The publishing industry is changing. There is a broader definition now of what storytelling looks like, and who storytellers are. But change is coming painfully slowly, and it needs to be changed from all fronts, including accepting that there are different, beautiful, engaging ways to tell a story than we have previously seen on our shelves, in our classrooms, and in our workshops.
The traditional workshop model worked for those whose stories were traditionally acceptable, stories that often perpetuated bias and cut out many voices. I work to educate myself about storytelling from different cultures. I actively seek new ways to create workshops that embrace different story styles and push the individual creator forward. I love the low-residency model of the Creative Writing program because I can individualize instruction for each mentee.
It is, I hope, a way to break new ground while also cracking open something for each writer. The goal is to find stories that only you can tell, and the format that best serves the story, and then focusing on the craft that illuminates both. It is tough, careful work, and my favorite thing about teaching.