Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Grailville Retreat and Program Center in Loveland, OH is offering two Practice of Poetry events during Presidents Day Weekend: Dream Work Retreat for Women: Dreams as a Resource for your Writing and your Life held Friday, February 12 - Sunday, February 14 and The Abiding Image: Crafting Poetry from your Life open to both men and women on Monday, February 15 (Presidents Day) from 9:30-1:00 pm. These Practice of Poetry programs are designed to help participants use writing as a support to their spiritual and creative lives. Both are led by poet, teacher and Haden Institute faculty member Cathy Smith Bowers with writer and Grailville co-director and founder/facilitator of its Practice of Poetry programs, Pauletta Hansel.
Like receiving a letter from God/ and not bothering to open it Cathy Smith Bowers says about ignoring our nightly dreams in her newest book, The Candle I Hold Up to See You. The Dream Work Retreat is offered for women interested in using the wisdom and symbolism of dreams as inspiration for poetry. We will explore ways some of the world’s most revered poets have used their own dreams as inspiration for their art and craft. We will also discover ways of crafting our own dreams into poems. No experience with poetry necessary—only a love of language and an eagerness to write.
Enclosed you will find some information about some writers workshops which have been announced for 2010. I have personally attended two of them and would recommend either. Ironically the first two are held on approximately the same dates in April.
A. The Mad Anthony Writers Conference at Miami University campus in Hamilton. It will be held on April 16th and 17th. The Keynote speaker is Jane Friedman, Publisher/Editor F&W Media (Writers Digest). The cost for the entire seminar for Friday night through Saturday afternoon is $125. Additional charges for Manuscript critique or pitch proposal cost an additional $15. Each. There will be sessions on Fiction, Non-fiction, and Writing as a Career and Christian Writing. Christian Writing is the focus of this Conference. There is also the Murder and Mayhem Workshop which costs an additional $55 if attended with the Writers Conference otherwise it cost $80 if you choose this workshop by itself which is held on Friday. I have attended this workshop last spring and found that it was very helpful. Having Jane as a speaker is worth the price of admission. I also noticed that Alice Pope who is the editor of Children’s Illustrator’s and Writers Digest will be there this year. That is icing on the cake for those of you who are writing Children’s books. Their web site is: http://www.madanthonycbf.org/
B. Another Writers Conference which focuses on humor writing, human interest writing and networking and getting published that is held at the University of Dayton from April 15th thru the 17th. The cost of the three day workshop is $ 350. The list of speakers and sessions for this three day event is impressive. Check out the conference detail using this link: https://www.regonline.com/bombeck2010
C. The third workshop that I would recommend for writers and poets is the Antioch Writers Workshop in Yellow Springs, Ohio. Their Workshop lasts an entire week with lectures in the morning and small group work sessions in the afternoon where you read and discuss a copy of a recent manuscript that you are working on. The cost of the program is about $ 800 for the entire workshop both morning and afternoon. I attended this event last summer and loved the entire experience. Here is the web site for additional information: http://www.antiochwritersworkshop.com/
I am sure there are other writers conferences including the Writer’s Digest Intensives which I have already spoke about in another Blog entry as well as Writers Workshops in Kentucky and Indiana that I have not mentioned. If you know of any that you would like to recommend please send me a note or add a comment to the Blog entry.
Friday, December 18, 2009
Last weekend I attended Writers Digest Intensive Workshop in Cincinnati. I came away with mixed feelings about what I had gained from the experience. In all fairness these are entirely my opinions and I want to make sure that no one takes my comments and observations out of context. I am not speaking for anyone else but a retired business professional who has taken up writing as a way of satisfying his secret life as a “right brainer”.
Let’s start with the facility where our class was held. I was surprised that our confirmation for the class that we received ahead of time did not include instructions for the program. Since the advanced class material did not include a link that provided directions. I proceeded to use Map Quest which gave me bad directions the first morning. I chalked that up to operator error. Not a very good way to start your day.
The session was held in lunch room. I wish I could describe the room more favorably but what is they say about lipstick and pigs? Our room had small tables which only seated one or two people comfortably. It was well lighted but was not conductive for presentations and seminars. Slide shows were projected on a small portable screen near the entrance to the room. People in the back of the room had problems reading the screen shots. Cincinnati is the home of GE Aircraft Engine plant and the room in the afternoon sounded like part of their facility. The noisy blowers or loud fans in the back of the room were extremely loud. As a matter of fact the instructor for that part of the program had to constantly walk back to hear the questions.
