"It's Dangerous to Go Alone": Building Community Beyond the Workshop (NeMLA 2022 Conference in Baltimore, MD)
We are currently seeking craft essays, personal essays, and more for a creative panel entitled "'It's Dangerous to Go Alone': Building Community Beyond the Workshop" at the Northeast Modern Language Association's 2022 conference in Baltimore, MD, from March 10-13, 2022.
The workshop, we are often told, mediates the distance between the writer’s solitary work and the need for community. Ursula K. Le Guin’s book Steering the Craft gestures toward this tension through her terms for writers and writing groups—the “lone navigator” who travels the seas alone, and the “mutinous crew” who embark on their writing lives together. However, as Eavan Boland cautions in “In Defense of Workshops,” the formal workshop is only a “short-term, effective mimesis of a critical community.” Despite its potential to build communities, the formal workshop sends writers into the world with sharpened strategies—but no guarantee of traveling companions.
Craft writing has largely evaded these quandaries. How might we make good on the workshop’s promises of an ongoing creative culture? How might writers sustain themselves and their creative communities beyond the formal workshop? This panel aims to remedy this oversight. Topics may include (and aren’t limited to) community-building on virtual platforms, the shift from workshop instruction to independent writing groups, different approaches to organizing writing communities/meetings, methods for maintaining candid conversations on craft and current events, and survival as a “lone navigator.” This creative session invites submissions of craft essays, personal essays, memoir, and literacy narratives.
To that end, this creative session seeks craft essays, personal essays, memoirs, literacy narratives, and so on that explore building a writing community beyond the space of the formal workshop or the creative writing classroom. How might writers sustain themselves and their creative communities beyond the formal workshop? In asking this question, we aim to discuss how we might make good on the workshop’s promises of an ongoing creative culture.
To submit an abstract for this panel, please follow this link: https://www.cfplist.com/nemla/Home/S/19547. By NeMLA policy, all potential contributors should submit their abstracts to the panel co-chairs (Haylie Swenson and Patrick Henry) through NeMLA's web portal; for more details, please visit nemla.org. All abstracts are due by September 30, 2021. If you have any questions about this panel, please contact Patrick Henry at patrick.henry AT und.edu.