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Multi-Media Cross-Genre Exploratory Writing Workshop

Naomi Kimbell

MUSIC, TRUTH, AND THE TOWNS INSIDE US: A Cross-Genre Exploratory Workshop by Naomi Kimbell

START DATE: Monday, April 29, 2019

END DATE: Sunday, May 26, 2019

DURATION:  4 weeks

COURSE DESCRIPTION: This class is a cross-genre workshop inspired by Richard Hugo’s book on writing, The Triggering Town: Lectures and Essays on Poetry and Writing, which will guide the course content. Students will engage in experimental writing using a variety of prompts, as well as work with writing they’ve already written, applying the principles in the book. This is a multi-media class that includes music and film. The goal of the course is creative exploration, deepening our skills as writers, staying attuned to the music in our words, exploring the difference between facts and truth, and developing the real and fictional places within us that feed our work.

Naomi’s class is one of the most inspiring classes I’ve ever taken! I’ve never been a flowery writer, and often focused more on meaning, rather than sentence structure and word choice. Writing a lyric essay is something I’ve always dreamed of, but I didn’t really understand the concept until I took her class, “Music, Truth, and the Towns Inside Us: A Cross-Genre Exploratory Workshop.” It literally changed my life! I now understand how to edit sentences and words down to syllables and consonants to make my prose sing. She created a vibrant learning atmosphere, full of rooms, prompts, videos, and discussion. I usually like to write in silence, but our first assignment was writing to music she selected. The words that flowed from my pen amazed me, and that was due to Naomi’s instruction and safe learning environment. My classmates’ work was extremely impressive, and we had so much fun providing feedback on each other’s essays, poems, fiction, and free-writes. Naomi’s insight into the book we were reading, The Triggering Town, along with her thought-provoking discussion and encouraging feedback made this class exceptional. I’d love to take every class she offers. Her teaching style is compassionate and knowledgeable, and her suggestions for use of language are detailed and eye opening. Taking her class helped me look at the world with wonder. In the past my writing has been described as flat and reporterly. Well, never again. Now I want to go back and revise all my essays for sound. I know Naomi’s class has made me a better writer, and I can’t thank her enough! ~ Angela M. (previous WOW class participant)

Many thanks to Naomi Kimbell for dreaming up the “Music, Truth, and the Towns Inside Us” class I just took. I loved it. I’d read Richard Hugo’s Triggering Town years ago, but I must confess I didn’t completely understand the nuances of all that he was saying. It was a pleasure to be invited to participate in a thoughtful discussion. Naomi not only knows how to write, but also how to guide. I felt like she provided a safe space to experiment and submit my work for review and comments. She was prepared and available throughout the course. I would absolutely take more classes with Naomi. ~ Victoria Melekian (previous WOW class participant)

I was initially drawn to work with Naomi Kimbell after reading her honest, innovative writing. Naomi brings an incredible depth of living with her whole heart and mind to her work and teaching. Her passion, curiosity and extensive knowledge of the craft of writing is inspiring. In her writing course she shared diverse and stimulating prompts that included still photographs, different forms, and the writing of authors which opened new spaces inside me and helped deepen the texture and dimension of my poetry. Naomi has a gift for encouraging people to express their unique voice. She listens and communicates with keen intelligence and deep compassion. I appreciate the way she weaves together her sense of humor, new perspectives, great questions and her practical and diligent work ethic. Naomi is an engaging and motivating teacher. ~ Youpa Stein

Naomi seeks a straightforwardness that does not embellish, but, rather, gets to essences—essential ideas, the essence of a story, the deep impulses that drive us to act as we do...she’s a writer of exceptional talent—one of the few who endeavor to compose personal stories as literary works...she finds the unusual within the commonplace, the surprising within the predictable. ~ Judy Blunt, author of Breaking Clean

Naomi Kimbell chooses her words like a poet. She reads Richard Hugo and Robert Wrigley, and Homer. Like these authors, Naomi is a careful, descriptive, and smart writer. Because Naomi is a true scholar, she knows things ... She has an ear for beauty, and BS—like no one else I’ve ever met. ~ Karin Schalm, author of Poems of Peace in these Warring Times