The last item that frustrated me was the fact that there was no feedback mechanism at the end of the seminar to allow the attendee to provide input so that the staff could work to improve their product for the next time. I have been a part time professor for over ten years and every class I teach I seek feedback. I am not so vain to think that I cannot improve my product is some way.
Now that I have that off my chest let me tell you the good news the first speaker in the morning was Jane Friedman, an Editorial Director at Writer Digest. She did a terrific job of detailing the changes in the industry. She also provided an excellent review of the tools that authors can use to build their platform and market their products. I had heard her speak at another seminar in Middletown last spring. Jane provides excellent advice on how to use the available social networking tools to promote your works and build a platform for your works. Twitter is used for learning technique and information about the writing community, Blog’s are used to describe your personal works and opinions and Facebook for talking about your activity with your friends and relatives.
The afternoon session was interesting and very informative as well. Chuck Sambuchino was excellent. Seemed somewhat opinionated at times, especially when his recommendations contradicted what Jane had outlined in the morning. But this observation in this industry should not surprise the faint of heart.
Chuck did an excellent job of explaining the different genre's and some of the guidelines associated with word counts for different types of works. He has more detailed information on this topic and Literary Agents on his blog site: WWW.guidetoliteraryagents.com. He back up what Jane had said in the morning lecture about business nature of publishing.
The last session in the afternoon before my glass of Chardonnay was entitled "Why I stopped Reading". When I read this on the agenda for the Workshop in the morning I was tempted to visit the nearby hospital to get an ample supply of plasma. Yes you got that right. It was billed as a panel discussion of what the editors, the individuals who had read the manuscripts which had been submitted in advance or the workshop had observed. Observations like "show don't tell", POV violations, use of italic's to note thinking instead of dialogue were just some of the issues that they discussed.
I personally made note of who said what during this session. Why would I do that? Well...it gave me the chance to compare the comments from my one on one with an editor on Sunday with what she outlined the day before as traits that would make her stop reading. In my case she should have stop reading long before she got through the fifty pages of manuscript that I had submitted ahead of time.
Ms. Alice Pope is a talented editor of Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market. Her feedback was very beneficial in that it confirmed all my worst fears. The advice that I received last summer was not correctly implemented because I had failed to answer the very first question you should always ask yourself when writing a book...what is the story? Is it a memoir, essay, or fiction? I had spent over five months worrying about POV instead of focusing on my style and who was my audience. I had lost my voice. I took what originally was a set of short stories that were like a memoir and inserted a touch of fantasy thus making it a morph of what would be called a fictional memoir. Trouble is there is no such classification in literature that I know of. Many of my problems were caused by not being “all in.” Either make the story a fictional story for young adults or make it a memoir of short stories. Now that I have learned my lessons I will write the stories I wanted to tell in the first place and remove the fantasy which cause my POV problems. Thank you Alice. For providing that important lesson to me. It seemed ironic that all the non-verbal communication that I received from my manuscript review last weekend was similar to a rejection letter. In my case it was well deserved.
I personally did not come away with warm fuzziest about whether my manuscript had potential as a memoir. But then again I could not expect Ms Pope or any other editor to tell me that at this stage. But in all fairness I know now what I have to do...start to edit and revise. Ms. Pope’s “From the Editor” at the beginning of 2010 version of her book Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market provides some excellent examples of why editing is so important. The advice applies to all forms of writing not just Young Adult and Children’s.
That's my story and the lesson that I came away from the Workshop with. You don't always have to implement changes to your work just because a published author tells you. Now if you will excuse me I have some editing to do…
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Sunday, September 20, 2009
I had just retired from a successful business career of nearly 37 years when I thought my life as I knew it had ended. I was so restless from the lack of constant pressure that I even took a job at a local bank as a teller temporarily until I realized that my new source of income would jeopardize my qualification for Social Security. What was I to do? Gone were the pressure of quotas, reading hundred’s of emails, and trying to live on airline food: peanuts and soft drinks. When did airlines start to think that all the passengers are elephants?
Slowly at first, the adjustment was gradual because the human spirit and psyche needed time to adjust to sleeping in and the phone not ringing every few moments. The briefcase containing my laptop and blackberry has been surgically removed from that frozen hand that instinctively held a firm grip on both while waiting in long lines. I didn’t know how I was going to live this way. I no longer wanted to get on airplanes, sleep in hotel rooms far away from home, or eat dinner alone
I do not pretend to be the only person who lived that type of life as a business professional. There are hundreds, even thousands of people who live that type of life every day. Once retirement arrives with the watch and box of congratulatory letters from friends and co-workers you begin the transition to your new life.
