Swimming in the Gene Pool: Family, Fact & Fiction
This workshop is for anyone writing stories, whether “true” or invented (or both), about family, especially your own. Whether you are crafting a personal essay or short story, a memoir or multigenerational saga, to write about family is to write about the essential loyalties, rivalries, pathologies, and mythologies that have shaped your moral and emotional choices from the crib—and that, on a global scale, influence cultural and political relationships, too. This is also the perfect workshop for anyone struggling with the decision whether to use personal material as the foundation for memoir or fiction. You will receive one another’s workshop submissions in advance of our first meeting, allowing time to read them all beforehand. Expect homework exercises and rigorous revision.
Please bring to class: (1) a photocopy of the first page from a favorite work of fiction or nonfiction focusing on family, with an alternate choice in case of duplication, and (2) a photograph/snapshot of or related to your family, plus one decent photocopy.
Please be ready to submit a single short story or essay, or the beginning ONLY of a book-length memoir or novel (20 pages maximum, double-spaced, 12-point type, good margins) by July 13. Specify on the first page if the work is a stand-alone piece or the beginning of something longer. (I will email you in early July with submission instructions and send you a list of email addresses for your classmates, to whom you will also send your work.)
Julia Glass is the author of the novels A House Among the Trees, And the Dark Sacred Night, The Widower’s Tale, The Whole World Over, and the National Book Award–winning Three Junes, as well as the Kindle Single “Chairs in the Rafters.” Her third book, I See You Everywhere, a collection of linked stories, won the SUNY John Gardner Fiction Award. She has also won fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts, and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. Her personal essays have appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies. She is a cofounder of the arts festival Twenty Summers, in Provincetown, Massachusetts, and a Distinguished Writer in Residence at Emerson College.