[Em]Powering the Self Workshop: Fiction, Poetry, Creative Nonfiction and Hybrid Narratives

Welcome to the “[Em]Powering the Self Workshop.” This gender and diversity narrative project takes its title from Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Woman but it does not stop at gender. This workshop is open to all forms: fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction and hybrid. It is open to all genders, identities and backgrounds. In this course we will explore how progressive experiences with cultures, both our own and others, inform our voice in both the artistic expression of voice and the voice we give to self. It is our intention to give power over self, not others. Following Wollstonecraft’s example:

I do not wish them to have power over men; but over themselves. —Mary Wollstonecraft

We will excavate self, explore self and then express self through narratological study: how our understanding of themes, conventions and symbols can siphon as well as invigorate voice. Focal criticisms will be feminism, postmodernism, Marxism, Jungian theory, gender studies/queer theory and a bit of neoformalism. Affiliate study as part of American University LIT-643 Feminism and Fiction (Professor Rubenstein) and LIT-700 Advanced Fiction Workshop (Professor Perkins-Valdez). 

[Em]Powering the Self Workshop Description

In this workshop, we’ll add additional “writing the other” resources to our writers’ toolboxes. We’ll consider our authentic voices and how these voices affect not only narrative perspective, but also our characters’/subjects’ arcs and origins. Finally, we will consider how your own origins and social evolutions can serve our voices in extraordinary and honest ways, while also, and let us not forget, considering and respecting the issues of cultural appropriation within art forms. In this writing workshop, our intention is to support self and others more deeply so to create stronger voices and narrative conversations with our readers and our communities.

[Em]Powering the Self Writing Goals

This workshop is a collaborative work between several Eckleburg faculty and authors with the intention of helping you explore your literary strengths and needs with an eye on organic voice. The specific goals of this workshop are:

  • To identify and read exemplary works as a foundational study so to define both your organic voice and writing beyond self;
  • To foster regular writing habits so to exercise and strengthen your organic voice;
  • To generate new drafts of work that encompass your artistic and human foundations;
  • To read and revise your work with a critical eye so you can revise and make it as strong as it can be;
  • To help you further strengthen your knowledge of form and to provide you with the environment to better understand your individual voice so you can apply this to future works;
  • To help you learn and improve on the techniques of writing, self-editing and writing beyond self so that you are aware of your preferred forms and boundaries and be able to consider how you might push your preferred forms into your best craft.

[Em]Powering the Self Materials

  • Aciman, Andre. “Shadow Cities.”
  • Adam Zagajewski. “Self-Portrait.”
  • Apollinaire, Guillaume. (trans. by Donald Revell) “Zone.”
  • Beauvoir, Simone de. The Second Sex. Translated by Constance Borde and Sheila Malovany-Chevallier, Vintage  Books, 2009. 
  • Beauvoir, Simone de. The Second Sex. Translated by H. M. Parshley, Vintage Books, 1989.
  • Blake Shelton. “Boys ‘Round Here.” Based on a True Story…, Ten Point Productions, Inc., 2013, YouTube, youtube.com/embed/JXAgv665J14.
  • Cairns, Scott. “Homeland of the Foreign Tongue.”
  • Chadwick, Whitney. Women, Art and Society: Fifth Edition. Thames & Hudson. 2012.
  • Cruz, Victor Hernández (for Joe Bataan). “Latin & Soul.”
  • Darwish, Mahmoud. “Who Am I, Without Exile?“
  • De Pizan, Christine. The Book of the City of Ladies. 1405.
  • Didion, Joan. “On Self-Respect: Its Source, Its Power.”
  • Dixie Chicks. “Goodbye Earl.” Fly, Sony Music Entertainment Inc., 1999. YouTube, youtube.com/embed/Gw7gNf_9njs.
  • Gilman, Richard. “The Man Behind the Feminist Bible.” The New York Times, 22 May 1988, nytimes.com/1988/05/22/books/the-man-behind-the-feminist-bible.html. Accessed 4 Sept. 2017.
  • Greenberg, Arielle and Rachel Zucker. “On My Poetry Mentors.”
  • Hikmet, Nazim. “On Living.”
  • Ibsen, Henrik. A Dolls’ House. 1879.
  • Kafka, Franz. “Metamorphosis.”
  • Kearney, Meg. “Creed.”
  • Kincaid, Jamaica. “Girl.”
  • Koppelman, Susan. Women in the TreesBeacon Press. 1996.
  • Koppelman, Susan and Alix Kates Shulman. Women in the Trees: U. S. Women’s Short Stories About Battering and Resistance, 1839-2000 (American Women’s Stories Project)2004.
  • Levine, Phillip. “What Work Is.”
  • Márquez, Gabriel García. “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings.”
  • Masson, André. Le génie de l’espèce (The Genius of the Species). 1942, drypoint and engraving, The Museum of Modern Art, New York.
  • Menand, Louis. “Stand by Your Man: The Strange Liaison Between Sartre and Beauvoir.” The New Yorker, 26 Sept. 2005, newyorker.com/magazine/2005/09/26/stand-by-your-man. Accessed 2 Sept. 2017.
  • Morrison, Toni. Beloved.
  • Neruda, Pablo. (trans. by Robert Bly) “Walking Around.”
  • Nye, Naomi Shihab. “Blood.“
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson. “On Self-Reliance.”
  • Šalamun, Tomaž. (trans. by Brian Henry) “Ships.”
  • Shawl, Nisi and Cynthia Ward. Writing the Other.
  • Shelly, Mary Wollstonecraft. Frankenstein: or, the Modern Prometheus1818. Norton Critical Addition. 2012.
  • Shelton, Blake. Boys ‘Round Here.” 
  • Simic, Charles (for Octavio Paz). “In the Library.”
  • Simic, Charles. “Cameo Apparence.”
  • “Simone de Beauvoir: Journalist, Women’s Rights Activist, Academic, Activist, Philosopher (1908–1986).” Biography, 28 Apr. 2017, biography.com/people/simone-de-beauvoir-9269063. Accessed 2 Sept. 2017.
  • Society for the Study of American Women Writers (SSAWW). 2000.
  • Toyen. Dívčí sen II (A Girl Dream II). 1932. zincography and aquarelle, The ART Gallery, Chrudim.
  • Trethewey, Natasha. “Elegy.”
  • Williams, Diane. “The Dog.”
  • Williams, Diane. “The Man.”
  • Wollstonecraft, Mary.  A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. 1792.
  • Wollstonecraft, Mary. Maria: or, The Wrongs of Woman. 1798.
  • Woolf, Virginia. Orlando.
  • Young, Kevin. “After Loss, Turning To Poetry For Grief And Healing.”

