Seyward’s fiction has been short-listed for the Journey Prize and a National Magazine Award, and long-listed for the CBC Short Story Award. Her stories appear in PRISM International, Grain, Found Press, Riddle Fence, and SubTerrain.
I want to be a teacher for Story Is a State of Mind because when I took the course a few years ago I found it to be rigorous and good. First, through a series of exercises and readings, the course tries to return people to the unrestricted, wild impulses they may have had as children. Then it immediately puts shaping force on that energy with clear, specific technical pointers. So there is a nice marriage of content and craft. All of this excites me. My job as a teacher is to pass on my excitement as articulately as possible, to give feedback, and to facilitate kindhearted, high-level discussion between students, who, in my experience so far, have been passionate and intelligent writers and readers.
I agree with fellow TA Erin Robinsong that the online format offers something unique. If you’re like me, witty online banter is a mode of encounter to aspire to in another life. But there’s a different kind of friendship that comes about through the intense, sustained engagement with other people’s work, and with their thoughts on the various stories we’ll be analyzing. Conversations in class time are slow and accretive. Thoughts tend to be longer and more developed than in real time, which means that even in the more casual parts of the class, everyone—students and teachers—pushes themselves.