Tell Me a Story: The Power of Deep Listening
In this multi-genre workshop you’ll learn how to use the material of everyday conversations as the starting place for your writing. We will cover basic techniques of interviewing, audio recording, and transcription. Learn what questions to ask, how to keep a conversation fluid, and how to seamlessly integrate dialogue into your writing practice.
Daily prompts will ask you to engage in oral storytelling sessions with people around you, to make short audio recordings, and to write based on this experience. Reading and listening assignments will include the work of Anna Deavere Smith, John Cage, Krista Tippett, Amy Winehouse, Maggie Nelson, Rebecca Solnit, and Neil Gaiman. In the course blog we will discuss how sound and dialogue inform and motivate these works. How does each artist use speech acts to achieve their emotional impact? What is the role of questions? When and how does silence come into play? How can we use these models to listen more deeply to the people around us?
Students should come to the first class having established contact with two people who are okay with being interviewed and recorded. A smart phone or other audio recording device is required.
In addition to submitting work, you will be expected to comment on one-two of your classmates’ writing responses daily. At the end of the course, I will conduct one-on-one conversations with each student via Skype or email to discuss further revisions and how to move forward.
Devi K. Lockwood is a poet / touring cyclist / storyteller currently traveling the world by bicycle and by boat to collect 1,001 stories from people she meets about water and/or climate change.
Her journey began with the September 21, 2014 People's Climate March in NYC. To date she has collected 441 stories (audio recordings) in the USA, Fiji, Tuvalu, New Zealand, and Australia. Lockwood is currently based in New Zealand to write a book proposal.
The plan down the line is to make a map on a website where you can click on a point and listen to a story someone has told her from that place.
Devi's work has been published in The Guardian, Storyscape, BOAAT, Gulf Coast, and elsewhere.
In May 2014, Devi graduated Phi Beta Kappa, summa cum laude from Harvard University where she studied Folklore & Mythology, earned a Language Citation in Arabic, and rowed for the Radcliffe Varsity Lightweight Women's Rowing team. She loves places where rivers meet the sea.