Writing the Fantastic 2023!

Re-Enchanting Ourselves, Our Planet, Our World!

Greetings Friends of Writing!

At the end of 2022, after a long and difficult three years in which so many of our global ailments had surfaced and we could no longer look away, I did a small thing: I offered a five-week class called Writing the Fantastic. It came out of a desire to connect with the magic of transformation in literature, and to make community with others who sought the same. In collaboration with an incredible space here in Nassau, Poinciana Paper Press, in both online and in person classes, we touched the fantastic in our own psyches and in fiction, revealing truths we were living, and daring to imagine what we had not seen or lived before.

Each time a participant read her work, a story or scene, the air crackled with a kind of current – electric, powerful. And what I remembered is this: like myth, the writing of fantasy has the potential to connect with a creative force that is archetypal, that is forged in the deepest parts of our human psyches, and that literally vibrates with the power to transform writers and our readers. This is what I understand as ‘enchantment’. The power to (re)connect to the archetypal forces in us and in the world, and by doing so, tapping into the power to transcend oppressive circumstances, to create new worlds, and to transform the worlds we are living in. 

At our end of class reading, participant Lisa Codella said that writing the fantastic is like “wearing a pair of glasses that give clarity on the inside. Looking beyond the things we can see to what is possible.” Another participant, Olivia Saunders, said that when we write the fantastic, we see “what we want to see, and what we are afraid to see. It is healing,” she said, “realizing the possibility of manifesting a different world.” For other participants writing the fantastic was a “safe place” and “restoration”. For Ana-Alicia Blair, it is “unsettled stardust” that when seen and touched brings us into the presence of the cosmos inside our own bodies and out there, in the vast universe. 

Teaching this class was a wondrous doorway into the New Year, and has ignited in me a passion to continue making space for the fantastic, particularly as seen through the lenses of Caribbean literature and worlds. From an intro class, to writing memoir that blends life story with magical realism, to classes that invite us to write stories that wrestle with climate and social concerns, Writing the Fantastic is growing roots and unfurling new leaves in 2023!

In a world where pandemics and superstorms can radically alter our lives in a single day, and where the past as slavery, as colonization, as genocide, as world wars still bleed into our conscious and unconscious minds affecting how we live in the present, we need the power of fantastic stories to help us fight, heal, reconnect, and envision a new world. I invite you to be part of a community of the fantastic. To imagine, to witness, to write towards and beyond our wildest dreams. 

Here, dreaming,
Helen Klonaris
January 4, 2023
Nassau, Bahamas

Two Worlds, Peter Morin

Child in the Audience: Do you believe in magic?

Salman Rushdie: If magic is transformation, then yes, I do.

-From City Arts Lectures, Nourse Theater, San Francisco, California, September 9, 2015


Roots, Frida Kahlo


In Collaboration with Poinciana Paper Press…


Writing the Fantastic: An Introduction

“Writing the Fantastic is a thorough introduction to the world of fantasy where you get an understanding of the origins of many of the famous myths and fairy tales, as well as our most common Bahamian folklores. It is wonderfully interesting and a stepping stone into learning how to write freely in this realm.” -Charlotte Dunn

Fantasy in literature reveals the unsayable, defies the impossible, and expands what we have been told reality is. Fantasy points to possibilities we didn’t know existed, and reveals aspects of our realities we did not know how to see. By exploring sources of the fantastic – from the collective unconscious to myths, folktales and fairy tales, as well as various forms of fantasy writing, from the mythic to magical realism and high fantasy, we will generate writing that helps us to transcend, ascend, descend, flow, and transform!

A five-week introductory course. This course will culminate in a reading of students’ work.
Mondays, 6-8pm, January 30-February 27, 2023 Online
Tuesdays, 6-8pm, January 31-February 28, 2023 at Poinciana Paper Press, Nassau, Bahamas

For more information, write to helenklonaris@gmail.com or sonia@poincianapaperpress.com

Writing the Fantastic: Crafting Wonder

Once we know where to look for the fantastic, we can begin to craft stories or poems that sing with archetypal power. What story is calling for you to sing it, speak it, write it into the world? If the fantastic transforms what we know, how might it transform the worlds we live in? What stories does the world need now more than ever? And, importantly, what are the craft elements we need to write them? This is a six-week course that will focus on a single writing project; we will spend time workshopping the craft of your poems or stories, so that the fantastic can shine. 

A six-week craft intensive. This course will culminate in a reading of students’ work. 
Wednesdays, 6-8pm, February 1-March 8, 2023 Online

For more information, write to helenklonaris@gmail.com or sonia@poincianapaperpress

Writing the Fantastic: Re-Enchanting Ourselves

What if you imagined your life’s journey as an epic myth? As miraculous? As a wonder tale filled with overcoming obstacles, divine interventions, magical beings, and gifts of transformation? In this 6-week course we will explore the hero/ine’s journey in myth, and participants will translate life story into fantastic tales. We will consider what doing so tells us about our lives, the triumphs and tragedies we have experienced, and the possibilities of transformation the writing invites us to imagine, and perchance to live.

A five-week mythopoeic journey; this course will culminate in a reading of students’ work.
Mondays, 6pm-8pm, March 27-April 24, 2023, Online
Tuesdays, 6pm-8pm, March 28-April 25, 2023, Poinciana Paper Press, Nassau, Bahamas

For more information, write to helenklonaris@gmail.com or sonia@poincianapaperpress.com

Writing the Fantastic: Re-Enchanting the Earth

The Earth is experiencing some of the most catastrophic climate events of our recent human history. From super storms ravaging small island countries to fires devastating ancient forests, to floods and thawing of glaciers causing the immanent rise of sea levels across the globe, we are witnessing a planet in crisis. Science, activists, and Indigenous communities the world over have been calling for interventions to heal our Earth. If writing the fantastic reveals possibilities where we had not thought to look for them, where we had not thought they existed, focusing our lens on the earth and our more-than-human relations offers us a way to intervene. 

A five-week immersion; this course will include visits to and writing in nature. It will culminate in a reading of students’ work.
Mondays, 6pm-8pm, May 1-May 29, 2023, Online
Tuesdays, 6pm-8pm, May 2-May 30, 2023, Poinciana Paper Press, Nassau, Bahamas

For more information, write to helenklonaris@gmail.com or sonia@poincianapaperpress.com

Writing the Fantastic: Re-Enchanting the World

Native American writer Leslie Marmon Silko wrote “Don’t be fooled. Stories are not just entertainment. They are all we have to fight against illness and death.” In a world where pandemics can radically alter our lives in a single day, and where we live often still suffering the harms of the past, whether personal, familial, or cultural, we need the power of fantastic stories to help us fight, heal, reconnect, and perchance envision a new world. 

A five-week immersion; this course will culminate in a reading of students’ work.
Wednesdays, 6pm-8pm, September 6-October 4, 2023, Online
Thursdays, 6pm-8pm, September 7-October 5, 2023, Poinciana Paper Press, Nassau, Bahamas

All classes are $350 and can be paid through Poinciana Paper Press. Write to sonia@poincianapaperpress.com.