Creative Writing: Outside Ourselves, Open Letters

Winter 2022
Native Pathways - Olympia
Freshman - Senior
Class Size: 25
4 Credits per quarter
Variable credit options, see below
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This is a creative writing course designed for students of all levels and practices of writing, from introductory through advanced, who are interested in exploring the phenomena of "open letters." The purpose of an open letter is for the author to share an opinion, a protestation, or an investigative inquiry directed primarily toward a specific person but in contemporary times, we are also seeing the open letter addressing particular groups of people. The open letter serves to influence, publicly and as visibly as possible, and is freedom of speech in action. The open letter is intended for a wide, diverse audience and often distributed through print (magazines, newspapers), as well as online forums. To engage with writing an open letter, one needs to move outside of their own self to the degree that they can expand their lens to include a greater than the single being; one must be able to critically analyze and synthesize the world around them rather than focus on their singular place within the world. Open letters can be a passive and active form of social activism, and in this course we will investigate what roles and impacts writers/artists can have in their communities and beyond.

There will be student-led seminars around published open letters, weekly journal writing, drafting a collection of open letters, and a final collective creative writing project that will include a public open mike (not everyone is required to read aloud). This is a writing intensive course, beginner to advanced, for anyone interested in creative writing as a learning tool, an artistic form of activism, and a platform to share untold stories.

Technology required: Internet access is needed but alternative modes of learning can be planned by contacting the faculty. No text required. Credit equivalencies are all in Creative Writing. The course is online with 2 hours of synchronous (in person, virtually via zoom) work and 2 hours of asynchronous work (completed on your own) using Canvas. We will also meet in person 2 times at the end of the quarter (accommodations will be provided for students unable to attend in person).


Winter 2022 Registration

Course Reference Numbers

(4): 20335
(1 - 8): 20336

Academic details

Fields of Study
Variable Credit Options

6 or 8 variable credit option with faculty signature

Maximum Enrollment
Class Standing


Time Offered
Schedule Evergreen link
see Schedule Evergreen for detailed schedule

First Meeting

Native Pathways - Olympia


Date Revision
2021-10-21 Proposed