Via a survey of mostly contemporary short fiction and close examination of our own efforts, we’ll discuss voice, structure, plot, pacing, and most especially language. We’ll question our own unique narrative priorities and trouble the waters with regard to the ethical duties of storytelling. We’ll interrogate how we as readers are forced to confront discomfort, judgment, bias, envy, moral complexity, and the limits of self-awareness. We’ll press ourselves to be fully honest with ourselves, our characters, and our readers. We’ll challenge ourselves to look closely at each other’s work and develop a special eye toward celebrating what’s true, even (or especially) when it’s not pretty. We’ll practice mixing up our dark and light palettes, poking fun at what’s most difficult. We’ll play with the shadows and get comfortable with implicating ourselves. We’ll read Deborah Eisenberg, Edith Pearlman, Lucia Berlin, Stacey Richter, David Gates, Lorrie Moore, Chekhov, James Baldwin, Amy Hempel, Junot Diaz, Jhumpa Lahiri, Sandra Cisneros, Paula Bomer, and more.
Corequisites: Students are required to attend literature evenings on Wednesday nights.