I took a class in Berkeley today with Andy Touhy. WOW, is he a great teacher!! He is so knowledgeable, articulate, thoughtful, and generous! I learned a ton and really enjoyed exploring the short fiction form with him. PLEASE PLEASE get him to teach more classes at the Writing Salon. For instance, I would love to take a short fiction “continuation” class with him. (Especially in SF since I hate schlepping over the bridge. Such an SF’r!)
And by the way, this was only my second time for a class in Berkeley, and I really like the way the space has been redesigned, with the long table and chairs. Sitting at the table made it feel much more like a proper “class.” I could envision a lovely big round table in the SF space too.
THANK YOU THANK YOU for the Writing Salon!!!!
Andy Touhy is clever and bright and kind. The “Honing Your Fiction” class
offered everything a fiction writing workshop should: instruction in fine points
of rising action, sentence variety, point of view, both from Andy himself and
with advice from articles by the experts: George Saunders, Richard Bausch,
and Janet Burroway. Examples of short stories from Tobias Wolfe, Andre Dubus,
Amy Hempel, Saul Bellow, Peter Orner, Denis Johnson. And more. All optional but I read
all of it. There were honing exercises — optional, but if you did them you honed
a lot — like the one in point of view in which you had to tell a suspenseful tale
with sounds and sights and a vulnerable protagonist and then reverse it and
tell it from the pov of the threatening character. That was fun. And then there
was a lot of workshopping of stories … one short, one long or more if you had
them. Andy was available, generous and even-handed in his feedback and his
help. It was a lot of work, but not more than each person could handle (you had
a choice) and it was scary, which means it was challenging. I got soooo much
out of it.
— Sandy Handsher
I enjoyed the class today and found Andrew to be a very pleasant and informative teacher. I would definitely take another class from him again if the opportunity arises. I sense that he has a depth of knowledge of the craft that we only began to see today in our limited time. Thank you.
Re: Urgent Voice workshop.
Andy was a fantastic teacher in so many ways that I cannot enumerate them all. This would be a ten page essay. First of all, his broad knowledge of all things written in literature was fulfilling. I am a Berkeley graduate with a degree in English and I felt that his teaching was much better than the writing classes I took at UC Berkeley in the late 1980’s (I am getting old!) He made sure that we got our money’s worth in the small amount of time that we did have. His knowledge of craft was new, exciting and helpful—I would not have thought about his suggestions until he spoke them. Andy’s communication style is warm and professional. I think he knows how to really engage the entire class to be the best we can be. I liked the writing exercises and the reading that was given to us for our learning and growth. Andy is great! I bought a lifetime membership to the writing salon because of his teaching! I also enjoyed reading and hearing other’s stories. Because of his helpful comments on my re-write in my story, I think this was the reason I got published, first time, in the forthcoming Queer issue of Pank Magazine.
I felt Andy was one of the most approachable writing teachers I’ve ever had, not pretentious at all and that helped set the tone for the class. I felt like all the participants were inspired and treated each person with respect when doing workshopping. Andy gave each person’s writing equal attention and interest. He brought to class some interesting writings and I loved the time, Sunday evening. If we went over time Andy never rushed, he stayed as long as others stayed and never seemed to be in a hurry to “go home.” The only problem was that we ran out of Good Earth Tea! Thank you!
Aaahhh…you have so much enthusiasm for teaching, plus such a vast archive of knowledge.
I am cc’ing Jane in this email in hopes that she will continue to value your skills as a teacher. You taught me such much Andy, the use of gas stations being top of the list.
In a perfect world I would have been present for all the classes and offered feedback to everyone on their stories, but alas, we live in a imperfect world that throws us U-Turns, thus I was physically unable to be present for the last two classes. But, I did read all the work and continue to be astounded by the quality of writing. Congrats everyone — you rock!!!
Much gratitude and love,