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8-Week Open-Genre Workshop: Finding Inspiration in Dreams

A wealth of imagery and narrative lies in our dreams—but many of us have been told that our dreams are boring or “not real,” and so we’ve cut ourselves off from this rich source of knowledge and inspiration.

In this eight-week generative workshop, open to writers of all experience levels, we will develop a closer relationship to our dream-life, and we’ll use our dreams as portals into deeper, more authentic writing. We'll track the recurring symbols and themes of our dreams and use them to identify and articulate our deepest obsessions. We'll get weird, take risks, and embrace dream-logic on the page.

Everyone will keep a dream journal throughout the workshop, and we'll do generative exercises designed to turn dream-material into compelling stories, essays, or poems. Each workshop participant will also get two chances to share work-in-progress and receive verbal feedback from the group. For inspiration, we'll read fiction, nonfiction, and poetry by authors who have written about their dreams or embraced dream-logic, such as Leonora Carrington, Franz Kafka, Haruki Murakami, and Tracy K. Smith, among others. Students can expect to leave the workshop with at least one new piece they feel excited about, as well as a deeper relationship to their dreams and access to an ongoing source of inspiration.

One scholarship spot is reserved for a BIPOC writer, to be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. To apply, please send an email to [email protected] with the subject "Amy Bonnaffons Scholarship".

Class meetings will be held over video chat, using Zoom accessed from your private class page. While you can use Zoom from your browser, we recommend downloading the desktop client so you have access to all platform features. The Zoom calls will have automated transcription enabled. Please let us know ([email protected]) if you have any questions or concerns about accessibility. 

Check out this page for details about payment plans and discount opportunities.  

COURSE TAKEAWAYS:

- Develop a closer relationship to your dream life and learn to find direct writing inspiration from your dreams

- Create at least one new piece of writing you feel excited about

- Share your work in a gentle, supportive environment and receive process-oriented feedback to help you develop it further

- 10% discount on all future Catapult classes

COURSE EXPECTATIONS:

Students will keep a daily dream-journal. Each week there will be one reading assignment (designed to take about an hour) and one generative writing exercise. Workshop submissions will be read in class and should take 10 minutes or less to read out loud. Students will not be asked to read other students' work outside of class; students will only give verbal feedback to each other. Each student will also receive verbal feedback from the instructor on their writing.

COURSE SKELETON:

Each class will have a similar structure. In the first hour, we'll share our dreams and do writing exercises based on them. In the second hour, two students will share work-in-progress and receive feedback.

Amy Bonnaffons

Amy Bonnaffons is the author of the story collection The Wrong Heaven  (2018) and the novel The Regrets (2020), both published by Little, Brown. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, Kenyon Review, The Sun, and elsewhere, and has been read on NPR's This American Life. She holds a BA in Literature from Yale, an MFA in Creative Writing from NYU, and a PhD in English and Women's Studies from the University of Georgia. Amy is a founding editor of 7x7.la, a literary journal devoted to collaborations between writers and visual artists. She has taught writing at New York University, the University of Georgia, and in many other settings, including senior centers, hospitals, and prisons. Born in New York City, she now lives in Athens, GA.

Photo: Brittainy Lauback

Testimonials

"Bonnaffons reads like Haruki Murakami for the millennial generation; she is weird, tender, and full of magic."

Lucy Tan author of WHAT WE WERE PROMISED

"In her amazing, wildly inventive collection, Amy Bonnaffons writes about transformation, each story further complicating the world as we know it. With a style that blends humor and sincerity in such strange, perfect ratios, Bonnaffons reveals the mysteries inside of us, just waiting to make themselves known. THE WRONG HEAVEN, so wondrous, will alter you in all the necessary ways."

Kevin Wilson author of NOTHING TO SEE HERE and THE FAMILY FANG

"I know contemporary writers who can lacerate, and I know others who are funny, and I even know some who can pull off pathos. But I don't know any who can do all three at once--with mastery, mischief and meaning--like Amy Bonnaffons."

Boris Fishman author of A REPLACEMENT LIFE and DON'T LET MY BABY DO RODEO

“I have taken a fair number of writing classes, literature classes and writing workshops, but it wasn’t until I studied a couple times with Amy Bonnaffons that I came to understand where my art comes from, and how to access that part of me with less doubt and trepidation. Rather than spending most of my writing time looking over my own shoulder, ‘professoring’ my work to smithereens, I’m feeling the wonder, surprise, joy, and even innocence I once experienced as a novice.”

former student

“When I started working with Amy, I was in a creative and spiritual rut. Amy's workshops not only enlivened my work and my spirit, they gave me tangible, usable tools. This work has been life-changing, and I find that my writing - and my whole self, really - is more colorful and alive.”

former student

“Working with Amy is liberating, revelatory, and deeply fun. It helped me see my writing life in a new light, one in which my fears of not being good enough dropped away and in their place was an intimacy with art's ecstatic purpose.”

former student