Matthew Clark Davison's blog

Fiction & Memoir Classes San Francisco

Sun, 10/30/2016 - 10:05am
Matthew Clark D...

 

Hard to believe that the Fall 2016 Cycle of The Lab is over! We had a great time at our gorgeous new location. 

 

+ Please join us for an informal reading. Tuesday, November 1st. Chat with Labbers, reunite, check it out and see if it's for you. Ping me for details. 

 

+ Registration for the Winter 2017 Greatest Hits Cycle of The Lab is open for registration. 6 consecutive Tuesdays starting 1/24/17. 

Here's a recap of we were up to this last Cycle:

Week 1 We thought of these quotes: “Our artistic emotions are, at first, as shy as wild animals and they hide in the depths of our souls…You cannot go after them and find them. All you can do is to concentrate your attention on the most effective kind of lure…” (Stanislavski) and Teju Cole: "A photograph…draws a breathtaking coherence out of the chaos of the everyday. The image is…slightly surreal. But everything is in its right place. It reads as a moment of truth snipped from the flow of life." We compared Raghubir Singh’s photographs with the “too-perfect” images of Steve McCurry and measured them for impact, then experimented with creating “work that acknowledges their (the subject’s) complex sense of their own reality.”

Week 2 We read Instead of Sobbing, Write Sentences by Charles D’Ambrosio and experimented with highlighting our characters’ outsider-ness. D’Ambrosio said, “Not-belonging promises freedom, which is nice, but then immediately there’s the pain or anguish or whatever of feeling like you don’t fit in anywhere—but then nested inside that awareness there’s a boon, the deep sympathy and solidarity you come to feel for all the misfits in the world, who seem to be everywhere. So your soul and your prose seek out those people and situations and you go around doing as Whitman says you should do, you stand up for the stupid and the crazy. You take ridiculous positions, you defend the indefensible, probably because you know you’re ridiculous and indefensible too.”

Week 3 We found parallel stories for our characters and experimented with jump cuts as inspired by Season 3 Episode 1 of Transparent, written by Jill Soloway.

Week 4 we watched visual artist Nick Cave create work that acknowledges and transcends both the personal and the political: “It’s about dreaming for the audience, but I’ve got to be able to set up parameters. What do I…need to put in place to allow you to dream?” We created parameters for our work after reading fiction by Brandon Hobson and studying the objects in his work to inspire us to populate our stories with objects that instigate/create a state of urgency/desire/nostalgia for our readers.

Week 5 Tsai Ming-liang inspired us to experiment with the long take. We watched his film The Walker and asked ourselves how to extract tension from an extended meditation/focus on setting in our fiction/memoir. “The long take is simply something I need in order to create. I want my films to appear more realistic, from a singular perspective. To preserve the natural passage and movement of time means using minimal cuts, which is one of the most effective strategies to me.”

Week 6 Mary Karr's "A Voice Conjures the Human Who Utters It" inspired us to reconsider the opening scenes in the current drafts of our stories/memoirs/novels. We scanned for lies and opportunities for deeper truths and the unique ways we portray it. "Each great memoir lives or dies based 100 percent on voice."

The links above should give you an idea of the vibe of The Lab. 

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