This Fall, I am going to try something a little different, which is to offer private workshops for anyone who is interested in taking a writing class without the fuss of having to leave home, or deal with a harsh environment.
After over a dozen years in front of the college classroom, I’ve been itching to teach a college-quality course outside of academia, and to offer writing community for folks who might not have access, for one reason or another, to the creative writing classroom. If I get enough local interest, I may offer a class in Atlanta, where I live, but for now, I’m sticking to a digital classroom.
As a trial run, I will offer a 4 session class on Wednesday evenings in August (7:00-8:30 EST). The class is aimed at “Getting Started,” either on a new project or on a writing practice in general. Please share with anyone who has expressed interest in taking a friendly writing class.
I added a webpage under the tab: “Classes and Consultations,” which offers info on classes and private consultations. You can check there for updates on future courses. Feel free to fill out the interest form here or on the bottom of that page if you’d like to offer input about what kinds of courses you might want to take in the future, or if you’d like to get on a mailing list.
Also–several folks have asked if I would teach their teens or older children a creative writing class. Although I don’t have a lot of experience teaching high schoolers, I would be happy to do so, or to help your high schooler with their writing in a private consultation. I have a lot of experience giving grammar lessons, tutoring English as a Second Language, and working in a writing center. Just send me an email and we can talk about a price that makes the class or tutoring session accessible to your teen or child.
The flyer for the August course is attached below. Feel free to email me for more info about any of it at firstname.lastname@example.org.
My dissertation is rigid, POV-wise, and it’s been a while since I’ve worked on a long form first person story. To compensate, these short monologues show up on my blank pages from time to time. Here is my latest one of those.
Also, related: I have never named a child. I have named two dogs, though, after American music icons. We’ve got Woody Guthrie (the bigger one) and Elmore James (the littlest).
I’m excited to have my lyric essay, “Variables” included on Cahoodaloodaling’s list of nominations for the Best Small Fictions anthology. Many thanks to Raquel Thorne and the journal’s team for letting me be a part of such a cool issue.
The journal’s latest issue, Joysticks, is also fun and full of punchy pieces. Special bonus–the theme is joy!
This one, “Next to Godliness” is a flash story that came from a prompt from my Fall 2016 fiction workshop at Georgia State [Write a story that takes a saying literally and use it for the premise of a story].
I think I must have submitted at least 20 stories to this magazine before they finally took one. Writing ain’t nothing if it ain’t persistence.
For the last two weeks, I’ve had the pleasure and honor of finishing a novel draft at this arts center in Nebraska City. I wrote more in May than I’ve ever written in my life, but a huge portion of that productivity happened in my writing studio at the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts.
I also had a great roommate, a photographer from Montana, who was fun to talk and cook with after our work days. The residency houses five artists at a time, and so I shared the facility with three fiction writers, a composer, a painter, and that photographer I just mentioned.
The arts center gives a stipend for food and the grocery stores are real close (I like to cook as part of my creative process–there is nothing like working through a scene while chopping vegetables for a stir fry). Nebraska City is also where Arbor Day began, close to the Missouri River, and so the area around the center was green and life giving around this time of year.
Residents are allowed to check books out at the library. I was impressed at how expansive that library was–I had a specific book in mind to read (The Blood of Emmett Till), and found it in their new selection area as soon as I walked in the door. Also, it was a nice place to go jogging in the mornings.
After I finished writing the novel draft, I took day trips to Lincoln and Omaha, both of which were an hour away from Nebraska City, but really easy to get to (just one straight road from town to each city).
It’s been a while since I updated this, but I have had a couple of stories published in 2017. One is in a print journal, one is online.
The print story is, “As Though She Could Actually Do Something,” which appeared in the Potomac Review, just in time for AWP in Washington DC. For a nice surprise, my friend, Kilby Allen, also had a story in there called “Everything Neatly Put Away.”
“As Though She Could Actually Do Something” is based on an experience I had in Thailand when I accompanied some American friends when they took their sons to see a movie at a fancy mall in Bangkok. The majority of the story is fabricated (that’s why it’s billed as fiction), but the strange chaos of doing something that is mostly familiar in a place where everything appears in a new language stayed with me for a long time. It seemed story-worthy to me.
You can read other online, “New Translations,” which appeared in the latest issue of Quarterly West. I wrote that one after accidentally getting sucked into browsing my Twitter feed during writing time, and I stumbled across an article that explained how we might have been reading a Bible verse from Genesis wrong all these years. That concept catapulted into a flash piece. I hope you enjoy it!
Two of my friends who happen to be amazing poets, Caroline Crew and Anne Barngrover, have some killer poems in that killer issue.