Often when I add new classes, it’s because someone has specifically asked for them. I know whenever I teach something new, it’ll be a learning experience for me as well, because I’ll have to think hard, come up with an outline, figure out some writing exercises, and have some resources to provide people afterwards.
That need for thoughtful preparation is why I’ve put off something frequently asked for, a class about Writing and Gender. But now I’ve been working on one, and the live version will take place on Saturday, August 26, 9:30-11:30 AM Pacific time. I am very pleased to say that Cheryl Morgan will be guest-speaking in it – I find classes with two teaching perspectives are usually much more interesting, and this class is going to be interesting, thoughtful, and stuffed full of good and useful information and concepts.
There’s plenty of time, but with stuff like this, I find I do well to start jotting down notes early and building on them over time, with one last frenzied spurt of effort dedicated to completion in the last week or so. Here’s some thoughts so far:
I want to discuss how modern Western views of gender have fractured, and concepts like asexual, aromantic, cis, gender fluidity, etc as well as moving outside binary thinking.
I asked on Twitter about fiction thqt does interesting stuff with gender and am compiling a list, but here’s a Storify with all those titles in it. Some science fiction that has dealt with gender: Ann Leckie’s Radchai series, Ursula K. LeGuin’s The Left Hand of Darkness, Deb Taber’s Necessary Ill — and what’s the name of that John Varley story where the woman switches genders and her husband has such a hard time with it?
For me, Susan Griffin’s Woman and Nature: The Roaring Inside Her was an important text in thinking about the construction of femininity and language, so I want to look at a couple of passages from that and see if I can derive an interesting writing exercise from that. It came out in the 70s, though, so I have some fears that it’s going to be dated.
Along the same lines, at least one writing exercise that invoves genderflipping (or other-flipping in a different way) a passage of writing. I’m looking for other ideas like that which help me show students different perspectives in a way that sinks in. So much writing depends on finding the unexpected angle, the voice that has been too quiet to hear before, the elusive scent on the breeze that tugs at some memory — that’s what is both thrilling and terrifying about exploring things in one’s writing.
I will remind you that classes afre basically half price if you register by July 1, and that there are three Plunkett slots – scholarships for people who couldn’t otherwise afford the class – in each one. I am always pleased when people take advantage of the Plunketts – so help make me happy by passing the word along to someone who might be interested!