well is better than to arrive.”—(not) Buddha
The quote might be dubious, but the sentiment is not. If you think about it, to write is to travel. Whether it’s Hemingway in Pamplona or Dante in Hell, travel has helped writers create work to enchant, challenge, and informs generations of readers.
Yet, unlike Chaucer, or even Kerouac, we are now more aware that careless or insensitive narrative can dull the very places and communities that inspired us. Careless writing can reduce one’s surroundings to caricature or mere backdrop. What results is often reductive, derivative, even appropriating.
It is possible to write compelling travel tales while equitably portraying the communities we describe? Of course! Much of the finest writing tends to be unexpectedly transformative—that one begins travel with one set of ideas or beliefs, and leaves with another.
In this four-week workshop, you’ll work with award-winning author Ryka Aoki to create settings and characters develop in ways that surprise, confront, and humanize. You’ll move past “write what you know” to writing your travels within a nuanced process of discovery, connecting the reader to a more authentic narrative, where one is truly surprised and changed.
All skill levels are welcome. 🙂
Sometimes life changes a bit. My web site was tampered with, and I apparently had a very old WordPress version, which made it easy to hack. (There’s a lesson in that, isn’t there?)
So now, due to technical difficulties, I am building the site again from scratch. I am actually feeling pretty Zen about this. These things happen, and I should have been a bit more careful. In the meantime, please stay tuned!