In this generative workshop, we will write new realities that frame the surreal and embrace dream logic. From the recurring to the scandalous, the boring to the glamorous, all dreams are welcome as we expand experimentation for beginning and experienced writers alike. You will keep a dream journal throughout the class, writing upon waking and reading them back each week. If you tend not to remember your dreams, you will keep a journal either of fictional dreams that you create OR of the dreams of others. Trances, fantasies, and ruminations count, too! Our readings will span genre and include Anne Boyer, Karla Cornejo Villavicencio, Lydia Davis, Bhanu Kapil, Harryette Mullen, and Charles Yu; we may occasionally respond to songs and films as well.
Generative prompts will reflect on what story structures and scenes recur in your dreams, how the stories we read depart from or align with waking life, and which rules of reasoning hold together these works. The exercises will always be open to multiple genres, and play between categories, tones, and styles is encouraged. You will share your work for a class workshop with verbal and written feedback. Throughout our time together, we will seek not just to write down our dreams but through and from dream worlds and surreal spaces.
Class meetings will be held over video chat, using Zoom accessed from your private class page. While you can use Zoom from your browser, we recommend downloading the desktop client so you have access to all platform features.
- Write from the surreal in new ways each week during class
- Extend and polish at least one piece outside of class to workshop
- Reflect on the dream-based writing practice
- 10% discount on all future Catapult classes
You will keep a dream journal throughout the class, and each week there will be a selection of published work (10-20 pages) that will be made available on the course portal. You will give written generative feedback to every writer in the course once over the six weeks and receive feedback when you workshop your piece. You can turn in up to five pages of poetry or up to 15 pages of prose, and prose should be double-spaced with standard font and margins (e.g. Times New Roman, 12 pt, 1 inch).
Week 1: Our Dreams, Our Selves (welcome)
Week 2: American Dream (with workshop)
Week 3: Non-Sequitur as Surreal (with workshop)
Week 4: Surreal Circles (with workshop)
Week 5: Day and Nightmares (with workshop)
Week 6: Our Dreams, Our Interpretations (closing)
"Cindy’s teaching embodies what online instruction should look like. She asked us questions to push deeper thinking, encouraged everyone to share their views. I view her class so highly among other professors because she continuously made the effort to show each of her students that she cared about us as individuals. Feeling that my contribution to her class mattered, I felt more willing to do my best work. I found comfort in a place I had once felt uncertain about, and I think that means that I grew not only as a writer, but as an individual. While I was motivated to do so, I strongly believe that it was because of Cindy’s drive to keep us all engaged in learning. "
"Cindy was knowledgeable and flexible, and listened to what kinds of readings and topics we were interested in and made adjustments to the schedule based on that, which I appreciated. Cindy's comments in workshop and in the post-workshop letters were always insightful, and often brought up new and interesting points about the pieces that I wouldn't have otherwise thought of. I liked the way our workshops were set up, and that we had the agency to decide how we wanted them to go."
"Amongst the frenzy of work and school every week, I treasured the two hours I had in Cindy’s class. It was a relaxed, comfortable and focused space in which I could connect through workshops and projects and learn more about writing at the same time. Her gentle encouragement of every student in the class brought us all together for lively and insightful conversations, and as we became more comfortable around each other it became easier to share our thoughts and ideas. She taught us to critique ours and other’s work in a respectful and effective manner, and it was incredible to watch everyone’s writing improve drastically over the semester. Cindy’s passion for creative writing was contagious and I found myself looking forward to writing each assigned poem, essay, and story."