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Speculative Memoir Workshop

Naomi Kimbell

THE HAUNTED PAGE: Fear and Lyricism in Literary Horror by Naomi Kimbell

START DATE: Monday, October 5, 2020

END DATE: Sunday, November 15, 2020

DURATION:  6 weeks

LOCATION:  Private Website

FEEDBACK:  Instructor feedback and critique, peer feedback, group workshopping

COURSE DESCRIPTION: The Haunted Page is a fun and engaging—scary, spooky, creepy—writing workshop in which we’ll explore the best in literary horror, discuss techniques and craft, decide for ourselves what makes a scary story scare us, and we’ll write some horror of our own. Class readings will sample ghouls, ghosts, monsters, terrifying people, and terrifying situations to help us hone our ear, and our tastes, in literary horror. Students will write a piece of frightening flash fiction, a short story, or an excerpt of something longer of up to 1000 words, and submit for feedback from fellow students and the instructor.

Thank you for an enlightening workshop, and thank you to everyone for sharing your writing. I’ve taken my share of these types of workshops over the years, and honestly the insight and depth of knowledge shared here ranks among the best I’ve encountered. I truly learned a lot not just about my writing but also from what was shared with the group. Naomi, I also am grateful for the challenge you set in the first few weeks of class, which is that in the times we find ourselves today, personal essay and memoir can transcend the mere personal to speak universally to privilege and other social issues. This idea resonated with me a great deal, and in my writing these last several weeks I’m much more aware of opportunities to incorporate broader themes. Thank you for that challenge, it’s something that will stay with me far beyond this workshop. ~ Ellen G. (previous WOW workshop participant)

I am finishing up Long Form Creative Nonfiction with Naomi Kimbell. This workshop has been life changing for me. I feel so inspired and empowered as a writer. Naomi really facilitated a safe place to be vulnerable while learning the process. My workshop peers were an amazing group and I am in awe of each of the women I went through this journey with. I really gained a lot of useful knowledge and am sad this is ending! I would absolutely recommend this course and would not hesitate to take another course with Naomi again.. ~ Valerie F. (previous WOW workshop participant)

I’ve taken online courses before, and they’ve always disappointed. This one, however, on speculative memoir was amazing. Naomi has deep knowledge of the speculative memoir genre and of writing in general. She is one who can “do and teach.” I found her open to participants’ questions and learning needs and helpful in recommending additional reading or other material that would benefit further exploration. Her discussion questions and assignments were relevant, thoughtful, and thought-provoking. Generous with her time and her feedback, she provided a close reading of our work, and I plan to use her comments to improve the drafts I’m working on. She gave me new knowledge and much to think about, and I would definitely take another class from her when time and opportunity permit. ~ Joanne Glenn (previous WOW workshop participant)

Naomi Kimbell was an incredible instructor. She was flexible and adapted to the needs of the class and she genuinely explored the conversation of “what is speculative memoir” with curiosity and integrity. Her intelligence and warmth made for a safe and stimulating environment. I wouldn’t hesitate to take a course with her again! ~ Laraine Herring (previous WOW workshop 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 workshop participant)

WEEKS AT A GLANCE:

WEEK 1: Monsters, Creatures, Bad Animals

Aren’t monsters just archetypes that represent different aspects of the human mind? I don’t know, let’s read and find out! This week, we’ll take a look at a few different monsters, creatures, and we’ll try to find some animals behaving badly as well. We’ll identify the traits we find most frightening, and discuss why, in fact, monsters and their associates are real, no matter what our parents told us. Writing prompts will encourage you to find a monster you love or love to hate and spend some time with it.

WEEK 2: Ghosts and the Dead

I used to say, “I’m not afraid of ghosts.” But I was quoting Ghostbusters. In reality, I am afraid of ghosts, and this week, we’ll hang out with the dead and their diaphanous apparitions until we just can’t stand it anymore. We may find them in graveyards, in houses, in forests, or on trains, but we will find them, and we’ll discuss why something as formless as a ghost gives us the chills. Writing prompts will encourage you to peer through the porous veil between the living and the dead to discover what you see.

WEEK 3: People, Just People

People are the scariest monsters, so prepare to sleep with the lights on this week. From creepy kids to that murderer down the street, make sure to check the house and lock your doors before you begin to read because (dang!) creepy people creep me out. Writing prompts will encourage you to replace your psyche with a decidedly scarier one, get weird, chase the strange, and walk in another person’s blood-soaked shoes.

WEEK 4: I can’t believe this is happening to me

Have you ever been trapped in room? How about an insane asylum? Ever encounter weird cultural traditions that are irrational, terrifying, and inescapable? Ugh! I don’t even like writing this! This week, we’ll subject ourselves to situations that could only be nightmares—we hope—and see what life could be like if the world were to shift, just a bit. Writing prompts will inspire you to imagine a situation you’d really rather not think about.

WEEK 5: Supernatural, Preternatural

Supernatural, preternatural, I’m not sure what will fall into this category. I wanted to leave something up in the air. This week, we may look at vampires, aliens, witches, or whirlpools, who knows? I call it dealer’s choice, but whatever comes out of the woodwork, I promise to make it scary. Writing prompts will be equal to the subject matter.

WEEK 6: Workshop

Each week, we’ve been reading, writing, and experimenting with horror, and this is the week you can share your creation. We’ll conduct a writing workshop in which students will share their work with partners and post feedback in our group discussion forum. This is often the most exciting week of class in which we get to experience one another’s horror shows. Submissions can be extremely short pieces of flash CNF, or up to 1000 words in length. The feedback you receive from your classmates will help you develop your work beyond this class.

Materials needed: All materials provided.

How the class will be conducted: Students will be given access to password protected web pages on which class materials and discussions will be posted. The class is asynchronous so you can access the class at any time according to your schedule. There are no real-time discussions. Students will need access to a computer with an internet connection and will have access to the class group two days before class begins and for one week after the class concludes.

ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR: Naomi Kimbell earned her MFA in creative writing from the University of Montana, and her work has appeared in The Rumpus, The Nervous Breakdown, Crazyhorse, Black Warrior Review, Calyx, The Sonder Review, and other literary journals and anthologies.

When she’s not writing, she teaches online creative writing classes for WOW! Women on Writing and sometimes wanders in the woods, across hillsides, through ghost towns, taking photographs and shooting video to create impressionistic films with ambient scores using her essays, invented landscapes, and found sounds.

COST:  $200, which includes weekly assignments, individual feedback from the instructor, and access to a private group for student interactions. The instructor will provide detailed review and feedback on your class submission with notes, edits, and suggestions for revision.

BUY NOW: The Haunted Page: Fear and Lyricism in Literary Horror with Naomi Kimbell (6 weeks, starting 10/5/2020) Limit: 12 students. Early registration is recommended.

This class is filled. Please check here for our current schedule.

For Class Session Starting 10/5/2020

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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.

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Additional Testimonials for Naomi Kimbell:

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 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 impressive, and we had so much fun providing feedback on each other’s essays, poems, fiction, and free-writes. Naomi’s insight into the class book, 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 workshop 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

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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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