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Live Generative Workshops on Writing Magical Realism

Making the Mundane Magnificent with the Marvelous Magical Real

Making the Mundane Magnificent With the Marvelous Magical Real with Christy O'Callaghan

START DATE: Tuesday, March 5, 2024

END DATE: Tuesday, March 26, 2024

DURATION:  4 weeks

LOCATION:  Live Zoom Classes

MEETING TIME:  Tuesdays, 7 pm - 8:30 pm EST

FEEDBACK:  Instructor Feedback and Encouraging Peer Workshop

COURSE DESCRIPTION:  Sharpen your pencil because this is a generative class where we will write the marvelous, magical real pulled from our everyday lives. What ordinary thing could be extraordinary as you walk through the supermarket, or what would happen if you forgot to tell the bees of a birth or death, or if the snippets pulled from grandma’s bedtime tales came to life? In this class, we will create strange stories, tall tales, and fairy fables—short stories intertwined with our daily life.

The class is an opportunity to explore the marvelous magical real, an often misunderstood and glossed-over genre. This is a 4-week class with weekly writing prompts and readings of short stories by women. Students will write one piece under 500 words each week and a prompt for 15 minutes of daily writing sessions, use their life to spark their imagination, and read an assigned short story. It is a generative class with people sharing their work, photos, and stories they have found.

Goal:
Students will let their imagination play in their everyday life. They will carve out a daily writing practice and let their world inspire them. They will share their work with their classmates. They will gain a more extensive understanding of magical realism and that there is never too much or too little magic. By the end of this class, participants will have started a habit of freewriting, gained a better understanding of magical realism, and have started at least five new stories. Mostly, they will have fun finding the strange in the everyday and capturing it on the page.

Format:
4 weeks for 90 minutes in person via Zoom each week: Tuesdays, 7 pm - 8:30 pm EST. We will use a shared space on Google Docs to add prompt ideas, images, words, and quotes. It will be a space to share published stories or book titles that may inspire the group. Students will post their new stories to the space, and the rest of the class will read them before we meet. These will be first drafts and will not be perfect (which is okay). They are a chance to see how everyone interprets the prompt in their own way. We will discuss the pieces when we meet, what we enjoyed, and possibilities for consideration.

Christy is a remarkable teacher! She's warm, friendly and creates a safe space for writers to try new things. I loved learning from her, and she chose wonderful passages for our readings and helpful writing prompts. I would definitely like to take more classes with her! ~ Jennifer Raudenbush

Christy is an exceptionally gifted writer. My experience with her work has always left me impressed not only with her literary skill but with her capacity for her writing to evoke compassion and connection in her reader. She's a rare artist, one who can express herself with vulnerability and yet maintain the artistry of her craft. It's difficult to do both, and Christy walks that line exquisitely. Her gifts at editing are no less impressive. Christy is a careful and thoughtful reader, one who can critique with both kindness and precision. She is careful to point out the strengths in a piece so that the writer knows what's working and can build on it, yet she is also able to provide insight into how the piece can be improved. All this she does with the expertise of a seasoned mentor. She feels a responsibility to help a writer realize their potential, both in their art and in themselves, a commitment that benefits anyone who works with her. ~ Naomi K.

As a writing guide, Christy has a way of bringing out the extraordinary. She has a keen eye for the strange and significant detail, a gut sense for the big picture, and the skills to help bring it all together. Christy’s enthusiasm for storytelling, her natural sense of wonder, and her expertise as a guide all combined to help conjure the magic—both in my story and in the workshop environment. ~ Vix G.

It comes naturally to Christy to encourage and invest in other writers' stories. Incisive and kind, and thoroughly enthusiastic about the music and magic of words, she has an ear for what naturally resonates in a draft. Along the way, she reminds you that it is beautiful and inspiring to be a writer, no matter where you are in your journey. ~ Jenn H.

I've worked with Christy O'Callaghan as an editor and author. Her dedication to building, uplifting, and sustaining a vibrant writing community is both inspiring in its success and infuriating in how easy she makes it. I mean this literally. I've seen her jump into a conversation with a new author she's never met before and, in two minutes, was providing that author with advice for pursuing workshops and publication venues based on that author's interests, experiences, and writing goals. This isn't networking but straight-up kindness for other writers. She shows up as a writer and reader. She sees community-building as a way of life, not just as a tool. It's actually kind of spooky. ~ Keene S.

