Dare to Dream: Writing with/to Octavia Butler's Parable of the Sower | 5-Week Discussion & Writing Seminar

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Chelsea Bouldin Thursdays, Sept.14- Oct. 12
6:30pm-8:30pm ET
3:30pm-5:30pm PT
5:30pm-7:30pm CT
5 class sessions

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When do we seriously hold time to fertilize our imaginations; to write imaginatively? What if we dare to reframe the goal of our writing from production to a practice of speculation, to play?

Dare to Dream: Writing with/to Octavia Butler's Parable of the Sower is an imaginative writing and reading course that uses Black science fiction writer Octavia Butler’s work as a guide in which we turn to the timely Parable of the Sower (1993) as a tool for our own writing.

We read portions of her text weekly and draw out writing tools that we can implement in our own work. Here, we practice and think about what it means to both read as a writer, and to write as a reader. The contents of each meeting are inspired by assigned portions of the text for a given week, with prompted writing time built into each session.

Writing “with” Butler’s Parable of the Sower opens portals for imagining and ultimately creating anew that the writing in this course seeks to craft and expand.

This class honors ancestral Black women’s work as we simultaneously write our own. This course is for writers of all backgrounds and levels.

About Parable of the Sower:
When global climate change and economic crises lead to social chaos in the early 2020s, California becomes full of dangers, from pervasive water shortage to masses of vagabonds who will do anything to live to see another day. Fifteen-year-old Lauren Olamina lives inside a gated community with her preacher father, family, and neighbors, sheltered from the surrounding anarchy. In a society where any vulnerability is a risk, she suffers from hyperempathy, a debilitating sensitivity to others’ emotions.

Precocious and clear-eyed, Lauren must make her voice heard in order to protect her loved ones from the imminent disasters her small community stubbornly ignores. But what begins as a fight for survival soon leads to something much more: the birth of a new faith . . . and a startling vision of human destiny. 

*PLEASE NOTE: The book is NOT included in your course fee; must be purchased separately, in advance, via the vendor and in the format of your choice.

All class meetings will be held via Zoom. The link to join your Zoom classroom will be provided on the morning of your class. Please check spam folders if you do not receive an email confirmation upon registration. For more information on how to download or use Zoom, please click here.

 Meet Your Instructor:
Chelsea Bouldin

Chelsea Bouldin (she/her) is a Doctoral Fellow in the Cultural Foundations of Education program at Syracuse University. Her work and embodied ethos co-creates worlds that embrace expansive processes of knowing, expression, and being. “How do us Black women, girls, and femmes know ourselves with/in proximity to literature, and how do we write those knowings?” is her most persistent query. As an interdisciplinary scholar, her work and writing style embrace a multiplicity of non-conventional practices and angles. She has led and developed numerous writing workshops and her work has been published by the Friends of the Central Library (FOCL) author series. Flavorful food, Black sci-fi, bound-less writing, impromptu exploration, and laughing endlessly fill her dreamiest days.

Course Takeaways

  • Concrete methods of writing imaginatively
  • Practices of writing as a reader, and reading as a writer
  • Methods of moving through ‘writer's block’
  • Joy of play in one’s writing

Course Expectations

  • Students are expected to purchase Octavia Butler’s (1993) Parable of the Sower and are strongly encouraged to keep up with each session’s ‘pre-meeting’ assigned chapters
  • The unapologetic audacity to dream

Course Skeleton

  • Week 1: sit. Identifying a working focus (Chapters 1-5)
  • Week 2: write. Cultivating your idea (Chapters 6-10)
  • Week 3: share. Partner swapping + affirming feedback (Chapters 11-15)
  • Week 4: play. Continue shaping/adding to your work (Chapters 16-20)
  • Week 5: edit + reflect + share. Put final touches on your piece and reflect on your writing practice (Chapters 21-25)

We offer full refunds for cancellation with written notice up until 7 days before your class start date. From 6 days to more than 24 hours before class begins, we offer a 25% refund. If you drop a class less than 24 hours before the class begins or after it has started, you are ineligible for a refund.