[Em]Powering the Self Contributors

Born to a Mexican mother and Jewish father, Rosebud Ben-Oni is a recipient of the 2014 NYFA Fellowship in Poetry and a CantoMundo Fellow. She was a Rackham Merit Fellow at the University of Michigan, a Horace Goldsmith Scholar at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a graduate of the Women’s Work Lab at New Perspectives Theater in NYC. She is the author of SOLECISM (Virtual Artists Collective, 2013) and an Editorial Advisor for VIDA: Women in Literary Arts. Her work appears in POETRY, The American Poetry Review, Arts & Letters, Bayou, Puerto del Sol, among others. She writes weekly for The Kenyon Review

Rae Bryant is the author of the short story collection, The Indefinite State of Imaginary Morals. Her stories, essays and prose poetry have appeared in print and online at  The Paris Review, The Missouri Review, Diagram, StoryQuarterly, McSweeney’s, New World Writing, Gargoyle Magazine, and Redivider, among other publications and have been nominated for the Pen/Hemingway, Pen Emerging Writers, &NOW Award and Pushcart Prize. She has won awards in fiction from Whidbey Writers and The Johns Hopkins University as well as fellowships from the VCCA and Hopkins to write, study and teach in Florence, Italy. She earned a Masters in Writing from Hopkins where she continues to teach creative writing and is editor in chief of The Doctor T. J. Eckleburg Review. She has also taught in the International Writing Program at The University of Iowa. Rae is the director of The Eckleburg Workshops. She has a Bachelors in Humanities from Penn State with a concentration in Eduction and English Literature, minors in Art, History and Philosophy. Rae is a member of VIDA: Women in Literary Arts, AWP, NBCC, NOW, NAACP and CLMP She is represented by Jennifer Carlson of Dunow, Carlson and Lerner.

Kalisha Buckhanon’s novels are Conception and Upstate. Her writing awards include an American Library Association Alex Award, Friends of American Writers Award and Illinois Arts Council Fellowship. She and her work have been featured in EssencePeopleGuardianLondon Independent on SundayMosaic Literary MagazineColorlinesBlogHerxoJaneMichigan Quarterly ReviewHermeneutic Chaos, Winter Tangerine ReviewAtticus Review and more. She has taught creative writing, humanities and English through PEN American Center’s Prison Writing Program, Kankakee Community College and many inner-city schools programs, summer arts camps and library initiatives. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Sisters in Crime, with appearances for the group as an on-air commentator on Investigation Discovery Channel’s “Deadly Affairs.” Kalisha has an M.F.A in Creative Writing from The New School in New York City, and a B.A. and M.A. in English Language and Literature both from University of Chicago.

Adam Klein — author, musician (The Size Queens) and professor — recently completed his second Fulbright Senior Scholarship at the Indian Institute of Technology in Kanpur. During his previous Fulbright fellowship he taught at the University of Mumbai and North Bengal University. Klein’s first book, The Medicine Burns, is a collection of short stories that was nominated for a Lambda Book Award; selections from which appear in Best American Gay Fiction and Men on Men 5 which was nominated for a Lambda Literary Award for Fiction Anthologies. He is also the author of the novel Tiny Ladies. In a review The London Observerwrote that Tiny Ladies is “an engrossing and beautifully written book,” and Kirkus Reviewsdescribed it as “a bizarre combination of Dostoevsky, Jim Thompson, and Robert Altman.” An early excerpt of Tiny Ladies appeared in the anthology Pills, Thrills, Chills and Heartache: Adventures in the First Person, edited by Michelle Tea and Clint Catalyst. Both The Medicine Burns and Tiny Ladies are now part of Dzanc Books’ rEprint series. His short form work has also appeared in such literary journals as Your Impossible Voice, Pank, Educe, and Fiction International,among others. More recently, his short story “A Hardship Post,” published in Fourteen Hills, was nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

