Visiting Artist at Wheaton College

10.10.15

I recently participated in the Eveyln Danzig Haas '39 Visiting Artists Program at Wheaton College by guest teaching a couple of classes in creative nonfiction. The theme I focussed on was "triangulation in the personal essay." My favorite way of illustrating this idea is with a soccer metaphor: the "wall pass." In the wall pass, Player 1 passes to Player 2, then advances toward the goal so as to be in position to make a shot after Player 2 returns the ball. It's a wonderful, concrete way of thinking about how we can use small-scale descriptive passages to help open the field for larger, more philosophical explorations. Annie Dillard's "Living Like Weasels" is a great example of this technique. As is G. K. Chesterton's beauty-beauty-beautiful "A Piece of Chalk."