Then, one day it arrived in the mail the bright orange colored booklet containing the list of classes that would be offered by the LLI during the fall semester at the local University. The variety of topics was amazing. At first the work gene kicked into gear and I started thinking in
terms of what courses I was expert enough in to be able to teach next term. Then you realize that the booklet’s content which lists the classes are actually a gift that has arrived early. So after a short period of time mulling the decision over in my mind I decided that this was the year I would try to give myself an early birthday gift, even though it was not November yet
Do you remember the first gift that you received? Your excitement built as you tore off the paper in anticipation of finding out what is inside. Not all gifts come in neatly wrapped packages with fancy ribbons. Sometimes they appear as email from a close friend or a card in the mail that makes you want to cry. Sometimes you may not realize that you have received a gift until later
The LLI is in the business of gift giving. More correctly stated its function is to serve as an adult gift exchange. Individuals who participate are giving of their time and intellectual curiosity and in return receive information from talented instructors who share their life’s experiences and knowledge. Even the instructors receive the gift of satisfaction that they have enriched someone’s life.
As it turned out I did get my birthday present early and I found out that the LLI programs gives out “gifts’ to others as well. Listen to their stories.
Inspiration and Perspirations
“They say writing is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration--but I think not. I was 100% inspired by Nancy Pinard's Creative Writing Class and a dozen fellow travelers agreed. After the class ended, we decided to form a writer's workshop called the Wannabes.
Thoughts and family stories have jiggled around my brain for years, and now I have the time and the energy to form them up into a memoir of sorts. But writing is hard work and the monthly Wannabe meetings provide the structure to present new work at each meeting.
This class has been a life changer, and I hope to be worthy of Nancy's inspiration”.
The exchange happens multiple times a year. Listen to the gifts that other people have received:
“The class was large and I was concerned about my abilities to work in a medium that I was not used to. After spending over 36 years with large technology company’s selling consulting and technology solutions I was more adapt to using the left side of my brain which could generate hundreds of acronyms and buzz words. Our instructor successfully awakened a sleeping literary giant inside my brain. I finished my original manuscript and will soon publish my first book. Through her encouragement I have written a number of other short stories and have taken a number of other classes in order to enhance my writing talent.
The class also brought a special gift to me that had nothing to do with writing. A number of people who attended that class have formed a group that meets once a month to read and encourage each other’s writing talents. Those new friendships have been very rewarding for me both personally and helped my literary development. My recently published memoir also brought me in touch with many of my old friends who I have not had contact with for close to 50 years. That would not have been possible without the encouragement of our group and the class which I took at UD last fall.”
Friendships and the awaking of a new spirit from within are gifts that are not easily identified at first. Another LLI alumnus wrote:
“Searching for meaning and purpose after retirement? UD's Osher Institute for Lifelong Learning offered me a realistic way to unleash my passion to become a fiction writer...a dream I never had time to pursue with a 9 to 5 job and 24/7 homemaking duties. But now I revel in the brain cell stimulation and "learning for learning's sake" excitement generated by challenging moderators and effervescent classmates...budding storytellers, each of us eager to chart new paths, bare our souls, risk egos to share our wisdom, aged to perfection, with the world. Thank you, UDLLI for igniting my spirit and awakening my dream!”
The gifts come in various sizes and shapes. The only qualification to take classes is that you have reached the age of 50 and can attend classes during the day and early evening. The Institute is not restricted in any way. As a former educator who participated in classes at the school once said:
“I was pleasantly surprised with not only the courses but with the interesting people I met. My first courses were writing, Amish Culture, and finance. The writing course has let to a group of us who met after the course was over and encouraged each other with our writing endeavors. The Amish Culture led me to other books on the Amish and trips to the Amish in Ohio and Pennsylvania. And with the finance course I took in the fall of 2008, I realized that I was not alone in concern about the economy!
Other courses I took in 2009 also produced positive results. Not only did I learn more about interesting topics but I met special people. We had lunch together at the nearby Art Café and visited with UD students. We heard the students’ concerns about jobs and their interest in further education. We saw a group of grade school children perform a mime at lunchtime. And we laughed with each other as we rode a shuttle bus back and forth to the McGinnis Center where classes were held.
We are forming an educational community where we can develop many interests and new friendships. We are not competing for grades but are expanding our knowledge. We have intellectual and cultural explorations beyond our classes. Lively discussions can happen before and after class. Our participants have many experiences and I felt like I was swimming with the dolphins or passing through the Panama Canal as stories were shared.”
