fullscreen background
Skip to main content

Summer Quarter

Summer Quarter Underway
Late-Start Classes
Still Available
shopping cart icon0

Courses

« Back to Creative Writing

CNF 122 W — Creative Nonfiction: Finding the Universal in the Particular

Quarter: Summer
Course Format: Online (System Requirements)
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Jun 25—Aug 31
Drop Deadline: Jun 28
Units: 3
Tuition: $880
Instructor(s): Rachel Howard
Limit: 17
Status: Closed
Please Note: Online courses have a new refund policy. The full tuition refund deadline for this course is 6/28 at 5:00 pm (PT); 50% tuition refund deadline is 7/3 at 5:00 pm (PT).
Summer
Date(s)
Jun 25—Aug 31
10 weeks
Drop By
Jun 28
3 Units
Fees
$880
Instructor(s):
Rachel Howard
Limit
17
Closed
Please Note: Online courses have a new refund policy. The full tuition refund deadline for this course is 6/28 at 5:00 pm (PT); 50% tuition refund deadline is 7/3 at 5:00 pm (PT).
Whether you would like to write memoir, essay, or first-person reportage, all creative nonfiction is rooted in a daily habit of noticing the “beloved particulars,” then digging inward to discover how those particulars can evoke what we might risk calling “the universal”—archetypal experience that almost any reader can relate to. In this welcoming, highly exploratory course, we will play with nonfiction forms ranging from the lyric to the narrative. Voice, point of view, structure, form—all of the essential, recurring terms of the writing life will be introduced as we discuss works by such writers as Stuart Dybek, Grace Paley, Joan Didion, and Katha Pollitt, and post short weekly assignments for feedback. Each student will also draft and workshop a longer piece of writing. But just as importantly, we will practice really seeing, being open and receptive, “sneaking under the fence of interpretation,” as Deborah Eisenberg calls it, and dropping defenses (especially the defenses we hide from ourselves) to find truths that can show us the transcendent in the particular. After all, as Flannery O’Connor wrote, “Wouldn’t it be better for you to discover a meaning in what you write than to impose one? Nothing you write will lack meaning because the meaning is in you.”

Rachel Howard, Author

Rachel Howard is the author of a memoir about her father’s unsolved murder, The Lost Night , and her first novel is forthcoming in Spring 2019. Her personal essays have appeared in Gulf Coast, Waxwing, The Arroyo Literary Review, O, The Oprah Magazine, Berfrois, Canteen, The New York Times “Draft” series, and elsewhere. She received an MFA in fiction from Warren Wilson College, and later served there as interim director of undergraduate creative writing. She has also taught in the MFA program of Saint Mary’s College.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) Alice LaPlante, The Making of a Story (ISBN 0393337081)
(Required) Judith Kitchen, Editor, Short Takes: Brief Encounters with Contemporary Nonfiction (ISBN 0393326004)
DOWNLOAD THE PRELIMINARY SYLLABUS » (subject to change)