Sometimes big impact comes in a small container. Dinty Moore once described flash writing as a sudden storm. Author Michael Todd Cohen maintains that if flash is a sudden storm, an author’s job is to nurture the conditions to conjure it. In this advanced creative nonfiction class, we’ll conjure our flash nonfiction storms by mining our own memories, family histories, and experiences for the truths we live by. We’ll play with known forms—letters, lists, journal entries, legal documents—to figure out which ones might best illuminate the bright spots and shadowlands of our lives. We’ll cultivate emotional resonance, character development, perspective, and tone within the flash constraint of 750-words or less. We’ll also talk about revising and publishing your pieces.
Workshop will include sharing student work, in-class readings, and lots of generative prompts to get your short-form memoir and essays off the ground, using student feedback and craft essays to cinch them back into the flash form.