Well, I’m back in class today.
We are beginning what is called the “Unfamiliar Genre Project,” or UGP for short. The idea is to immerse yourself in a genre that is uncomfortable, or if you’ll pardon me, unfamiliar. In doing so, our aim as a class is to push ourselves as writers and to put ourselves in the shoes of our (someday) students. Surely, if our students are actually being pushed to learn things they will often find themselves in uncomfortable writing situations. The UGP comes in for us, as educators, to help us to remember what this feels like. As soon as we lose touch with our students, then it won’t be long before we lose touch with our purpose in the classroom. We are there to serve the students, to help them to have every opportunity they can have.
I’m excited to begin this journey. As you saw in my last post, I’ll most likely be choosing something other than “flash-fiction” because that is a genre I’ve spent time in before. That genre is in fact, the genre that drew me to writing in the first place.
I love flash fiction because it can make a reader feel something in a very brief amount of time. Very few art forms can do that. Movies take two to three hours to pull a viewer in. Novels, depending on how fast one reads them, may take a day, several days, even several months (ahem, sometimes life gets the better of our reading habits). But flash fiction can pull you in and wrench your heart out (if it’s done well) in a few minutes or less. Take, for example, Hemingway’s short story in six words: “For Sale: Baby shoes, never worn.”
The only other example of art that I know of that is so quick to make the consumer feel something is music. I think that’s what I love so much about song. It really can evoke emotion in a short amount of time.
So, for the UGP, I imagine I’ll be exploring something in a little bit longer form. Or, who knows? Maybe something expository. We shall see…