ClassExperimenting with Form: The Hermit Crab Essay
The term “hermit crab essay,” coined by Brenda Miller and Suzanne Paola in their book Tell It Slant: Writing and Shaping Creative Nonfiction, refers to essays that take the form of something un-essay-like—a recipe, a how-to manual, a marriage license—and use this unexpected structure to tell a story or explore a topic.
Hermit crab essays allow writers to approach the mundane with renewed energy and the painful with a suit of armor. Together, we will discuss and practice this form, seeking to find humorous and innovative ways to tell the true stories we might otherwise avoid.
In this four-hour session, we will read example essays, compose in class, and go home with writing prompts to continue experimenting with hermit crab essays and hybridity in general. Because this is a class for all levels, student work will not undergo detailed workshops; that said, we will read and share excerpts from the work they write in session. By the end of class, students will have the opening (or perhaps even a full draft!) of their own hermit crab essay.
Instructions for Accessing This Online Class
In order to access live class meetings, you must have the Zoom application downloaded to your computer. You will also need a WiFi/Internet connection throughout the duration of your scheduled meeting and a computer with audio and video capability. The information to join your Zoom classroom will be provided in your confirmation email upon registration. Please check spam folders if you do not see this email upon registration. For more information on how to use Zoom, please see our training manual here.