Accessing Joy, Pleasure, and Beauty Through Attention and Reflection
About the Course: In this class, we will write delight. Delight, joy, and pleasure—especially in our time—are forms of resistance. We need access to these in order to go out into the world and do our work. In this six-week writing class, we will examine texts like Ross Gay’s The Book of Delights and adrienne maree brown’s Pleasure Activism, writings that call on us to bring our attention to that which brings us joy. It’s an old adage, wise and true, that we can’t pour from an empty cup. In this class, we will explore through writing how we access joy, what inspires us, and what beauty and wisdom arrives at the end of challenging experiences. I’m not talking about superficiality. I’m not talking about ignoring the suffering inherent in life and our world. I’m talking about finding beauty, pleasure, and joy in the midst of all that is hard. I’m talking about teaching ourselves to dwell in the possible, in our storytelling and in our lives. We’ll spend time considering elements of craft, but the class will be very playful in nature. In and outside the classroom, we’ll engage in delight practices that allow us to connect with the beauty of our lives and our world. We’ll pay attention. We’ll be curious. We’ll listen to our inner children. We’ll explore, together, what brings us joy and write into that uplift.
When: Six Tuesdays: October 15, 22, 29; Nov 5, 12, 19 from 6:00-8:30 p.m.
Where: Workshop held at the Kore Press Institute, 325 W 2nd St (in the Dunbar Pavillion)
Note: This class will be capped at 12 participants so register soon to reserve your spot.
Course Text: Ross Gay, The Book of Delights (please purchase prior to the first day of class). All other texts will be supplied.
Behind the Class: As often happens, I am drawn to teach the classes I myself crave. I’ve been reading and thinking and reflecting so much on joy, pleasure, and beauty. Without stories of beauty and redemption, we can’t balance the stories of pain, in our lives and in our world. When all we see is suffering, we become shrouded and begin to shrivel. In one of my previous classes, a student said to me, “Did you intentionally plan all these texts to be about one grief or another?” It wasn’t a criticism. It was an observation. The truth was that I hadn’t planned that. They were texts that spoke to me, their conflicts so visceral and immediate, in content and craft. But that student’s question also set me on a path of reflection that ultimately led to this class. We need all the stories: ones of grief and grace, ones of the grotesque and the gorgeous, ones that tell of failure and triumph, ones cracking with hard edges and ones crafting experiences of deep, pervasive beauty.
About Lisa: Lisa M. O’Neill is a writer, writing teacher, and creativity usher. A native New Orleanian and current desert dweller, Lisa received her MFA in nonfiction writing from the University of Arizona, where she taught writing in the English Department for a decade. She writes essays, journalism articles, and think pieces, and she teaches online and in-person writing workshops and works individually with writers, helping them discover and usher their stories onto the page. She also teaches writing with students at juvenile detention and at the Arizona State Prison. She was a regular contributor to Edible Baja Arizona and received first place in Community Food and Beverage Reporting from the Arizona Press Club for 2015. Her July 2017 piece for B*tch Media was featured in the New York Times “What We’re Reading” list. More writing has been published in Diagram, defunct, drunken boat, GOOD, Good Housekeeping, Bustle, Salon, The Feminist Wire, Talk Poverty, The Washington Post, and Terrain.org, among others
Words from Students: