Monstrous Women NEWS!

avignon
Les Demoiselles d’Avignon by Pablo Picasso

Last Fall, I offered the first modules of Monstrous Women. I’d always envisioned it as a generative workshop with two distinct sets of classes, but the funny thing is that monstrous women and women monsters refuse to be sorted and placed in tidy categories. I noticed some overlap, and so I decided to just run with it.

At the end of August, I will be running the second collection of Monstrous Women with all new material. This semester the selections will focus on The Shifting Shapes of Animal Brides, The Seductive Allure of the Femme Fatale, Weeping Women and Tearful Prophecies, The Female Descent into Hysteria and Madness, and Mayhem in Numbers and the Sacred Three. At the moment, there are only TWO seats left in the Thursday evening course. (Note: This is Friday morning AEDT for the Australian writers.) Come join us. It’s going to be a monstrously wonderful time.

On a side note, if you’re interested in the course, but don’t know what to expect, check out the pieces below, which were published by alums of the first session of Monstrous Women. Enjoy!

The Velvet Castles of the Night” by Claire Eliza Bartlett (Daily Science Fiction)

They wait for you, in the velvet castles of the night.

It’s not like they have anything better to do. Everyone knows the story stops for the hero, and who would the hero be but you? That is why every mirror in every inn in this town is enchanted, showing chiseled jaws, sculpted arms. Nine out of ten heroes have a verified need for encouragement along the way.

Author’s Notes: “The Velvet Castles of the Night” was inspired by the Monstrous Women class on vampires, and my own dislike of vampires, particularly female ones, and the way they are depicted in media.

Author Bio: Claire Eliza Bartlett is a US citizen who grew up in Colorado. She studied history and archaeology and spent time in Switzerland and Wales before settling in Denmark for good. When not at her computer telling mostly false stories, she works as a tour guide in Copenhagen, telling stories that are (mostly) true.

“Hidden in the Shadow of a God” by Cassandra Schoeber (Beneath Yggdrasil’s Shadow)

Odin wasn’t returning. I’d been a fool. Thinking I was special to be granted beauty, to share his bed. Believing that because Odin chose me, that meant that I was still one of the gods. But every time he left, his magic seeped out of my veins. And I waited and waited, dependent on his good will and his return.

Like god, like man.

The bastard had used me. He’d enticed me, fucked me, and left me behind.

Without Odin, I had no more magic. And without his magic, I was only one thing.

The Hidden One.

37375855_823846428004387_3958543791899541504_oAuthor’s Notes: Intrigued by the tales of the Norse gods, I was listening to Neil Gaiman read aloud from his book on Norse Mythology. In his forward, he mentions that only a few Norse goddesses are remembered in story today. Many goddesses have names, but their lives and their deeds have long been forgotten. Curious, I researched the “forgotten ones”, intent on giving one of those goddesses a voice. I decided upon Hulda, who is only mentioned briefly as a witch and Odin’s mistress. I figured it must take a great woman to attract both the Allfather’s attention and ultimately his rejection, and so the seed for this story was planted.

In addition, during Monstrous Women, I discovered that the word “hulder” – the term for a female seductress with a cow’s tail – may have originated from Hulda’s name. I merged the two concepts, blending together the voice of a tale-less goddess with the plight of a woman cursed with the tail of a cow. And so, after hundreds of years forgotten, Hulda’s story is finally being told.

Author Bio: Cassandra Schoeber is a dark fantasy and horror writer. Unfortunately, there are times when her stories escape the page, wreak havoc, and eat innocent bystanders. She has published one novella, Ravenous with Fantasia Divinity Magazine, as well as several short stories, including: “Let It Snow” (Silver Apples Magazine); “When the Last Petal Falls” (Fantasia Divinity Magazine); “Hidden in the Shadow of a God” (Fantasia Divinity Magazine); and “He Knows” (Short and Twisted Christmas Tales).

Monstrous Women Schedule

undine2Summer is coming to a close, and we’re getting geared up for a new section of Monstrous Women with Introductions starting the last week of August. There are currently only three seats left for the Tuesday Thursday night section of this workshop. Classes run through the first week of December and will be held from 6-8:30 pm MST (5-7:30 pm PST/ 7-9:30 pm CST/ 8-10:30 EST/ 10 am-12:30 pm Wednesday AEST).

Over the course of 14 weeks, participants will write five short stories based on the following themes: The Shifting Shapes of Animal Brides, The Seductive Allure of the Femme Fatale, Weeping Women and Tearful Prophecies, The Female Descent into Hysteria and Madness, Mayhem in Numbers and the Sacred Three. Participants will also have the opportunity to workshop a selection of revised stories during portfolio sessions, which are held the last two weeks of class.

the mere wifeIn addition to the workshop materials and critique sessions, participants are required to read The Mere Wife by Maria Dahvana Headley–a modern retelling of Beowulf from the perspective of Grendel’s mother. According to Headley, Beowulf has been translated incorrectly, and her retelling hinges on one word in particular: aglæca/æglæca. This word is used to describe not only Beowulf, but also his three antagonists Grendel, Grendel’s mother, and the dragon as well.  Read more about Headley’s research and applications towards a modern retelling in the NPR Author Interview: “Beowulf In The Suburbs? ‘The Mere Wife’ Is An Epic Retelling“.

New York Times bestselling author Maria Dahvana Headley presents a modern retelling of the literary classic Beowulf, set in American suburbia as two mothers―a housewife and a battle-hardened veteran―fight to protect those they love in The Mere Wife.

REGISTRATION: To save a seat for Monstrous Women: A Feminist Approach to Myth and Myth, send an email request for an invoice to Carina Bissett at cmariebissett@gmail.com. The fee to attend the workshop is $450, payable to cmariebissett@gmail.com via PayPal. There is a $100 non-refundable deposit required to hold your spot with payment in FULL prior to the first class. (Payment plans available upon request.) Returning students receive a 10% discount. Registration packet includes detailed information on each module, expectations and etiquette, and educational materials. Space is limited.