Intro to Lit: Creative Writing

ENG273: Intro to Creative Writing: He‘enalu (Surfing) (WI)

“A new wave of creative writing”

In this course, we will review a collection of traditional Hawaiian surfing mo‘olelo in conjunction with contemporary surf literature comprised from films, documentaries, contests, museums, books, galleries, magazines, websites, and social media to consider how each of these venues connect and interact with the ocean. We will draw comparisons across this archive of surfing literature to establish elements of creative writing that can be found in journalism, biography, poetry, chant, lyrics, short story, photography, videography, and forms of new media. Students will be challenged to consider if the practice of surfing or other ocean related activities can serve as a form of creative writing and they will be encouraged to implement performance related artforms into their assignments or projects. In this context, reading may refer to the way a surfer interprets the ocean prior to paddling out and literature might represent the skills, composition, and styles that a surfer chooses to respond and interact with the waves. If studentsʻ schedules permit, we may meet at designated surf zones to provide a more appropriate platform for our research.


Main Course Assignments: 

Journal: Students will maintain a daily journal about their favorite surf spot, beach location or something equivalent. The recorded material may be written, visual or audio and the information may include surf data, weather patterns, poetry, drawings, history et. al.

Favorite Surf Zone:  Write a 2000 word essay about your favorite surf spot or beach location.  Students should seek to access oral histories, maps, topography and a variety of information that has been written about this place to form a creative essay. If students are interested, we can form a class webpage to showcase their work.

Creative Review: 750 words. Students can choose a book, film, video, social media page, website, documentary, magazine article, museum, surf contest, photography book, etc. about surfing or related coastal activities and write a review about this venue.

Final Project: 1250 words. The final project should contain authentic research that students have generated throughout the class which can be expressed in some form of creative writing. Students may implement traditional forms of creative writing such as poetry, short story, journalism, biography, etc., or they can experiment with the performance of surfing as a form of creative writing and use their 1250 words as an analysis or explanation of the performance. For example, students can submit a live surfing performance, surfing pictures or a video, and then discuss its relationship with creative writing, a particular surf spot or some form of surfing genealogy. Students could create a similar project by analyzing the surfing style and composition of a surfer they admire. I am open to other suggestions and ideas about the final projects.