Week One In Review

In the Six-Week Workshop, our Week One instructor, Usman T. Malik, continued the proud tradition of Clarion West students coming full circle. He returned to the six-week fold with insight sharpened by his experience in the 2013 cohort.

From Day One, he offered the cohort invaluable advice for thriving over the next six weeks, from caring for themselves through burnout to turning in trunk stories as a survival tactic. Usman discussed everything from worldbuilding and muscular writing to the haunted geographies of horror and the uncanny (Pro tip: anything can be horror with the right set of tools!).

He encouraged the students to challenge themselves: to push through the logic of language to its musicality, to have difficult conversations, to read problematic authors and “smash their clay feet with the hammers of [their] vision and subversion” as he discussed with Nisi Shawl during his Tuesday reading. Usman led the students through Week One with humor, empathy, and incisive intelligence and leaves them fired up to tackle their first workshop in Week Two.

Meanwhile, the Flash Fiction Groups have received their group assignments (if you see references to infamous character archetypes in Discord — it’s probably someone from one of these groups stirring up trouble!) and their first lesson from the 2024 Flash Fiction Mastermind, Yvette Lisa Ndlovu (CW ’22).

Yvette defined flash fiction using the metaphor of a Bonsai tree and encouraged students to find their own metaphor what flash fiction can be.

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