03 Feb “Leading a laboratory filled with mad scientists”: Q&A with teaching artist Gabriel Bump
Teaching artist Gabriel Bump has a busy 2020 ahead: his debut novel, Everywhere You Don’t Belong, hits bookshelves on February 4, he’s traveling the country on a book tour, and he’s teaching at the University at Buffalo and—lucky us!—Just Buffalo.
Gabe took the time to chat with us about his upcoming Just Buffalo workshop for writers of all ages, and what’s inspiring him these days. Read on:
How long have you been a teaching artist with Just Buffalo, and what do you enjoy most about working with writers and leading workshops here?
I started teaching at Just Buffalo last spring. I love helping curious burgeoning writers mess around with ideas and techniques.
Can you describe the atmosphere of your workshops?
My workshops allow students to find their writing voice, trust their instincts. I imagine the role as leading a laboratory filled with mad scientists.
Your class encourages writers to unearth or return to a story they may have started but never felt able or ready to finish. How do you know when a story is done—or, as your class description says, has lived up to its full potential?
My short story workshop is designed to push stories to a place where authors feel like they’ve said everything they wanted to say in the most interesting way possible. That finish line is different for everybody. Putting your story in front of kind-minded people is the best way to see if your story is working, if you’re achieving your goals.
What books, music, movies, and art are inspiring you these days?
I read a lot of John Berger’s art criticism this month, recommended to me by a brilliant friend from grad school. I’m also reading books about nature. The Overstory by Richard Powers struck a nice chord. I listen to Frank Ocean every day.
Can you leave us with a writing prompt inspired by one of your workshops?
Take 750 words from a story in progress. Cut it down to 250 words. Take notice of what you deemed essential enough to keep, what your story could live without.
What would you say to someone considering a workshop?
Bring your story out into the world! Someone, somewhere, needs to read it.
Old Story, New Story: Short Fiction with Gabriel Bump begins April 15. Registration is open now.
Just Buffalo Writing Workshops are designed for any level of writer, from beginner to advanced. Taught by established writers, hone your craft in a relaxed, nonjudgmental atmosphere. Explore the full slate of Spring 2020 writing workshops.