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The Particular Beauty of our Pared Down Lives

Online Generative Workshop with Pam Houston

July 13, 14, 15 & 16, 2020 | 9:00am - 11:00am PST

July 14 & 15, 2020 | 5:00pm - 6:00pm PST

Cost: $600 (limited to15 participants)

Stories begin in the physical stuff of our lives, the nouns that surround us and fill our days. The way my favorite dog sleeps with all four paws in the air, the rocky mountain bluebird that comes and perches on the small spruce tree outside my bedroom window at 7am sharp each morning, the $20.00 essential oil diffuser I bought on a whim late last year that has, in these times, become one of favorite things. These times are extraordinary and along with all the uncertainty and sadness in our pared down lives, we might also be learning we might need fewer choices than we thought we did, we might be reacquainting ourselves with the forgotten things around the house or around our block or on the local hiking trails that once upon a time made us so happy. We might be seeing beauty in things we never had the time to notice before. Or there might be objects of menace here too, that we suddenly can’t run from. Those are portals into stories too. 

 

Every artist, (even one who is inspired, as I am, by strange and far flung landscapes) understands there is great value in being still, in being given an assignment not of one’s choosing, in looking at familiar objects in new ways. In this class we will begin, as I always begin, with glimmers, the objects around you, the sights, sounds, tastes, smells that make you stop, do a double take, that vibrate inside you with resonance….hmmm, your writer’s soul says when you are in the presence of a glimmer, that chunk of the exterior world is going to help you access something in your interior landscape. Once we have revealed ourselves via the physical stuff of our lives, we will also talk nuts and bolts of story making: point of view, tense, dialogue, scene, structure, beginnings and endings and why they weigh so much, and narrative arc. 

 

Each morning, Monday through Thursday, we will come together on Zoom and talk about one aspect of storytelling, and then I will send you out into your world however big or small that is, with a writing assignment to accomplish before we meet again. On Tuesday and Wednesday evening, we will come together to share what we have written, and perhaps have a final reading on Thursday afternoon. You ought to leave the class with good solid starts of several stories. 

Pam Houston is the author of the memoir, Deep Creek: Finding Hope In The High Country, as well as two novels, Contents May Have Shifted and Sight Hound, two collections of short stories, Cowboys Are My Weakness and Waltzing the Cat, and a collection of essays, A Little More About Me, all published by W.W. Norton. Her stories have been selected for volumes of The O. Henry Awards, The Pushcart Prize, Best American Travel Writing, and Best American Short Stories of the Century among other anthologies. She is the winner of the Western States Book Award, the WILLA Award for contemporary fiction, the Evil Companions Literary Award and several teaching awards.  She teaches in the Low Rez MFA program at the Institute of American Indian Arts, is Professor of English at UC Davis, and co-founder and creative director of the literary nonprofit Writing By Writers, which puts on between seven and ten writers gatherings per year in places as diverse as Boulder, Colorado, Tomales Bay, California and Chamonix, France. She lives at 9,000 feet above sea level on a 120-acre homestead near the headwaters of the Rio Grande. A book of letters between Pam and environmental activist Amy Irvine will be published by Torrey House Press in October of 2020.

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Waitlist Only

The Particular Beauty of our Pared Down Lives

Online Generative Workshop with Pam Houston

July 27, 28, 29 & 30, 2020 | 9:00am - 11:00am PST

July 28 & 29, 2020 | 5:00pm - 6:00pm PST

Cost: $600 (limited to15 participants)

Stories begin in the physical stuff of our lives, the nouns that surround us and fill our days. The way my favorite dog sleeps with all four paws in the air, the rocky mountain bluebird that comes and perches on the small spruce tree outside my bedroom window at 7am sharp each morning, the $20.00 essential oil diffuser I bought on a whim late last year that has, in these times, become one of favorite things. These times are extraordinary and along with all the uncertainty and sadness in our pared down lives, we might also be learning we might need fewer choices than we thought we did, we might be reacquainting ourselves with the forgotten things around the house or around our block or on the local hiking trails that once upon a time made us so happy. We might be seeing beauty in things we never had the time to notice before. Or there might be objects of menace here too, that we suddenly can’t run from. Those are portals into stories too. 

 

Every artist, (even one who is inspired, as I am, by strange and far flung landscapes) understands there is great value in being still, in being given an assignment not of one’s choosing, in looking at familiar objects in new ways. In this class we will begin, as I always begin, with glimmers, the objects around you, the sights, sounds, tastes, smells that make you stop, do a double take, that vibrate inside you with resonance….hmmm, your writer’s soul says when you are in the presence of a glimmer, that chunk of the exterior world is going to help you access something in your interior landscape. Once we have revealed ourselves via the physical stuff of our lives, we will also talk nuts and bolts of story making: point of view, tense, dialogue, scene, structure, beginnings and endings and why they weigh so much, and narrative arc. 

 

Each morning, Monday through Thursday, we will come together on Zoom and talk about one aspect of storytelling, and then I will send you out into your world however big or small that is, with a writing assignment to accomplish before we meet again. On Tuesday and Wednesday evening, we will come together to share what we have written, and perhaps have a final reading on Thursday afternoon. You ought to leave the class with good solid starts of several stories. 

Pam Houston is the author of the memoir, Deep Creek: Finding Hope In The High Country, as well as two novels, Contents May Have Shifted and Sight Hound, two collections of short stories, Cowboys Are My Weakness and Waltzing the Cat, and a collection of essays, A Little More About Me, all published by W.W. Norton. Her stories have been selected for volumes of The O. Henry Awards, The Pushcart Prize, Best American Travel Writing, and Best American Short Stories of the Century among other anthologies. She is the winner of the Western States Book Award, the WILLA Award for contemporary fiction, the Evil Companions Literary Award and several teaching awards.  She teaches in the Low Rez MFA program at the Institute of American Indian Arts, is Professor of English at UC Davis, and co-founder and creative director of the literary nonprofit Writing By Writers, which puts on between seven and ten writers gatherings per year in places as diverse as Boulder, Colorado, Tomales Bay, California and Chamonix, France. She lives at 9,000 feet above sea level on a 120-acre homestead near the headwaters of the Rio Grande. A book of letters between Pam and environmental activist Amy Irvine will be published by Torrey House Press in October of 2020.

Application Details

The Online Generative Workshop with Pam Houston is open to all levels of writer. The workshop is limited to 15 participants who will be accepted on a rolling basis. This workshop will be offered online over Zoom.

Cancellation Policy:  If you cancel by July 1, 2020, your tuition will be refunded minus a $150 cancellation fee. Refunds for cancellations made after July 1st are contingent upon filling your place and will be made only if your place is filled. In the unlikely event that we must cancel a workshop and you do not wish to transfer to another workshop, you will receive a full refund.

Our Mission

To create a rigorous and compassionate environment to learn the art of reading and writing from accomplished authors.

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PO Box 1271

Los Altos, CA 94023

info@writingxwriters.org