Christy's grasp of story, on how language is being used, on the heart of the narrative, is simultaneously incisive and generous. She is incredible in guiding a writer's work to achieve its intention. ~ Tayyba Maya K.

I think anyone who takes Christy's class will be inspired to write strange stories infused with magic. Sometimes it takes a writer/teacher who has delved into such mysterious tales to lead the way. Christy knows her "stuff" and the way. I'd go anywhere with her. ~ Connie W.

WEEKS AT A GLANCE:

Week One: Making the Ordinary Extraordinary and the Extraordinary Ordinary
We will discuss what marvelous magical realism is and about playing with the mundane or the unique and flipping them around to tell a story. We will discuss the assigned reading and how the author used an extraordinary figure and made it ordinary. We’ll also talk about the previous week’s generated writing.

  • There will be an assigned reading to read before the next class. Before class reading: "Vampires In The Lemon Grove" by Karen Russell and "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman.
  • Assigned reading before class 2: "Who Will Greet You At Home" by Lesley Nneka Arimah.
  • Participants will write for 15 minutes each day to help build the habit. Prompts will be offered if needed.
  • A prompt will be provided each week on the discussion to give them a chance to practice that technique.

Week Two: What The Fantastical?
A writer writes, and a writer reads. We will get more of the history of this style and what it means to be marvelous and magical inside the real world. We will also talk about the story behind the story. Assigned readings and writing assignments will be reviewed.

  • There will be an assigned reading to read before the next class. Week Two - Week Three: "The Farey Handbag" by Kelly Link
  • Participants will write for 15 minutes each day to help build the habit. Prompts will be offered if needed.
  • A prompt will be provided each week on the discussion to give them a chance to practice that technique.

Week Three: Size and Numbers
Playing with the size or number of something is one element of storytelling for the marvelous magical real. We will discuss how the assigned writer used size to create magic and how they used relationships to build a connection with the reader. We’ll also talk about the previous week’s generated writing.

  • There will be an assigned reading to read before the next class. Week Four : "The Husband Stitch" by Carmen Maria Machado
  • Participants will write for 15 minutes each day to help build the habit. Prompts will be offered if needed.
  • A prompt will be provided each week on the discussion to give them a chance to practice that technique.

Week Four: Make it Vivid! Make it Moody!
The writer has to be confident in the story they are writing for the reader to believe it. Part of that is to make it vivid and full of life. The narrator is essential in telling the tale. Who is the narrator, and what feeling do they want to convey? How does the point of view affect the tone of the piece? We will discuss all the assigned readings to see how they evoked a feeling in the reader. This week’s discussion will examine how the writer made an old story fresh and modern. We’ll also talk about the previous week’s generated writing.

Materials needed:  Computer with Internet. Access to Zoom and Google Docs. A camera if participants want to share photos.


Christy O'Callaghan

ABOUT YOUR INSTRUCTOR:  Christy O’Callaghan is a writer and Developmental Editor with an MA in English from SUNY Albany. She is Editor in Chief of Barzakh Literary Magazine and the 2023 SUNY Thayer Arts Fellowship finalist for writing. She spent twenty-two years in community organizing and education. Christy has an extreme love of strange stories, plants, and lore. Her favorite pastimes include hiking and snowshoeing while listening to horror fiction podcasts, swimming with her waterproof iPod, gardening, botanical illustrations, reading, and collecting sea glass. Her work has appeared in The Los Angeles Review, Great Weather for Media, Splash! with Haunted Waters Press, Flyway Journal, Trolley Journal, Sonder Review, Chestnut Review, and more. For information about her editing services and a complete list of her publications, visit christyflutterby.com.

 

COST:  $185, which includes four live Zoom classes, instructor feedback, group workshopping, and discussions.

BUY NOW:  Making the Mundane Magnificent with the Marvelous Magical Real with Christy O’Callaghan (4 weeks, starting 3/5/2024) Limit: 10 students. Early registration is recommended.

This class is closed. Please check here for our current schedule.

For Class Session Starting 3/5/2024

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Notes: Upon successful completion of payment, your name, email address, and contact info will be submitted to your instructor.

Questions? Email Marcia & Angela at:
classroom[at]wow-womenonwriting[dot]com

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