Rania MoudaressARTIST | Born in Damascus, Rania Moudaress graduated from the École Supérieure des Arts et Mode in Paris as well as from the Paris American Academy of Fashion and Art. She also holds a degree from the Higher Institute of Drama and Music in Damascus . Her work explores the link between womanhood and nature, and the gap between dreams and reality. Her artworks are characterized by lines delicately constructed and the use of natural elements mixed with human faces or body parts.

The Undead Workshop: Coming Soon…

We will read and view excerpts of undead works such as Zombie Survival GuideWorld War ZPride, Prejudice and ZombiesDay of the DeadThe Walking Dead and more. We will also use some of my favorite writing and craft techniques tailored to bringing out the best in your character-based fiction.

Writing Goals

  • To identify, read and view exemplary works of the undead as foundational studies to creating your own;
  • To generate new drafts of work with a focus on the undead and dystopia settings with a focus on character-based narrative and detailed setting;
  • To provide critical feedback on work so you can revise and make it as strong as it can be;
  • To help you further strengthen your knowledge of form and to provide you with the environment to better understand your individual voice so you can apply this to future works;
  • To help you learn and improve on the techniques of writing and self-editing so that you are aware of your preferred forms and boundaries and be able to consider how you might push your preferred forms into your best craft.


30 Stories in 30 Days Creative Writing Workshop

30 Stories in 30 Days

In “30 Stories in 30 Days” you will write, write and write some more using favorite writing prompts by published authors and expert writing instructors. In this course, you will respond to timed daily writing prompts that will force you into a creativity focus where your “internal editor” will have to wait their turn, allowing story development to take over. Daily writing prompts will begin immediately when you click the “Take this course” button. Subsequently, you can begin during NaNoWriMo or at the beginning, middle, end of any month, whenever it suits you.  Each prompt is available to you on its scheduled day and you will write at your own pace. If you are so inclined, you can submit one or more stories for our One on One Creative Writing Workshop, where you will receive individualized developmental edits, line edits, end notes and a phone chat.

This course focuses on your creative and narrative talents. You are welcome to share your daily writing prompts with other course writers on each day. You can take this course in tandem with friends during NaNoWriMo or any month of the year. When you develop one or more prompts into a fuller narrative, consider our One on One Creative Writing Workshop.

Writing Methods

  • You will have access to one writing prompt per day.
  • Timed writing in ten minutes or less. The prompts suggest first person narratives; however, feel free to write in whatever PoV and tense works best for you. If at any point, the narrative derivates from the original prompt, let it. Go where your creativity leads you.
  • Stop writing when the timer stops. Take a break. Stand up. Grab a drink. Keep writing new words if you like or, if not, file the scene/narrative for a later time.
  • Give yourself at least two days before you revise these new narratives/scenes.
  • Finally, if you would like to share your narrative, post it to the discussion board below each lesson and share it with your course peers. If you end up expanding this narrative into a fuller work and would like written, individualized feedback on it, we invite you to join us for a One on One Creative Writing Workshop.

Goals for Writing Prompts

  • To further explore authentic voice
  • To write a new narrative every day for thirty days;
  • To leverage the creative right brain to generate ideas;
  • To strengthen daily writing regimens;
  • To exercise freewriting;
  • To mine personal experiences and observations for narrative details
  • To practice scaffold writing in an authentic and culminative process.

What is NaNoWriMo and Why is “30 Stories” Different?

NaNoWriMo mainly focuses on drafting a novel of 50,000 words or more in November each year. For some writers, writing a novel in a linear approach–point A to point B to point c….–works very well. For some writers, a less linear format will unearth creativities and connections otherwise missed. With our structure, you can write that novel you’ve been wanting to write OR you can write a series of short stories or essays that may turn into a novel or a collection. Another aspect that differentiates our workshop is that you will have the option to write culminatively, using early work to inform later work in a scaffolded structure. Finally, where NaNoWriMo focuses on the long form, our approach gives you the liberty to approach new work in your most authentic process. And when you’ve completed your thirty days of writing prompts, you will start the process of developmentally revising at your own pace, either independently with lesson guidance or with a published author and mentor.

Why Online Writing Workshops?

Online creative writing workshops present the best of both worlds for creative writers. Creative isolation and craft interaction. In “Show or Tell: Should Creative Writing be Taught?” (The New Yorker), Louis Menand not only asks should, but also if. Our stance at The Eckleburg Workshops is that writers can be shown craft writing skills. Writers can be encouraged to explore voice through the practice of these skills. Writers can observe and deduce authentic skills in both master and developing narratives. It is our job to sculpt and nurture creative writing and this is best done by published authors and experienced writing teachers. This is what we give you in each and every writing course and in our One on One individualized manuscript sessions.