Meet the Teaching Artist: Writing Friendship with Chloe Caldwell
by Writing Workshops Staff
8 months ago
We are thrilled to have an interview with one of our long-standing teaching artists, Chloe Caldwell, a memoirist and nonfiction writer. Chloe has captivated her students through dynamic and craft-focused courses, such as her one-on-one mentorship and as an instructor on three of our nonfiction workshops in Paris, establishing herself as a beloved guide for her writers.
Chloe has a unique ability to connect with her students, and her impressive body of work includes the upcoming book, Orphaned Passages: Notes on Trying, which will be published in 2024 by Graywolf.
Chloe's writing has been featured in prestigious publications such as The Cut, The New York Times, Vice, Salon, Longreads, Nylon, and Bon Appétit, among others.
In her upcoming craft intensive, Writing Friendship: Getting Intimacy and Friends On The Page Effectively, Chloe will delve into the depiction of friendship in literature, exploring both contemporary and modern works. Through collaborative readings and discussions, she will offer valuable insights into effectively portraying friendship in writing, drawing upon examples from her own books.
Hi, Chloe. Please introduce yourself to our audience.
I'm Chloe! I've written a bunch of books — two essay collections, I'll Tell You in Person and Legs Get Led Astray, a novella called WOMEN, and a memoir, The Red Zone. I fell in love with creative nonfiction in my early twenties and have been writing it ever since though these days I find myself reading novels.
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 coming up with classes I haven't seen offered elsewhere. I wrote my essay collection, I'll Tell You in Person, through the lens of intimacy with people who aren't necessarily romantic partners.
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?
The class will begin with some writing exercises and questions to get to know one another. We'll read some excerpts of writing together and then have a conversation about what we read. I'll give a writing exercise based on the reading and some in-class time to write. Then, we'll come back and have optional sharing. At the end we'll have more conversation and a Q & A. I'll also provide a list of book and reading recommendations as well as places to publish.
What was your first literary crush?
Probably Stephen Chbosky, author of Perks of Being a Wallflower. I still remember his author photo on the back o the book and that book made me want to write.
What are you currently reading?
I just finished reading the novel THE GODMOTHER by Carrie Adams which is something I'd never normally purchase but it was the a free library in my town so I grabbed it. I ended up loving it and was so impressed how many damn characters the book follows without it being confusing. I couldn't put it down.
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?
I'm a big believer in following your intuition when it comes to choosing what you work on. What is engaging you at the time? What feels energizing and exciting to work on? If you keep returning to a project over and over, it is be a clear sign you should keep going.
Where do you find inspiration?
Films, TV, conversations with my friends, plants, nature, interviews with writers, music.
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?
I love Sheila Heti's advice about making decisions. She says every longterm project is a series of decisions, and there is never a wrong one, and you can always make a new decision.
What is your favorite book to recommend on the craft of writing? Why this book?
Before and After The Book Deal by Courtney Maum is so unique and chock full of information that there's no other way to find out. Although, that isn't the craft of writing, oops! For craft of writing, I love Tell It Slant: Creating, Refining and Publishing Creative Nonfiction.
Learn More About Working with Chloe:
You can learn more about Chloe's upcoming seminar, Writing Friendship: Getting Intimacy and Friends On The Page Effectively, and sign up now!
We are confident that Chloe's class will inspire and empower our creative writing audience to elevate their storytelling skills and bring authentic friendships to life on the page.
Instructor Chloe Caldwell is the author of three books: the essay collection I’ll Tell You in Person (Coffee House/Emily Books, 2016), the critically acclaimed novella, WOMEN (SF/LD 2014 and Harper Collins UK, 2017) and Legs Get Led Astray. Her memoir, The Red Zone: A Love Story was published on April 19th, 2022 from Soft Skull. Her next book, Orphaned Passages: Notes on Trying, is forthcoming from Graywolf in 2024. Read her work in the The Cut, NY Times, Vice, Salon, Longreads, Nylon, Bon Appétit and many more publications.