Author and artist Lynda Barry, along with author Dan Chaon, will lead a Creativity Workshop from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday, September 30, in Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center, Room 101.
Lynda Barry and Dan Chaon have been teaching together for the last three years and have developed a set of writing exercises that are part of their upcoming book, Workbook 52. This workshop is about a way of creating a sustainable writing practice for anyone at any level who may be interested in writing and is having a hard time figuring out how to start or continue a story.
It’s based on using a common but extraordinary sort of memory almost of all of us have; the instant kind that ‘floods’ us when a certain smell or a song triggers a vivid image of certain place-in-time. It’s the kind of memory that is unwilled and vivid, something that feels somehow on-going and plastic, a living place where a story is happening. We’ll learn an easy method to create the circumstances for these kinds of images to come to us and set them down quickly in writing. We’ll start by using autobiographical memory, and then show how to apply it to writing fiction.
Lynda Barry has worked as a painter, cartoonist, writer, illustrator, playwright, editor, commentator, and teacher and found they are very much alike. The New York Times has described Barry as “among this country’s greatest conjoiners of words and images, known for plumbing all kinds of touchy subjects in cartoons, comic strips, and novels, both graphic and illustrated.”
Barry has authored 21 books, including the beloved novel Cruddy which was called “a work of terrible beauty” by The New York Times and the award-winning book What It Is, based on her now famous “Writing the Unthinkable” workshop. Barry is currently assistant professor in interdisciplinary creativity at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and runs the Image Lab at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery. Barry has received numerous awards and honors for her work, among them two William Eisner awards, the American Library Association’s Alex Award, the Wisconsin Library Association’s RR Donnelly Award, the Washington State Governor’s Award, and the Holtz Center for Science & Technology Outreach Fellowship.
Dan Chaon is the acclaimed author of Among the Missing, which was a finalist for the National Book Award, and You Remind Me of Me, which was named one of the best books of the year by The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, The Christian Science Monitor, and Entertainment Weekly, among other publications. Chaon’s fiction has appeared in many journals and anthologies, including The Best American Short Stories, Pushcart Prize, and The O. Henry Prize Stories. He has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award in Fiction, and he was the recipient of the 2006 Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Chaon lives in Cleveland, Ohio, and teaches at Oberlin College, where he is the Pauline M. Delaney Professor of Creative Writing.
The event is co-sponsored by Artists@Grinnell, Public Event series, and Writers@Grinnell.