Erin Robinsong is a writer, interdisciplinary artist and editor. Her debut collection of poems, Rag Cosmology was released with Book Thug in Spring 2017. Most recently, her work can be found in Tag: Canadian Poets at Play, The Capilano Review, and The Goose. She has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Guelph, and has also taught writing at Humber College and in the Toronto Public Libraries with Swallowing Clouds.
I love Story Is a State of Mind. It is the most power-packed, electrifying way to study and practice the art of fiction I have encountered. It wakes up the places in ourselves where story lives, through the honing of attention, ability to be in the unknown, and curiosity—as well as the nuts, bolts and secrets of craft. Students come away from the course having written incredible stories, but not only that, they come away with a deepened writing practice, writing community, and set of tools that are endlessly generative.
I love teaching for this school because I have seen students develop their craft and writing practice more here than in years of creative writing workshops. The writing that emerges is astonishing. It’s so rewarding to guide writers through the process, offering feedback and support, but what I love best is the community of support and insight that arises as students write, read, share, reflect, and critique together.
On that note, after spending years in creative writing workshops with bodies, I’ll admit I was skeptical that an online writing school could foster the kind of chemistry and accountability that makes for success. What I found, however, was not only that chemistry and accountability showed up (in spades!), but that the digital/written medium can elicit a different, deeper quality of listening and reflection. For instance, with more time to reflect on the material via written conversation and feedback, we accidentally created valuable documents for ourselves. Also, because students are not confined geographically, workshop groupings are assigned with chemistry, compatibility, and writing experience in mind, which is rarely possible to this degree in regular classroom workshops. So, I’m a fan now. It really, really works (even for students who did not consider themselves ‘tech savvy’ before).
Personally, this course and the writers I’ve seen go through it have taught me as much about craft (how story works) as it has about how to simply open the door to the unknown and walk out into it; how to transform ‘trying’ into a practice of discovery, and I am endlessly curious about what will come from it next.