5 Questions With Returning LitReactor Instructor, Holiday Reinhorn; 'Embracing The Practice' Starts Monday

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Holiday Reinhorn

A few months back Holiday Reinhorn taught a course at LitReactor. How did it go? This is what one of the students had to say:

Holiday Reinhorn is a wonderful and nurturing instructor. Her workshop techniques allow for multiple perspectives on one piece of writing which allow you to really dig in and figure out what you're trying to say and do. Additionally, Holiday was extremely encouraging in every way, shape, and form. Even though it was online, I felt like I was friends with her, and most of my classmates by the end.

So we're thrilled that Reinhorn is back for a second round of Embracing the Practice, aimed at teaching you how to develop your skills at short fiction, while building a daily writing practice. Reinhorn, the author of Big Cats: Stories, will cover a number of areas, including the essential elements of short fiction, the benefits and guiding principles for starting a writer's notebook, and how to make the most of instructor and community feedback, while finding your own vision. 

We posed a couple of questions to Holiday, so you can get to know her: 


Rob Hart: This is your second time teaching this class at LitReactor. What did you learn last time, and what do you hope to bring into this new session?

Holiday Reinhorn: Overall, I was really blown away by the caliber and talent of the LitReactor students. My class last November was one of the best teaching experiences I’ve had. When I did Embracing the Practice last fall, it was the first class I’d ever taught online, so I’ve definitely learned how to compress, refine and streamline my syllabus so that each student can get the most out of the format in the time we have. 

RH: You talk about the importance of a writer determining his or her own writing methods. Can you tell us one of your practices, and why it's important to your process?  

All of my stories come from notebooks, initially. Nothing comes from sitting down at the computer and going from there. I go through six or eight notebooks a year usually.

HR: My methods and process are always evolving, but two things about my practice never change:

Writing freehand in my notebook for at least 10 minutes a day both when I’m composing and in the editing process.

Drawing up my writing schedule each week, committing to it and being accountable for those hours, just as I would be at any job.  

RH: Part of your class is related to the benefits and guiding principles of starting a writers' notebook. What's your notebook of choice, and why? And, how long does it take you to go through a single notebook?  

HR: I like really cheap notebooks that remind me of the seventies. Mead college lined notebooks in different colors are my favorite. I label each notebook I go through by place and date. I title everything I write in there and keep a table of contents so I can travel back through them like a memory library. All of my stories come from notebooks, initially. Nothing comes from sitting down at the computer and going from there. I go through six or eight notebooks a year usually.   

RH: If someone was interested in taking your class, who would you suggest they read, to prepare?  

HR: Books I love about the process of writing are Bird by Bird by Ann LaMott and The Half-Known World by Robert Boswell. Another great essay is Mr. Brain, He Needs A Song by Barry Hannah. 

Really, there is no “preparation” for my class however, except to be ready to write whatever needs to be written. An open mind and the desire to commit to the work and the other writers in the community for six weeks is all that’s necessary.

RH: Can the principles of short-story writing be applied to longer forms, like novellas and novels?  

HR: The principles of short story writing are invaluable to longer forms. In a short story you just have to be able to be far more economical with every single one. A short story is the ship in a bottle, a novel is the full-size ship.

Click here to learn more about the class. 

Image of Big Cats: Stories
Manufacturer: Free Press
Part Number:
Rob Hart

Interview by Rob Hart

Rob Hart is the class director at LitReactor, as well as the publisher at MysteriousPress.com. He's the author of New Yorked, nominated for the Anthony Award for Best First Novel, as well as City of Rose and South Village. Short stories have appeared in publications like Shotgun Honey, Thuglit, Needle, Joyland, All Due Respect, and Helix Literary Magazine. Non-fiction has appeared at Salon, The Daily Beast, Birth.Movies.Death, The Literary Hub, Electric Literature, and Nailed. He lives in New York City. Find him online at www.robwhart.com

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Renfield's picture
Renfield from Hell is reading 20th Century Ghosts April 14, 2012 - 7:16pm

Fantastic interview, great insights. I'd love to take this class one of these times.

That Barry Hannah piece is actually titled "Mr Brain He Want a Song" and is over at TSU's literary journal.