Still living through the aftershocks of the Pandemic, and the growing pandemic of loneliness, we are writers who exist in a world continually afflicted by change, confusion, and loss. In exploring the art of vulnerability in the personal essay, we can begin to envision how we can compose and embody a perspective and voice that transforms vulnerability into a shared experience of possibility. By writing personal essays through inventive prompts, sharing our writing in groups, and discussing a few personal essays shaped by vulnerability (say by Joy Castro, Helen Macdonald, and Peter Orner), our class will explore and develop techniques for writing those difficult, confusing, and nebulous experiences we are compelled to express. Perspective, tone, word choice or syntax, imagery, detail, and implication are a few key elements we’ll consider, as we inhabit our own vulnerabilities and take artistic risks.
Fred Arroyo is the author of Sown in Earth: Essays of Memory and Belonging, which was shortlisted for 2021-2022 William Saroyan International Prize for Writing. He is also the author of Western Avenue and Other Fictions, and The Region of Lost Names. His writing has appeared in the anthologies Camino del Sol: Fifteen Years of Latina and Latino Writing and The Colors of Nature: Essays on Culture, Identity and the Natural World. Fred recently completed a book of poems, Emigrant Creek and Other Songs, and is working on a collection of short fictions.
Fred is new to The Porch. Welcome!