Nothing Happens Nowhere: A One-Day Workshop on Place
Instructor: Samuel Leader
Is a place just a vessel for events, or is it the generator of those events? How does the uniqueness of a place help to shape and color a story? In this workshop, we will focus on places rather than happenings, rethinking our own engagement with place: How do nature or architecture influence our experiences, thoughts, and relationships? Does a landscape remember what it once witnessed? How does our (increasing) time in virtual spaces affect our relation to the environments we live in? What is “home?” Does nothing really happen nowhere? And how might we explore such questions through our writing? As we grapple with these questions, they will open us up to new stories and new ways of telling them.
In preparation for the course, you will read some short texts by a diverse set of writers, each of whom manifests a vivid or unusual sense of place. Short narratives, poems, extracts, and quotes will be taken from a broad list spanning epochs, cultures, and genders and including names such as William Wordsworth, Marcel Proust, Italo Calvino, Samuel Beckett, George Perec, Elizabeth Bishop, Robert Walser, Lydia Davis, Derek Walcott, Joseph Brodsky, Maël Renouard, JM Coetzee, Charles Wright, Eudora Welty, Marilynne Robinson, and Robert Macfarlane.
We will spend the morning session reviewing and discussing the preparatory readings, which will serve as models for our own writing and provocations to think about our relationship with specific places and the concept of place in general. We will end the session with a writing exercise to generate ideas for stories (fictional or non-fictional) linked to place.
The afternoon session will be devoted to workshopping participants’ writing. In this context, everyone will have the chance to bring in examples of their work, share them with the group, and discuss them in light of the ideas and possibilities generated during the morning session. We will then round off the day with one final short text and writing prompt.
Maximum enrollment: 10
Exact times and dates are determined in consultation with the participants.
5 Rue des Fontaines du Temple