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Part Monsters: Writing "Craziness" (Seattle, WA)

  • Hugo House 1634 11th Avenue Seattle, WA, 98122 United States (map)

Saturday, August 10 and Sunday, August 11 from 10am-5pm (includes one hour lunch break)

Cost: $265.60 for Members, $295 for General Public

In her bestselling book Heart Berries, Terese Marie Mailhot opens the door to her lover and sees the black eye that she gave him. “When I opened [the door], I had to face that I was part monster,” she writes. In this 12-hour weekend intensive, writers explore what it means to write “crazy,” from the quiet stutterings of mental illness to the way violence can echo in us. Beginning with an overview of how physiological trauma and shame interact with our writing processes, this class will focus mainly on the craft questions of “crazy”: How can syntax bring readers into the experience of mental wobbliness, erraticness, escalation, shutdown? How do we write scenes that are inherently dramatic—like outbursts or suicide attempts—without crossing the line into melodrama? As writers, how do we bear the exposure of behavior that makes us feel “part monster,” committing to truth-telling while building complex and likeable characters?

This class is not a support group; nor is it intended to be a replacement for mental healthcare. But for those who are already seeking the necessary support for their conditions and histories, this class will offer a stable, supportive environment to work on a craft level the stories that so many of us carry. Writers will have the opportunity to turn in one essay for group workshopping and should plan to complete weekly writing exercises and readings by published authors, including Sarah Fawn Montgomery, Esme Weijun Wang, Kiese Laymon, and Emily F. Maloney.

Read my recent Essay Daily piece on Writing “Craziness.”

Scholarship applications open May 13 and close June 14. General registration opens June 11.

“Part Monster: Writing ‘Craziness,’” was invaluable. In addition to a reading list of incredible writers rendering trauma and ‘craziness,’ I received an insightful list of prompts that challenged me to expand on what I had read and to explore the depth of my experiences.

With Kati’s guidance, I practiced the syntactical skills to communicate altered states and learned to address the difficulties in revealing my wobbly self while remaining a credible narrator. In the safe environment Kati fostered, I discovered the issues that kept me from sharing and felt more empowered to tell my secret stories.

With Kati’s support and encouragement, I accomplished this in six weekly two-hour classes—joyously! I look forward to attending additional workshops with Kati.

She’s the best in her field.
— Renee Terry, "Part Monsters: Writing 'Craziness'" student Summer 2019 at University of Arizona Poetry Center
Earlier Event: August 6
Unlocking Tough Stories (online)
Later Event: September 7
Writing the Trauma Essay (New York, NY)