Memoir as Bewilderment
In The Unnamable, Beckett offers this: "Dear incomprehension, it’s thanks to you I’ll be myself in the end." In our week together, I would like to examine this idea by thinking about the concept of "bewilderment" and how it gets acted out in our writing—either through syntax, our accessing the duende, leaps into the unconscious, or simply circling around what is unsaid, unknown, unrealized. This will be a generative workshop, in the sense that we will look closely at work we bring in to find ways to transform it, go deeper. To this end please plan to arrive with 10-20 pages of work in various states of completion, from polished to rough sketches. We will look for those moments we begin to stutter and stumble when talking about our writing, or in the writing itself, for this is the threshold beyond which is the white space on the map. Over the course of our week together we will attempt to push a little deeper into this shadow world.
Nick Flynn has worked as a ship’s captain, an electrician, and as a case-worker with homeless adults. In 2019 he will publish two new books: Stay (Ze Books), which represents twenty-five years of collaborations & writings; as well as I Will Destroy You (Graywolf), a new collection of poems. His work has been translated into fifteen languages.