This is the evolving workshop I've been leading since summer 2022.
What are the things that are impossible to write about? What are the structures / unstructures that are impossible for writing to pull off?
How can doing those impossible things change our sense of what writing is, and who we are as artists?
And how does an embodied experience of the world give shimmer and shape to particular forms of impossibility?
Impossible Writing workshops proceed through prompts, readings, discussion, weird left turns, responding to each others' work, personalized assignments, and collective reflection on both what we make and how we made it.
January 28 February 4, 11, 18, 25
Limited to 8 people. Sliding scale: 275-475* (see below)
Relational Forms (Feb-March 2024) Thursdays, 11-1p PST
Every act of writing proposes a form of relationship. An I, perhaps; a you; perhaps a we, or a them, or an us, or a she. What if, instead of asking, what do I want to write, we asked, what kind of relationship am I proposing here?
We’ll take up form as a container for togetherness, and experiments in writing as experiments in negotiating how we want to be with others.
There will be writing, reading, and reflecting. We’ll have short weekly assignments, personalized prompts, source materials, discussion, and - most importantly - a temporary but tender community of writers.
February 8, 15, 22, 29 March 7
Limited to 8 people. Sliding scale: 275-475* (see below)
Words from People
Impossible Writing allowed me to go from impossible to possible. I had a gigantic writers' block for months before joining the classes with Agnes. Cut to now, and I've never felt better about my writing abilities, the words on the page and just being able to really understand writing as a fun creative form. The beautiful, generative, kind, soft, gentle way IW is structured has given me such confidence (and as someone queer, neurodiverse and who had a terrible time in the education system, this is no mean feat). Emma Sutton
Impossible Writing, in taking us away from the expected arrangements of the writing workshop, leads us subtly and deeply into realms of improvisation, experimentation, and a network of sustained support that had very surprising and reverberating outcomes for me, and my writing practice. Agnes teaches with a light touch, and seems always to know when to push a bit further, and when to let us let it go and move on. The material and assignments were among the richest I've encountered in a workshop environment. Rocket Caleshu
Regardless of what work I do with her, Agnes consistently and gently shows me how vastly bigger it could be. She has helped me center and celebrate the feminine in my work; given me permission to trust myself fully; and modeled an approach in which the teacher scrambles less (than I normally do) while the students learn more. Liesel Euler
To study with Agnes and those in her orbit is a pleasure and a privilege. Impossible Writing anchored me into myself, fed me with thoughts and readings I wouldn’t have otherwise been exposed to, and introduced me to a cohort of brilliant, kind, and funny writers. My summer, my work, and my writing life would not be the same without it. Agnes’s workshop makes the impossible approachable, something you can circle around and sniff and giggle at and pass back and forth amongst you. Lauren Matthews
Impossible Writing with Agnes helped me expand my idea of what writing is and can be. It felt like getting a new pair of glasses. It felt like discovering a new food. It felt like being led by a highly qualified, kind, and precise astronaut into space, and that astronaut is Agnes. Sarah Loucks
I love, love, loved it and I can't recommend it enough. This class changed the way I think about my writing. It challenged my perceived obstacles and gave me new ways to approach my work. Stefanie Abel Horowitz
Impossible Writing is like being invited into a coven of witches that cheer you on to invent your own witch-spells, witch-planet, and witch-gender. I found the air in this group to be made of generosity and permission where you'd normally find mere oxygen. Rob Handel
Impossible Writing helped me expand my confidence as a writer, and also re-asserted that there is a non-hierarchical space of learning and collaboration. The writers drawn to Agnes's workshops are also so incredible that I was excited to just sit and learn from them as much as share work. Agnes creates an atmosphere like a magician brewing a special mix of art, poetry, silliness that allows for the individual artists to navigate the trauma and dark spaces that might be the sources of their most personal work. Even as a veteran artist/writer, these workshops opened up this space where art, spirituality, creativity, selfie-ness and selflessness could go inside together. Much like meditation or taking a long walk through the woods of an unknown city, Agnes and the community helped me face my own murky spaces with pleasure and freedom. Marianna
When I signed up, I was not aware I would be tapping into something that was deemed "impossible," because I believe the act of writing is a courageous act, even if the writing is simple. However, what I discovered is different vantage points (prompts, and readings,) in can unearth a voice that I never intended to share or didn't know I had the capability to share. For me now, the impossibility is the connection to the most joyous, playful, painful, and vulnerable aspects of my writer's voice. Laura Anne Harris
I’ve been secretly wanting to write for years now and IW gave me the soft push I needed. I entered into the workshop intimidated and nervous, and I couldn’t have imagined the kind of engagement, thoughtfulness and support I would receive. Writing used to feel esoteric to me and IW helped me to define the work for myself. Mele Sabú Borges
As "not a writer," writing helped to shift my relationship to both the idea and the reality of a writing practice, imagine how my creative practice can expand through writing, and was a soft and inspiring place to land my creative thinking for a while. Agnes is kind, open, brilliant, and wholly unusual in her approach and references. I think about the texts we read constantly. Would return in a heartbeat. Sara Lyons
"Agnes is a luminous beacon of creativity. Her teaching is exquisitely playful and profound. She imbued a sense of lightness in my process and my work that feels indispensable now. Her class expanded my vision of what is possible in my artistic life and I feel so grateful to have found it. Highly recommended!" David Largman Murray
Agnes is a creative, considerate, and sensible facilitator who can get lost in the moment while keeping everyone on track. The chosen readings and resulting discussions helped me to embrace possible new reasons for writing. While the prompts and group critiques are more like a collective deep dive into existing personal practices and universes that helped participants to expand the ideas that were already there. Agnes can inspire, challenge, and support individual writing practices because she seems to be involved in an ongoing honest love affair with writing as a mode of expression while also being deeply aware of the challenges one faces when trying to write from an authentic place. Engaging with the weekly prompts, I was able to identify some structural patterns and motivations in my writing that I am continuing to explore. The workshop helped me to embrace my fragmented writing style. Linda Franke
*On workshop fees, sliding scales, etc.
Ok a few thoughts on this.
I like keeping these spaces accessible. I am more interested in the ongoing community and art-ecosystem building of it all than I am in making bazillions of dollars. Teaching in various forms is also central to my livelihood. So there's that.
I think people of color should pay less money for things than white people (see under: history). I think access to resources is inseparable from intergenerational realities, that the logic of "I earned it" or "I deserve it" is often built on laughable and corrosive fictions.
What we pay for a workshop can sometimes shape how we show up. These workshops aren't lectures, or performances, their deepest potentialities are something a group creates together. Paying something can inform the commitment we make to participating in that electricity of shared space. So I think it's good to pay something. But paying too much can mean we lose the lightness, and the peripheral vision -- which is where the richest work happens.
(And also: our vulnerability and commitment are not programmed by money. If I didn't believe that to be true, oh gawd, all would be lost...)
I used to have two tiers, one for POC, one for non-POC. That's still central to how I want these spaces to work. I found that I needed to charge a little more than I did for the first year of doing it, though, and realized I should just lay my cards on the table and trust people to make the call that's right for them.
So think about the above factors, and set your fee within the sliding scale as feels right. And if you want to talk more, or the scale I'm proposing is unmanageable, just write me: tomorrowwillbethe22ndcentury [at] gmail [dot] com.
Time with so many extraordinary artists and humans is one of the great joys of doing these. At this point, there are a good number of us. I'm starting to play with trying to keep in loose community; with horizontal forms of support, discovery, accountability. So there's that part of all this, too.