Memoir as Bewilderment

Memoir as Bewilderment

Nick Flynn
Week 11: August 20 to August 25
Time: 9am-12pm
Tuition: $600
Discipline: Non-Fiction/Memoir
Open to All
Registration Open
Workshop Full: Waiting List may be available
On-site Housing Full
Workshop Description 

Frost would sometimes say at his readings that "poems are about what you don't mean as well as what you do mean"—this could apply to the contemporary concept of memoir as well. When we first approach the idea of writing a memoir we generally write into what we believe is our individual and unique autobiography, but as we press on we find that our story is connected to everyone’s story, and only then can we access the deeper mysteries of life. In our weeklong workshop we will wrestle with these deeper mysteries, as well as the concept of “bewilderment,” and how we can embody both in our memoirs—either through syntax, our access to the duende, leaps into the unconscious, or simply circling around what is unsaid, unknown, unrealized. We will look for those moments we begin to stutter and stumble when talking about our projects, for that is the threshold beyond which is unknown, beyond which is the white space on the map.

Please come with a willingness to push a little deeper into this shadow world, as well as a working knowledge of the anthology “The Next American Essay” (edited by John D’Agata), and an openness to questioning why you tell the particular stories about your life that you do.


NICK FLYNN is the author of three memoirs, The Reenactments, The Ticking is the Bomb: A Memoir of Bewilderment, and Another Bullshit Night in Suck City, which has been made into a film, Being Flynn, starring Robert DeNiro as Flynn’s father, Julianne Moore, and Paul Dano. He is the author of four books of poetry, My FeelingsThe Captain Asks For a Show of Hands, Some Ether, which won the PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award, and Blind Huber. He has been awarded fellowships from The Guggenheim Foundation, The Library of Congress, The Amy Lowell Trust, and The Fine Arts Work Center. His poems, essays, and non-fiction have appeared in The New Yorker, the Paris Review, National Public Radio’s This American Life, and The New York Times Book Review.