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

Quarter: Summer
Course Format: Online (System Requirements)
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Jun 24—Aug 30
Drop Deadline: Jun 27
Units: 3
Tuition: $895
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 June 27 at 5:00 pm (PT); 50% tuition refund deadline is July 2 at 5:00 pm (PT).
Summer
Date(s)
Jun 24—Aug 30
10 weeks
Drop By
Jun 27
3 Units
Fees
$895
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 June 27 at 5:00 pm (PT); 50% tuition refund deadline is July 2 at 5:00 pm (PT).
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”—an 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 Amy Tan, and post short weekly assignments for feedback. Each student will also draft and workshop a longer piece of writing. We will practice really seeing, being open and receptive (“sneaking under the fence of interpretation,” as Deborah Eisenberg called it) and dropping defenses, especially those 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 a novel, The Risk of Us. Her personal essays have appeared in the Los Angeles Review; Gulf Coast; O, The Oprah Magazine; Berfrois; The New York Times “Draft” series; and elsewhere. She received an MFA in fiction from Warren Wilson College.

Textbooks for this course:

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