Naomi Kimbell knows the boundaries of nonfiction, and lucky for us she knows the perfect ways to challenge them. Whether she’s writing about family dynamics or mental illness, Naomi does more than tell a story—she engages the reader in all of her essays as form and content interact. With a fresh and invigorating writing style, her words bring you into each essay and, believe me, once inside you’ll never want to leave. ~ Chelsey Clammer, author of BodyHome and Circadian

WEEKS AT A GLANCE:

WEEK 1: Using Music as a Guide to Shape Our Words

During week one, we will begin reading The Triggering Town, with particular focus on the premise that “all truth must conform to music,” and what that means to us as writers. We will explore this question figuratively, through readings and our own writing, and we will also explore it literally, experimenting with music as a guide that shapes the rhythm and sound of our words.

WEEK 2: Exploring the Towns Inside Us

We will continue our reading of the Triggering Town, exploring the fictions and realities that create and populate the places in our work. Hugo says, “The poem is always in your hometown, but you have a better chance of finding it in another.” He advocates that the author must create the towns inside us that feed our work, towns that are free of the constraints of what we think we know about the real places we live. We’ll explore this concept across multiple genres, and talk about what it means in poetry, fiction, and even nonfiction.

WEEK 3: The Nuts and Bolts of Good Writing

We will continue working with The Triggering Town, focusing on “Nuts and Bolts.” Students will learn some of the arbitrary rules that go into good writing, down to the pencil and paper. And we’ll discuss your own nuts and bolts, the tools you have selected that help you write, as well as how to be your own critic.

WEEK 4: Workshop

In week four, students will submit, read, and evaluate one another’s essays in an online workshop format. This class will help readers hone their skills in critical reading and evaluation of texts, as well as help develop their skills in providing helpful, supportive feedback. Comments received during this week should help the author significantly revise her work, allowing her to more fully realize its potential.

Materials needed: Students will need a copy of The Triggering Town: Lectures and Essays on Poetry and Writing by Richard Hugo (W. W. Norton & Company, 2010).

ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR: Naomi Kimbell lives and writes in Missoula, MT. She has an MFA in creative nonfiction from the University of Montana, and her work has appeared in The Rumpus, The Nervous Breakdown, Crazyhorse, The Iowa Review, and other literary journals and anthologies. Her essay, “Whistling in the Dark,” was recognized as a Notable Essay in Best American Essays, 2010, and her essay, “Bounty,” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in nonfiction. In addition to writing creative nonfiction, Naomi writes reviews of independent literature for the Atticus Review, has been featured on the Submittable Blog, and is currently working on a novel.

When she’s not writing, she likes to wander through the woods, across hillsides, and visit small towns, taking photographs and shooting video to create impressionistic films with ambient scores using her essays, invented landscapes, and found sounds. She lives with her husband and her bird at the base of a mountain that, from a certain angle, looks a little like an elephant in repose.

Since receiving her MFA in 2008, Naomi Kimbell has taught creative nonfiction, developmental, and college writing courses at the University of Montana, and she has facilitated memoir and cross-genre workshops for individuals with developmental disabilities and traumatic brain injury, people with severe and disabling mental illness, children and adults with chronic and terminal illness, and elementary school students. To learn more, view films, and read her work, visit her website at www.naomikimbell.com.

COST:  $125, which includes weekly assignments, individual feedback from the instructor, and access to a private group for student interactions.

BUY NOW: Music, Truth, and the Towns Inside Us with Naomi Kimbell (4 weeks, starting 4/29/2019) Limit: 10 students. Early registration is recommended.

This class is now closed. Please check here for our current schedule.

For Class Session Starting 4/29/2019

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Notes: Upon successful completion of payment, your name, email address, and contact info will be submitted to your instructor. Just before class begins, she will e-mail you with instructions on how to get started.

Questions? Email Marcia & Angela at:
classroom[at]wow-womenonwriting[dot]com

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