Sports are a vital part of western culture, yet we rarely reflect upon, much less write about, how sports have influenced our lives, our families, or our communities. In this four-week writing class, we will use sports as a lens through which to study and write personal essays.
Fear not! To flourish in this course, you need not have an athletic bone in your body. We will be exercising our literary muscles with daily craft talks and guided writing prompts. Together we will learn about essay structure, voice, pacing, scope, and audience. And we will read and discuss excerpts of longer works by poets, novelists, and memoirists such as Natalie Diaz, Pat Conroy, Reginald Dwayne Betts, Lucy Jane Bledsoe, John Edgar Wideman, John Updike, and Sue Hyon Bae.
With these diverse authors as our guides, we will write about our own complicated relationships to sport. How do sports affect our self-image and self-worth? Are sports a religious activity? A patriotic activity? A selfish or a selfless activity? What is a “team player”? How do we view race, gender, and sexuality through the lens of sport?
By the end of the course students will be on their way to writing personal essays inspired by sports.
Mary Volmer is the author of two novels: Crown of Dust and Reliance, Illinois. Her essays, reviews, and short stories have appeared in various publications, including Mutha Magazine, The Common Politic, Women’s Basketball Magazine, Fiction Writers Review, Brevity, The New Orleans Review, and Ploughshares (online).
After earning a master’s degree at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, where she was a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar, Mary earned an MFA in Creative Writing at Saint Mary’s College (CA). She has been awarded residencies at the Vermont Studio Center and Hedgebrook and was the spring 2015 Distinguished Visiting Writer in Residence at Saint Mary’s College.