Dave Hardy: New and Recent Sculptures Issue no. 231 Winter 2019 When a student who feels stuck on a writing project comes to see me, I often suggest they unsettle their form. Why not try pushing your story into a place it doesn’t belong? I ask. What if your family history could be, say, filtered into a life insurance claim? Can you rewrite this bad-date tale into thirty interconnected limericks? This is merely an exercise to move their narratives away from the classic arcs and tropes that often hold storytellers hostage. Rejecting prescribed forms helps us locate the impulses that require something weirder, I tell them, stroking my invisible beard. A few students end up doubling down on the ill-fitting forms and revising their projects around them, which creates another issue. That new form, I warn, can’t be a perfect fit. I encourage them to lean on the unlikely form until it almost breaks—until the demands of the original story nearly split it at its seams. Formal experiments buzz when they strain at both ends—at what the impulse really is and at whatever it’s trying to be. The tension created is the buzz of incompletion; that’s what makes the work both crafty and dangerous.