Five Tuesdays, April 14-May 12, 7-9:30 p.m.
$185 members/$215 non-members Berkeley
Note: This class, as well as the “Exploring Creative Nonfiction” class, are both good general “exploration” classes. Neither focuses on just one genre; instead, they introduce you to a sampling of different genres and/or sub-genres.
Chekhov said that writing should “hit the reader on the snout.” A metaphor, sure, but fantastic advice for apprentice writers: a reminder that art needs a unique, compelling personality. In this class, students will nibble on appetizers from all the major genres—fiction, creative nonfiction, memoir, poetry, and others.
“One of the most exciting moments,” says instructor Josh Mohr, “is when a book affects me so much I stay up all night to finish it. How did the writer elicit that urgency? How can someone else’s words intrude into my life that drastically?” These questions will be the course’s springboard. The class will revolve around writing exercises that encourage trial and error. “If we don’t take the time to do things “incorrectly,” how will we ever learn to execute them in more effective ways?” says Josh. “For every chance I’ve taken and succeeded in my writing, there are twenty similar attempts that ended up in my Hall of Shame.”
In a fun, fast-paced, nurturing environment, students will generate and share their work with peers. You’ll read pieces from the canon, but also from writers you may not have heard of before. Says Josh: “We’ll take chances; we’ll laugh; we’ll work; we’ll indulge in each sample and together we’ll learn.”
Josh Mohr has published short stories in Other Voices, the Cimarron Review, Pleiades, Gulf Coast, and elsewhere. He won Salt Hill’s 2006 short-short contest, and his story “Dressing the Dead” was featured in the New Short Fiction Series’ emerging American writers show in Los Angeles. He has an MFA from the University of San Francisco and teaches writing through UC Berkeley’s ASUC studios, and also at a halfway house in San Francisco.