Meet the Teaching Artist: Innovating in Flash with CB Anderson
by Writing Workshops Staff
A month ago
We're pleased to introduce the accomplished CB Anderson to our creative writing community. Anderson's work, known for its depth and precision, has been published in The Iowa Review, Narrative, and Crazyhorse. Her book Home Now was featured in The New Yorker, and River Talk was listed among the Kirkus Reviews Best Books of 2014. Her chapbook Blue Lion Days won the 2023 Jeanne Leiby Memorial Award and is set for publication in 2024.
For those intrigued by flash fiction, Anderson's upcoming seminar, Innovating in Flash: A Generative Zoom Workshop, offers a comprehensive look into the form's unique structures, with an emphasis on the braid and collage techniques. Beyond learning from published examples, participants will have the opportunity to create their own pieces and receive guidance on the current flash fiction market and potential submission venues. Limited to 16 writers, this workshop ensures a focused and productive setting for all attendees. It's an ideal space for writers keen on refining their flash fiction skills and gaining practical insights.
Hi, CB. Please introduce yourself to our audience.
Hi everyone— I’m CB Anderson, cross-genre writer. I've authored a fiction collection, a narrative nonfiction book, and the forthcoming short-works chapbook Blue Lion Days. Have also taught writing at several universities. I live in Boston and Maine with my family. Enjoy ocean swimming, karaoke, reading, and coaxing flowers to grow in bedrock. Also roadtrips, the more circuitous the better. My work has appeared in The Iowa Review, Narrative, Crazyhorse, North American Review, Pleiades, Brevity, Flash Fiction Forward, Boston Magazine, and elsewhere.
What made you want to teach this specific class? Is it something you are focusing on in your own writing practice? Have you noticed a need to focus on this element of craft?
I love reading, writing, and studying flash. Enjoy the challenge of trying to craft something pared to its essence without losing character, conflict, subtext— and while still providing synthesis. In the past couple of years I've been having a lot of fun experimenting with form.
Give us a breakdown of how the course is going to go. What can the students expect? What is your favorite part about this class you've dreamed up?
We'll examine the flash braid and the collage during this generative workshop. After instruction and close consideration of published examples, participants will craft two pieces based on a series of prompts/suggestions. I'll also provide a list of possible venues for finished pieces— flash is hot right now!
What was your first literary crush?
Annie Proulx. Can there be two? (Margaret Atwood.)
What are you currently reading?
The Blue Flower by Penelope Fitzgerald
How do you choose what you're working on? When do you know it is the next thing you want to write all the way to THE END?
Hmm interesting question. I sometimes (often?) reach a point in a piece where I want to stop writing it. So it's a matter of pushing through the resistance. (See question below about the best writing wisdom I've received.)
Where do you find inspiration?
Dropping down online rabbit holes at night (too much of this but fun!); visual art; a finger-and--a-half of bourbon; being in nature; reading poetry; reading anything.
What is the best piece of writing wisdom you've received that you can pass along to our readers? How did it impact your work? Why has this advice stuck with you?
The short-story writer Andre Dubus once told our workshop to stop writing while you still know where you’re headed, so you don’t return to the page "cold." Invaluable advice. And a writing friend recommends buying a case of Ass Glue and applying as necessary.
What is your favorite book to recommend on the craft of writing? Why this book?
I learn from and often reread collections: Mavis Gallant, Donald Barthelme, Lesley Nneka Arimah, Flannery O’Connor, George Saunders, Carmen Maria Machado, Alice Munro, Shirley Jackson. So many great ones!
Learn More About Working with CB:
You can learn more about CB's upcoming class, Innovating in Flash, and sign up now.
Instructor CB Anderson's work has appeared in The Iowa Review, Narrative, North American Review, Flash Fiction Forward (W.W. Norton), Crazyhorse, Brevity, SmokeLong Quarterly, and others. The New Yorker included her book Home Now (2019) in "Briefly Noted,” and a collection River Talk was a Kirkus Reviews Best Books of 2014. Her chapbook Blue Lion Days received the 2023 Jeanne Leiby Memorial Award and is forthcoming in 2024. Awards include the 2022 Winning Writers Tom Howard prize and 2nd place in the Zoetrope: All-Story Contest. Anderson lives in Maine and Massachusetts and teaches writing at venues across the U.S. Visit her website here.