This summer, I decided to hop on board an online course and community of educators led by teachers and authors Cathy Fleischer and Sarah Andrew-Vaughan called the Unfamiliar Genres Project. Their book “Writing Outside Your Comfort Zone: Helping Students Navigate Unfamiliar Genres” is the basis for the course.
Part II of the course/community is active during the month of July. Each participant chooses an unfamiliar genre to research and to write in. I’ve chosen vignettes since most of the students I work with are training to become clinical psychologists and therapists and they write papers in which they are learning to assess clients by reading and responding to vignettes. But I’ve learned through my research that vignettes are also used in Psychology and Sociology research in surveys. And I’m knee-deep in reading journal articles that describe the research and reveal the vignettes. And I’m loving it!
Of course, rereading “The House on Mango Street” is a great deal of fun as is reading “Deer Table Legs” by Katayoon Zandvakili and “Slide” by Monica Zarazua.
Katayoon’s poems are vignette-like which may be directly connected to her other creative pursuit, which is painting. And Monica’s short fiction has vignette qualities. Until I did a reading with these two writers on Wednesday, I was unfamiliar with their work. So, I’ve had pleasant synchronicities occur with this project. And I have two new books!
I admit that I’ve been away from this Blog. However, I have not been out of the country, away at my country home (don’t have one), or unavailable. No. It is the end of the summer quarter, and my head has been filled with other people’s writing and writing problems. Not a bad thing, but it means that there hasn’t been much room in my head for my writing or my writing problems. Funny, I’ve missed the challenges of my novel. I’ve missed the challenges of revising a poetry manuscript – make that 2 manuscripts. Not things I thought I’d miss, but…..
In 1 1/2 weeks, I’ll be back to my own writing and its challenges and joys, mountaintops and deep sea dives. And I’m looking forward to it!