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Refuse the Given World: Breaking Blocks Through Play

April 11 - May 16, 2023 Tuesdays 5:00 - 7:00 p.m. (six sessions)


“When I sit down and start writing, I feel the given world recede, and I can just play.”

—Sam Lipsyte

Remember when you were a little kid, playing on the floor for hours and hours? Our best writing days are often imbued with that same sense of timelessness, freedom, wonder, and escape—in other words, our work often works best when it feels like play.

In this generative writing course, we will tap into a playful mindset—by using silly rules, obstructions, oblique strategies, games, dreams, ephemera, constraints, and more—to unlock problematic works and/or generate new material. You will leave this class with more than a dozen techniques for starting a new project, breaking a block, or working through something sticky in a piece of writing.

This course will pull techniques from music, visual art, design, and film in addition to those from writing. Authors Jayne Anne Phillips, Han Kang, Leah Dieterich, Jess Arndt, Garielle Lutz, Amy Hempel, Sandra Cisneros, Ben Marcus, Carmen Maria Machado, and others will guide our discussions and exercises.

Access Program
We want our writing classes to be accessible to everyone, regardless of income and background. We understand that our tuition structure can present obstacles for some people. Our Access Program offers writing class registrations at a reduced rate. Most writing classes have at least one access spot available. Please apply here for access rate tuition. Contact Susan Moore at susan@literary-arts.org if you have questions.


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Kimberly King Parsons

Kimberly King Parsons won a 2020 National Magazine Award for fiction, and her debut collection, Black Light, was longlisted for the National Book Award and the Story Prize. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her partner and children; her novel We Were the Universe is forthcoming from Knopf in May of 2024.
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