Classy Talk with Christine Hemp: Spring 2014

Posted Mon, 3/10/2014 - 9:46am by  |  Category:

CEH bio pic 2013What is the title of your class?  

Trust the Details: Finding the Aha! in your Essay

I’m teaching two separate, independent sections — one in March and another at the end of April.

People should take this class if…

If you are willing to be surprised, and if you want to have fun (as a beginning or experienced writer) wooing and shaping a story that’s already inside of you—a fishing trip, a meal you had in Oslo, the day you heard Jesse Jackson speak, or a moment when the sun hit the birches and you were changed. If you are willing to be surprised, so too will the reader. Aha!

Can your students connect with you on social media?

Sure — Facebook or visit my website and my blog: Hempsonian Institute of Higher Yearning

Are any of your works online and available to the public?

Tune into my NPR  pieces, read some recent Publications, or visit my Blog.

What’s your teaching philosophy?

To me, writing is not about answers; it’s about asking the right questions. Same with teaching. I find that trust and invitation far outweigh prescription and rule when it comes to generating lively, meaningful, and engaging work. Craft comes after the words are on the page. I’m interested in making and teaching art, stuff that matters.

If you could have any famous actor read one of your pieces to you, who would it be and why?

Often when actors read poetry, essays or fiction, it ends up being all about them instead of the piece (they can’t help themselves!), but if I had to choose, I’d say Cate Blanchett because she can morph into and adapt myriad characters and voices. She was brilliant in Blue Jasmine but didn’t you love her in Elizabeth!?

What are you currently working on?

A memoir called Safe.

What’s your favorite “rule” of writing to break in your own writing?

Hmmmm. Rules are tough for me anyway, but I often break the rule of sitting at my desk for an hour’s stint at a time (usually my goal). Over the years I’ve learned to shhhh self loathing, simply because popping out of my studio to weed my garden, make myself a latte, or play with my Arabian horse Buddy can often accelerate the writing. When my mind is too chattery, my body can help me find the right word or get unstuck.

What are you reading now? If you could pair it with a beverage (alcoholic or otherwise), what would you choose?

Robert Hass’s What Light Can Do, a collection of his essays on art, imagination, and the natural world. I’d say it goes with a chilled Prosecco in a nice, fluted glass.

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