How We Are Changed by Things That Don’t Happen

Girl staring at yellow wallpaper When we are telling or listening to a story, we are accustomed to thinking in terms of events that happen. X happened, and then Y happened, and that led to Z.”  But what about the events and deeds and consequences that don’t happen?  The small unrecognized daily diligences that avert danger; expectations and dreams that never come to pass; death and misfortune that passes over your family, opportunities passed up, etc. How are we changed by these things?

In this interactive workshop we examine  the differences between a conventional story and a story of something that doesn’t happen.  We explore why  stories about things that don’t happen are  important and examine plots and themes in stories about things that don’t happen.  We examine  works by Emily Dickinson, Jane Kenyon, Randall Jarrell, Gail Mazur, Judy Jordan, Wistawa Szymborska, Charlotte Perkins Gilman,  Stuart Dybek, Lorrie Moore, and Alice Munro to understand how things that don’t happen can create paradigm shifts and we examine some literary techniques that signal or heighten the effect of  non-happenings.

This workshop can be structured to focus on prose, poetry, or art and incorporates  writing, discussion, and art. Although artists and writers have found the workshop to enhance their work, no writing or artistic experience or expertise is necessary for a good workshop experience.  For more information or to schedule a workshop, click here.


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