Alabama Writers Conclave


What’s happening in the Alabama writing world…

Meet Becky McLaughlin, AWC 2019 Conference Faculty.

AWC is thrilled to welcome Becky McLaughlin to Orange Beach as faculty for the 2019 Conference. She will be facilitating the following three workshops at the AWC Conference this November:

Psyche  Character  Plot

Using the concept of the psyche for building character and generating plot, this workshop will show you how psychoanalytic concepts such as the mirror stage, object small a, repression, screen memory, fundamental fantasy, primal scene, desire, and the drive can help you create a psyche, out of which comes character and thus the conflict of plot. Even if a reader is never directly shown a character’s repressed material, a good writer knows that conscious action is the result of the workings of the unconscious, and thus every good writer must know what his or her characters are repressing. You might ponder, for example, how Doris Lessing’s Martha Quest was unconsciously shaped by her mother’s not-good-enough parenting skills or what the unconscious effects of arson were on William Faulkner’s Sarty Snopes or what drives Manley Pointer to steal Hulga’s artificial leg in Flannery O’Connor’s “Good Country People.”

Nervous Nellies, Pervs, and Psychos

Want to write a twisted love story featuring two tortured neurotics, one a beautiful hysteric and the other a lonely obsessional? Intelligent erotica based on the perverse sexuality of the exhibitionist, the fetishist, or the voyeur? A psychologically informed horror story with a psychotic killer as your central character? In this workshop, you will learn what psychoanalysis has to say about the psychical structure of the neurotic, the pervert, and the psychotic (i.e., what makes them tick) so that your fictional characters will have the ring (not to say the tics!) of psychological authenticity.

The Unconscious, Automatic Writing, and Collage Poetry

The Surrealists and their art, whether literary or visual, were deeply influenced by Sigmund Freud and his attempts to access the unconscious, the concept around which all of psychoanalysis revolves. If you have ever felt that your attachment to the rational, reasonable, and probable is restricting your ability to be creative, then the Surrealists’ techniques for stimulating their writing by tapping into the unconscious might be useful to you. In this workshop, we will explore our dreamscapes, play the game of Exquisite Corpse, and engage in various exercises to produce material from the unconscious for use in making collage poetry.

Becky McLaughlin is an associate professor of English at the University of South Alabama, where she teaches courses in critical theory, drama, early American literature, film, and gender studies. She has published essays on a wide range of topics--amputee wannabes, fetishism, feminine jouissance, sexual fantasy, epistemological trauma, auto-ethnography, the voice, and rock music, to name a few--across a wide range of periods and genres such as medieval literature, Restoration comedy, modern poetry, contemporary film, and the fairy tale. Her continuing interest in psychoanalysis has led to the writing of Hysteria, Perversion, and Paranoia in The Canterbury Tales, to be published in 2020 by Medieval Institute Publications, after which she will begin work on a book about gender and madness in contemporary film.

Because of her interest in pedagogy, she has edited a critical theory textbook and, more recently, a collection of essays on pedagogy and theory entitled Putting Theory Into Practice In the Contemporary Classroom: Theory Lessons. She has also published creative nonfiction based on her childhood in the Belgian Congo, her cousin’s suicide in a Memphis jail cell, her experience as an ESL teacher in China just before the Tiananmen Square massacre, the death of an aerobatic pilot in the Arkansas Delta, her first marriage and its annulment, and the panic attack as hysterical symptom. Although a smaller oeuvre, her fiction and poetry have appeared in journals such as Westview, Transverse, and Intelligent Erotica. She is currently editing a collection of essays on Lacanian and Foucauldian approaches to the body, under contract with McFarland Press, and writing a screenplay based on the puritans of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

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Alina Stefanescu