Last spring, author Jonathan Safran Foer was invited to teach a creative writing class at N.Y.U. It seems to have been a mutually felicitous experience, because he’s returning in the fall, with a course called “Impossible Writing,” to be held on Wednesdays from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. From the catalog description:
“As with any art, literature’s form determines what is possible. In this class, we will challenge the boundaries of the form through a series of ‘impossible’ exercises—that is, pieces of writing that are asked to do what writing cannot do. [We wonder how the pieces of writing will respond to this challenging request?] For example, one assignment challenges literature’s unique portability by generating ‘site-specific’ stories around campus. Another assignment focuses on the lack of explicit tonality and atmosphere in writing by generating oral stories. In our discussions about the work produced, we will explore the ways that these radical techniques can be brought into more traditional writing. This class will focus on the production of work, and students will be expected to produce a piece of writing every week, usually between two paragraphs and four pages.” Just call him the Tim Gunn of literature!