When my son Ethan was seven, eight, nine, I would buy magic tricks for him from Misdirections, on 9th Avenue between Lincoln and Irving. The proprietor, Joe, got to know me well enough that he invited Ethan and I to the Miraloma Park Improvement Club for a get together with magicians from all over the Bay Area. Oh my God, what a night. We walked around with decks of cards and magic boxes and silver rings, things appearing and disappearing, aces jumping out of velvet bags, the king of clubs ending up in Ethan’s back pocket, which was impossible but there it was. Everyone had a new illusion, and they couldn’t wait to share. We were treated as fellow magicians even though we didn’t know what we were doing. It was literally and figuratively a magical evening, and not unlike, the six evenings at The Lab. There we were, marginal, in the best sense of the word, I still didn’t know what I was doing. What I do know is that we were writing like madmen and madwomen. We were sharing new illusions, trying them out on one another. I know my heart beat faster. ​

—Arthur Hofmayer

I’ve had the opportunity to enroll in The Lab several times over the past 7 years and I have walked away with something invaluable that has enriched my writing every time. The variety of experiments Mathew offers throughout the 6-week Lab have not only helped me become a better storyteller, they’ve expanded my creative process. A number of seeds were planted in each session of The Lab that have blossomed into a number of writing projects that have included short stories, a children’s picture book, and now the beginnings of my first novel. Thank you, Mathew! 

— Jase Peeples

I come to The Lab when I have a project that needs fleshing out. Each week’s set of experiments helps me generate new material and more deeply understand my characters. Matthew Clark Davison’s instruction inspires me to look at my writing in new ways. If you're feeling stuck in your novel or story or memoir or personal essay; or just need that extra push, The Lab is a great space to make things happen.

— Shideh Etaat

I’ve participated in The Lab for 2 years and have always discovered a new way to explore my writing and that of others. As an artist, it was an immense pleasure having a designated time to focus on my own project, free-write, or dive into one of Matthew Clark Davison’s many brilliant writing prompts, all with the freedom to share and receive feedback or not. Those who are new to writing, experimenting, or already published will all find an open and diverse group of “labbers” together to create and, more often than not, inspire each other in ways only an environment like this can produce. I highly recommend The Lab to anybody who seeks a safe space for their creativity.

— Zach Grear

Enrolling in "The Lab: Writing Classes with Matthew Clark Davison" has given me time, accountability, and support for my writing. But it's more than that. It's a true literary exploration. Matthew's carefully selected prompts and thoughtful lessons inspire me to dig deeper into my characters' inner lives and help me discover and explore the themes most important to me. "The Lab" is also a great place to find new characters - writers at all levels and stages appreciate the creative and artistic questions posed in "The Lab." Matthew is encouraging, kind, skilled, and authentic. I will probably just continue taking "The Lab" forever.

 ​—Ryan Pittington

I originally approached "The Lab" with curiosity...and trepidation. I had never taken any kind of writing class, having always been convinced that 1) I wasn't a good enough writer, and 2) because I thought all writing classes involved mean and/or pointless workshopping. Everything about The Lab and Matthew proved me wrong. First, because this class is much more exploration than traditional class. The exercises are invigorating, and Matthew's insights are truly helpful--I think of it more as making you notice something on a page than telling you that something has to be on the page. Second, there is a broad range of levels represented in the room, and Matthew has structured the class in such a way that at no point do you feel vulnerable or judged. I would take this class again and again.

— Jessica Powell

The Lab was the highlight of my Autumn. I came to the Lab in a post-MFA rut, eager to continue working on my project but not sure how to keep the story in motion. Matthew’s lessons taught me how to thoughtfully consume other forms of art as a writer, how to look at a photograph or listen to a podcast, pinpoint what I appreciate about it and attempt to incorporate that quality into my own writing. It was an education in storytelling mediums, how the work of John Cameron Mitchell and Tina Louise Blevins and Lyle Ashton Harris can speak to each other. Each week I learned how to glean various tools from these artists for use in my own craft, a skill I hope to continue to use in the future.

—Devan Brettkelly

When I think about my current life as writer/artist, getting connected to the Lab was monumental for me. The first piece of writing I ever published was written during my first Lab cycle-- and, more importantly than that—Matthew's creativity and encouragement laid a groundwork for me to feel comfortable pursuing my creative voice and pushed me to prioritize creating space for writing and creative wanderings. He does the important and necessary work of connecting writing with spirituality, aesthetics, and practice and for curating such exciting experiments every time.

— Hannah Rubin 

Where else can you write furiously in a church while seeing a glitter-drenched opera? Where else can you learn about how your setting can change your character by watching a film in which queer black child gets baptized in the ocean? Where else can you study two painters' landscapes and learn to incorporate absence into your scene? The Lab is a vibrant space to experiment across artistic disciplines. Matthew Clark Davison is a committed, creative, compassionate, compelling teacher. I highly recommend working with him in The Lab.

—Celeste Chan

Participating in Matthew's class was a vital  experience for me. When I do write, it's mostly reviews of non-fiction analytical psychology books. My time in “The Lab" gave me the space to go deeper into my own emotions and listen to the words that emerged. Matthew is a gifted teacher who encourages curiosity and is on the lookout for the unexpected. His approach helped me find some new ways of expressing or, experimenting with, my creativity.

— Gail A. Grynbaum RN PhD