Memoir as Bewilderment
In The Unnamable, Beckett offers this: “Dear incomprehension, it’s thanks to you I’ll be myself in the end.” In our week together, I would like to examine this idea by thinking about the concept of “bewilderment” and how it gets acted out in our writing—either through syntax, our accessing the duende, leaps into the unconscious, or simply circling around what is unsaid, unknown, unrealized. This will be a generative workshop, in the sense that we will look closely at work we bring in to find ways to transform it, go deeper. To this end please plan to arrive with 10-20 pages of work in various states of completion, from polished to rough sketches. We will look for those moments we begin to stutter and stumble when talking about our writing, or in the writing itself, for this is the threshold beyond which is the white space on the map. Over the course of our week together we will attempt to push a little deeper into this shadow world.
Nick Flynn’s most recent books include: This Is the Night Our House Will Catch Fire (2020), and Stay: threads, collaborations, and conversations (2020), which documents twenty-five years of his collaborations with artists, filmmakers, and composers. He is also the author of five collections of poetry, including I Will Destroy You (2019). His memoir, Another Bullshit Night in Suck City (2004), was made into a film in 2012 starring Robert DeNiro, and has been translated into fifteen languages.