Classroom Exercises


“The act of creative writing requires an awareness of the curious marriage between expression and mechanism. Like a birdhouse or a watercolor painting of a birdhouse, a work of literature is a made thing, a construction, “a machine made out of words.” In my teaching, I place primary focus on the awareness of process and formal decision-making that goes into the act of writing-as-making, and seek ways to demystify the role of author by encouraging close reading and listening skills. Together, my students and I investigate the notion of a text as a series of decisions that are made by both the author and the reader. Creative writing is construction, the creation of forms: forms of identity, forms of perception, forms of experience that begin in the assembly of words and end in making a reader read, think, and, hopefully, write on.”
–Ben Doller, UCLA Instructor Statement