Reading Body Horror as Writers

A quick one today, in case you or someone you know may be interested in a class I’m teaching virtually this fall: Reading Body Horror as Writers.

It’s premised on reading short stories with a handful of creative nonfiction and, honestly, a bunch of critical essays, too, but it’s also focused on generating body horror writing. Oh boy!

There are a lot of theories of horror, the uncanny, the abject, and so forth but for this class I kind of came up with my own: body horror is not just about horrifying violations of the body itself, but about rendering strongly-felt emotions in general— those emotions you might associate with acute bodily response— as horrifying.

So we’ll start with a week on form, and how a lot of contemporary fairy tale re-tellings are basically doing this: you don’t have to change a single thing about the events of a familiar plot to make its grisly and extreme transformations into body horror, you just need to manipulate the emotional tenor of the scenes. The other three weeks will focus on desire, grief, and laughter as horrific states, respectively. As someone who likes to intellectualize everything because all of my emotions are strongly felt and all of them are horrifying, I’m very excited to teach this and I’m glad Catapult let me go off and make up a Theory of Bad Vibes to base a class on.

Anyway, please check it out if you’re interested, and feel free to forward this email or the class page linked above to anyone who might want to participate!