A generative practice perceiving meaningful patterns in random data.
Apophenia is the mind's desire to make connections between unrelated events. How can we use this idea to write what is unwritable? When stories are full of holes or faulty memories, trauma, or the world's unknowable wonder, this practice can sketch an outline/chalkline around the invisible, creating a pointillist narrative that is vibrant with synaptic leaps and air-borne connections. We'll spend class time discussing a handful of readings and ideas while we work on creating both written and oral narratives.
Writers will leave this generative master class with a number of leads for new work, and the class will end with an informal Q&A with Samantha, with wine and snacks.
Samantha Hunt is the author of The Dark Dark, a story collection, and Mr. Splitfoot, a ghost story. Her novel The Invention of Everything Else won the Bard Fiction Prize and was a finalist for the Orange Prize. Her novel The Seas won a National Book Foundation award for writers under thirty-five. Hunt's writing has been published in The New Yorker, The New York Times, McSweeney's, A Public Space, Tin House, Cabinet, and a number of other fine publications.
"THE DARK DARK . . . wields such a subtle and alien power that I couldn't read more than a couple of pieces in a sitting without feeling like some witchy substance was working its way through my blood . . . Wonderfully spooky."
"Beguiling . . . daring . . . Hunt at her best is a lot like the uncle of one character, who is described as 'so good at imagining things' that 'he makes the imagined things real.' Hunt's dreamlike images operate in service to earthbound ideas . . . [She] gets at the myriad ways women work to keep their self-possession in the face of social and interpersonal expectations."
"THE DARK DARK, more than anything else, is an example of the sheer force of storytelling, of the power of narrative to elicit understanding and emotional response at an unspeakable, unspoken level."
"THE DARK DARK reads like a feminist manifesto threaded through imaginative fiction; it's the most evocative, impressive collection I've read this year."
"Hunt, with the publication of her first collection of stories, THE DARK DARK, is poised to break through as one of our major fiction writers . . . Hunt is by turns hilarious, wry, wrenching, and lyrical."
"Liminal fantasy with a solid literary sensibility; sure to please fans of Karen Russell and Lidia Yuknavitch . . . THE DARK DARK chews on some delicious, evergreen themes in extraordinary ways."
"These short stories are works of dark, dark magic that skitter between worlds both recognizable and wholly new. Fans of Hunt's work will revel in her first story collection, which marries her signature flare for the fantastic with keen observation and sharp prose . . . Grab your comforter and a flashlight for this tour de force collection from one of our most inventive storytellers."
"Designed to jolt and beguile . . . This excellent, inventive collection . . . is rife with observant asides, sly humor, and surprises."