Creative Writers, Composition Teachers
Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP) 2018 Conference
Tampa, FL. 2018
Panelists: Shane Seely, Rachael Stewart, Jenni Moody, Jonathan Udelson, Jose Angel Araguz
Most creative writers who teach will, at some point in their careers, find themselves in the composition classroom. For many, first-year writing provides the first teaching experience. This panel explores the strengths that creative writers bring to the composition classroom, the struggles they inevitably face, and lessons from this teaching that can serve them throughout their teaching and writing careers.
The Situation: Embodiment, Visual Literature, and Agency in the Creative Writing Classroom
Creative Writing Studies Organization (CWSO) 2017 Conference
Blue Ridge Assembly, Black Mountain, NC. November 2017.
Members of the Situationist International (SI) and Fluxus movements sought to combat the spectacle of society through the creation of situations. The Situationists positioned their bodies in relation to the city through the derive – a pinball-like meandering through points of interest. Fluxus artists engaged with visual methods of storytelling in order to meld art and life. These two forms of embodiment shift the power structure and create spaces of agency within otherwise controlled worlds. In the current era of perpetual shock, teaching the movements, artists, and techniques of SI and Fluxus in creative writing classrooms can help students regain a sense of control – to move from reaction to action.
Materiality in Contemporary Art: Compos(t)ing the Past Through the Present
The Association for the Study of the Arts of the Present (ASAP/9)
University of California, Berkeley. October 2017
Short Fiction Panel
Association for the Study of Literature and Environment (ASLE) Conference. Detroit, Michigan. June 2017.
Even Lonelier Monsters Reading
WisCon 41. Madison, Wisconsin. May 2017.
Last year LONELY MONSTERS encountered rooms of hair, confronted pregnant dopplegangers, underwent experimental brain surgery, loved and lost zombie boyfriends, and found golems in the darkest shadows. Be prepared for more fabulist appetizers from this shifting cast of characters. Alisa Alering, Emily Jiang, Kodiak Julian, Kettle Macaulay, Jenni Moody
“Where to Find and Why We Need Activist Protagonists in Fiction.”
Institute for Critical Animal Studies (ICAS) North American Conference. Binghamton University. April 2015.
Science fiction author Minister Faust recently called online for examples of fiction that have activists or community organizers as the protagonist. While his own novels, War &Mir and Coyote Kings of the Space-Age Bachelor Pad, both include activists, most responders to the call were able to provide few examples of additional activist characters.
A recent study by psychologists David Comer Kidd and Emanuele Castano tested the effect of literary fiction on a reader’s ability for empathy with another human. The study showed that interacting with complex characters in fiction improved the reader’s ability to determine emotion in another person. Kidd states “fiction is not just a simulator of a social experience, it is a social experience.” Can fiction help grow future activists and change public perception of activism? Can fiction create empathy in the general public and help activists achieve their goals? Where can we find examples of novels and short stories with activist protagonists?
One such novel is Karen Joy Fowler’s Pen/Faulkner Award-winning We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, which chronicles two siblings’ journeys towards different forms of animal rights activism after their sister is taken away and placed in a lab. Fowler’s portrayal of both direct action and educational outreach are sympathetic. She creates complex characters driven by their childhood experience of having a chimpanzee as an equal member of their family and her sudden removal and imprisonment in a laboratory.
By exploring this and other works with activist protagonists, as well as studies on fiction-created empathy, I hope to provide a framework of resources and a call to action for fellow writers.
“Residential Science Fiction and Fantasy Workshops.”
NerdCon. Huntsville, AL. October 2014.
What is it like to attend a writing workshop that lasts six weeks? Or even two? Clarion West graduate Jenni Moody will give a presentation on the benefits of residential writing workshops and will share stories about her time at one of the most prestigious genre workshops in the world.