Stanley Kunitz, in an essay called “The Layers” in Next-to-Last Things, writes: “One of the great resources of the poetic imagination is its capacity to mount thought on thought, event on event, image on image, time on time, a process that I term ‘layering.’ The life of the mind is largely a buried life.” Just so, the literary products of the mind are composed through this same process of layering. Scenes, stories, and characters with depth and authenticity are rarely, if ever, created in a single burst. Like great paintings, they come to life bit by bit, as the artist approaches from different angles, bringing a different focus with each pass. In this workshop, we’ll deconstructing the opening of my novel Glorious Boy to see how the scene was built, layer by layer.
Aimee Liu is the bestselling author of the novels Glorious Boy, Flash House, Cloud Mountain, and Face, as well as thememoirs Gaining: The Truth About Life After Eating Disorders and Solitaire. Her books include a Literary Guild Super Release and have been published in more than twelve languages and serialized in Good Housekeeping. She also is the editor of Alchemy of the Word: Writers Talk About Writing, and Restoring Our Bodies, Reclaiming Our Lives: Guidance and Reflections on Recovery from Eating Disorders. Her articles have appeared in The Los Angeles Times, Ms., Literary Hub, The Rumpus, The Los Angeles Review of Books and other publications. She holds an MFA in creative writing from the Bennington Writing Seminars and taught for more than 15 years in Goddard College’s low-residency MFA in Creative Writing Program. More at aimeeliu.net
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