Outrageous Bullshit: A Generative Course for All Genres
When the circus shoves a clown onto the high wire it will appear to be a mistake, until we realize it has sent out its best aerialist. Likewise, many great authors (such as Beckett, Faulkner, Gertrude Stein, and more recently George Saunders) favor writing that is clumsy, off-kilter, or ridiculous—“tales told by idiots.” From a training point of view, there may be nothing more helpful to a writer’s development than trafficking in bullshit for a while. Bullshit (loosely defined as obliviousness to truth) can improve our freedom and originality on the page, take us beyond our conscious agendas, and crack the ice of our earnestness (earnestness being the number one writing crime). “The fool would be wise,” someone said, “if he persisted in his folly.”
This will be a two-day generative course in the uses of bullshit, and bad writing generally, to forward our skill and imagination. There will be models, craft talks, and lots of practice. It promises to be fun, yet we’re not just clowning around.
In this workshop, we will generate new writing through exercises and assignments.