Recipe For Disaster: How to Make Your Very Own Experimental Fiction Class!

Prep Time: Several hours drafting genius blog posts, reading weekly assignments, and writing helpful critiques during workshop weeks.

Ingredients:

10 – 15 Students proficient in the art of writing who will voluntarily act as Sisyphuses.

1 Zeus-like Teacher who pimp smacks the rocks (experimental attempts) the Students are so desperately rolling uphill back down, with instructions to roll it sideways or at weird angles because if you’re going to be experimental freaking experiment and make it weird.

"This one better be weird enough or I'm going to scream," -Sisyphus

“This one better be weird enough or I’m going to scream,” -Sisyphus

-Absolutely no rules (except writing restrictions placed by Zeus)-

An abundance of seemingly random outbursts, such as “Your God can’t save me now!” and that if we didn’t have words babies wouldn’t exist.

This perturbs me!

This perturbs me!

Texts and reading assignments that shake the students’ perceptions of reality and leave them wondering, as they rock in the fetal position, if they will ever truly look at an escalator in the same way again.

No! Nononononononono!

No! Nononononononono!

Steps:

1. Prepare the 10 – 15 Students (depending on attendance) by giving them the texts and reading assignments. Students will read the assignments, then proceed to look at their significant other (or cat(s), which are really the same thing) and slowly shake their head as they process their new reality. This is when you know they are ready.

They both have the same facial expressions.

They both have the same facial expressions.

2. Have Students arrive at class and as the early ones piddle about, encourage conversations such as these: “The aquarium lets you chill with the penguins for $100 an hour.” “But you just said they stink.” “Yeah, but I would do it even though they smell like shit.” “I love penguins.”

Not pictured: Mounds of feces and the godawful stench.

Not pictured: Mounds of feces and the godawful stench.

Alternately, you can have students get out their materials for class and ponder the near future, such as how much they hate their next class because the teacher is hypercritical about everyone’s photographs and your camera has way too many buttons.

She's going to hate that tree picture. I just know it.

She’s going to hate that tree picture. I just know it.

3. Introduce Zeus. Allow him to call the class to order while also observing whose eyes are filled with hatred, anger, sadness, despondency, etc.

"Not weird enough!"*sound of thunderbolts incinerating sheep*

“Not weird enough!”
*sound of thunderbolts incinerating sheep*

4. Talk about stuff. If it’s not a workshop day, talk about blog posts and readings. If it is a workshop day, critique the authors’ works while they sit and take notes.

5. Insert random outbursts now. It is best to insert them in the middle of class on non-workshop days because yelling “BANANA CREAM PIE!” during a workshop will get you sent to the school counselor to reevaluate your life. No worries though, you’ll see many of your classmates there.

This delicious bastard gets me sent to therapy everytime.

This delicious bastard gets me sent to therapy every time.

Serve topped with a hot chocolate sauce and caramel drizzle. Adorn with a single cherry.

Congratulations you now have an experimental fiction class!

Riot

May the powers that be have mercy on your mortal soul. You know not what you have done.

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10 responses to “Recipe For Disaster: How to Make Your Very Own Experimental Fiction Class!

  1. Great post! I think your use of pictures in this post is the most fluid and helpful in the blogs so far. The picture text is hilarious, particularly the penguin’s.

  2. Is that what y’all talk about when I’m not around???

  3. I like it. I really appreciate the ingredients list as well as #5. And I hope I do see yall there. I forgot about the words make babies. I’ll have to remember that in the future if I ever have to give “the talk”. Anyway, thanks for including it. Finally, you got it spot on with the rocks. That’s exactly how I feel in my mind.
    Side-note: I hope I actually do get a cookie for commenting.

  4. I really liked this piece! The pace at which images are presented really adds to the list itself. I feel like this is really accurate in regards to how I feel about experimental fiction. Especially in regards to how it continually changes our perceptions about seemingly mundane things.

    • I seriously turned to my boyfriend after I read the escalator piece and told him I’d never look at escalators the same way again. He was bewildered as to how a story could shake my (feeble, at best) grasp of reality. I still need to make him read that one…

  5. this made me laugh! i liked how you incorporated bits of dialogue and images… the images are perfect in this piece!!

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