Category Archives: Tidbits

Sustenance for writerly souls … aka, references galore

Writing

I have been re-reading Hortense Calisher‘s first novel, False Entry. Some Big Critic whose name eludes me noted that while some authors  are “writer’s writers” Calisher is a writer’s writer’s writer. I think the critic was trying to say, “she’s not easy to read.” Humph. I’m finding beautiful sentences everywhere — after two hundred pages the book is a-flutter with stickies. My current favorite: “It was the shabby-sweet odor of the South that already I was smelling, the air of a people who had to put too much sugar on their lives.”

I am juiced up with good writing, good ideas, and good ideas about writing — I have the happy tickle in my belly of having found a *perfect* gift for a dear friend.

Open the cedar chest, or the under-bed storage box from Target, shake the mustiness from your favorite afghan, warm some apple cider, snuggle up and nibble on these ideas. These come via my writer friend Gigi Vernon (whose short story “Show Stopper” has been chosen for inclusion in the Mystery Writers of America anthology!):

ponche

hot apple cider  (Photo credit: digiyesica)

1. On the daily rituals of creative minds, from The Guardian
2. By Sarah Gerard, on keeping a notebook  from The Paris Review

I’m jumping …

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… into a new part of the writing ocean: I’m offering a workshop with my writerly friend and colleague, Jenny Zia of the Center for Creative Change. We’re focusing on process, sustaining a writing practice, and getting to know one’s writing self. I’m tickled about facilitating the program in the community meeting space in the Lyric Theater’s Community Arts Information Office — we’ll go to local cafes and stores for some of our writing exercises.

Contact us at joyofwriting04@gmail.com for more info; some details below.

Writing for the joy of it

Have you always wanted to write but don’t know how to start or sustain your practice?

This workshop provides a series of structured exercises that honor the writing process, support discovery of your writer’s voice, and exploration and development of your stories.

Instructors Jenny Zia and Lesley Howard ground their facilitation in their own combined six-plus decades of daily writing practice, inspired by the philosophies of Julia Cameron, Natalie Goldberg, Anne Lamott and Priscilla Long, among others.

Jenny Zia, MA, MSW, has shared writing prompts and journal practices with a variety of individuals and groups. Lesley Howard is a local freelance writer, blogger, and one of the founding members of the New River Valley Voices juried reading program. Both are members of a long-standing writing group.

When and Where?

Jump Start: Saturday, Sept. 7, 9:30 AM – 4:30 PM

Momentum-Sustaining Sessions: Tuesdays, Sept. 17, Oct. 1, and Oct. 15, 6:30 – 8 :30 PM

The End is the Beginning Closing Session: Saturday, Oct. 26, 9:30 AM – 3:30 PM

$100 for all sessions; includes muse-nourishing snacks and beverages.

All sessions will be held at the Community Arts Information Office in downtown Blacksburg, VA; we will take field trips to local cafes for some of our exercises.

Contact us at joyofwriting04@gmail.com if you need additional information or to register.

Sharing others’ good words and mojo

Brendan Constantine, thank you: this blog post  says it better than I could have, and echoes my heroine Priscilla Long’s advice: a large part of creativity is production, finished pieces. Can’t make a pie if we spend all our time perfecting the crust. Fling some berries-n-sugar together, spoon ‘em in that misshapen piece of dough, cook that baby in the oven and then see if it’s any good.

The Porches

The Porches (Photo credit: orange cracker)

I’m writing at the Porches in Norwood, VA this week: a tornado alit here last week, folding a metal roof back like so much origami paper and felling a 26,000 pound tree on the local (historic structure) church. The retreat house itself: untouched. The California-based writer in residence during the tornado: went back to her third floor room when she saw the 50-foot-high maple trees in the front yard  bending to kiss the earth. Those of us who can imagine three stories off the ground is a good place to be in wind like that: creative to the max.

Whatever the tornado of your life is right now: get back to your room and do your creative thing. That mojo will keep you safe-n-sane.