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Coming Out: Writing the Queer Short Story
November 14 @ 10:00 am - 1:00 pm$65
Every LGBTQ person has a coming out story, the one told to family members, friends, strangers, coworkers as “proof” that we are who we say we are. But such stories — often prompted solely as a means to make conversation — are usually just the surface of what coming out truly means and the implications that arise from it. Coming out is more than understanding and sharing one’s sexuality time after time after time. It often dictates the places we live, the jobs we have, the knowledge we seek, and the friends, family, and secrets we keep. Coming out, whether for the first time or the hundredth time, can change the course of our lives, and it continually forces us to adjust our understanding of ourselves and the world around us. Simply put: it’s the perfect fodder for writing, if we’re brave enough to venture beyond the surface.
How can we capture such sweeping power in the stories we write? In this three-hour workshop, we’ll open with a discussion on how coming out has changed over time both culturally and technologically. Then we’ll analyze the traditional coming out story from all angles: character, plot, setting, dialogue, and ending/beginning, with the goal of pushing past the clichè that coming out only relates to sexuality and only results in rainbows. We will read some examples before the workshop to help foster discussion, and we’ll also utilize our own unique and learned experiences. After the discussion we will do individual and shared writing exercises to help generate ideas for atypical coming out stories. And we’ll close with people sharing their generative work and getting feedback.
Students will leave with a wider understanding of what coming out means and how it can be used in writing fiction, nonfiction, and even the next time you’re blithely asked “So, when did you come out?”
Class cost $65 to register. No application required, and financial aid available. Visit our website to register.
Jason Villemez’s short fiction centers on LGBTQ people and has appeared in journals including Ruminate, F(r)iction, Post Road, Foglifter, and Joyland. He has an MFA in creative writing from Boston University and has taught at BU and the Boston Arts Academy. He is the editor of the Philadelphia Gay News and writes frequently on LGBTQ history. His nonfiction has appeared in the PBS NewsHour, LGBTQ Nation, and local LGBTQ publications across the country. Learn more about Jason at jasonvillemez.com.