One of my fellow classmates from the Creative Writing Class recently wrote:
“OSHER has opened a big, wide, inviting door! It has beckoned quietly to those souls who have passed the five- and- a- half decade mark, and suddenly find some time on their hands. This reality may not hit till later, but the gateway to learning is there for the taking. It says: “Come to me – learn from me – dare to trigger your mind! It is never too late to start learning!”
It is a golden opportunity to enhance your world in many ways. First, you have the relationship with the moderators, who have a connection to the University. Then, one can meet dozens of other seniors who are interested and anxious to learn. Besides these two positives, you are connected to the library, and the cultural events scheduled at the University.
My husband’s class was “Listening – a Lost Art.” How it has impacted both our lives! We are both involved in health care, and listening is the first prerequisite to a healthy involvement with the patient. Besides, just being the parents of five girls makes the tools of listening imperative!
The last class I was privileged to attend was “Learning the Craft of writing – by Writing.” Our teacher, Nancy Pinard, is the author of two novels; various published literary works and a teacher par excellence. Both classes had a full house- thirty nine in mine, and Ms. Pinard guided us with delight, through creative endeavors of every kind imaginable. She presented us with a syllabus that could have lasted a semester! Three cheers for Osher!
This is my motto:
OSHER = Osher showers humanity (with) exceptional resources!”
Our parents taught us many things when we were young. At an early age they instilled in all of us the practice of thanking those people who had taken the time and energy to provide you with a gift. Many times they are sent to the “giver” of the gift in the form of cards with personal messages, phone calls so just simple the words:
Thank You! Osher and UD LLI for our gifts.
I saw Mary Martin last evening in "Sound" and, you know Dick...I like that show. It's got Moxie, as well as Mary! Dick I'm in the mood to another go at it-America deserves another big helping of R&H...whaddayasaybaby? Shall we roll up the ol' sleves? I've got an idea that can be the real BIG one...
A musical based on Colonel Charles Augustus Lindberg's Autobiography, We, A short story about guys and gals who few around America's heart in the years following the first World War in three acts.
I see the action something like this...
Jack is in the final stages of editing this work and I am sure he will share the finished manuscript with our group at future meetings.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Speaking of business: Here are some recent announcements that you might want to take part in.
A...The 10th Annual Writer's Digest Short Short Story Competition is accepting entries! We're looking for fiction that's bold, brilliant ... but brief. Send us your best in 1,500 words or less. But don't be too long about it—the deadline is December 1, 2009.
The Grand-Prize winner will receive $3,000 (that's $2—or more—per word).
For guidelines, prizes and to enter online, click here.
B....If you want to keep up with deals, agents and the publishing industry subscribe to Publishers Lunch at the following Web site:
Make sure you continue to the 2nd page to receive the free version every Tues through email.
C...For those who want to publish using the new e-books platform here are two sites that you should check out:
Kindle....https://dtp.amazon.com/mn/signin The site is Digital Platform. It is similar to Createspace which is used for self publishing.
Mobi...also called MobiPocket.....http://www.mobipocket.com/en/HomePage/default.asp?Language=EN
We can discuss these at future meeting.
D. The Christmas Anthology. We currently have five people who have signed up to participate in this project. We will also need to find an Illustrator. I have someone I would recommend but I think we should be open to suggestion of local talent as well. I am still seeking people who would like to contribute a poem or a short story either fictional or non-fiction. We will discuss further on Friday.
E. This will be the last call for individuals who want to participate in the article that we are submitting to the LLI Journal. I have sent the draft document to Julie and will meet with her in the next few weeks to discuss our next steps.
F. Agenda for Friday:
1. Introduce New Members
2. Jack has asked for 10 minutes to discuss two of his recent projects. We will read one and provide feedback and he is providing a copy of the 2nd which we will post on the Blog site for comments.
3. Discuss the Anthology Project
4. Discuss the LLI Project
5. Set date for next meeting
If anyone has a reading or a topic that they would like to discuss please email me by Thurs night.
Thank you in advance for your attention and we look forward to seeing you al...this Friday.
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Sunday, May 10, 2009
Solace by Julie Zink
Old tattered nightgown
Why do I always choose you?
When laced edge satin creations beckon
Holding out a promise to upscale dreams
But your frayed flannel always wins out
Your longevity pushed way too far
You promise comfort
An invitation to enfold and soothe
Warmth for the aching soul
Shelter from the sharp frigid night
Please do not fall apart just yet
Hang together yet a little longer
My peaceful dreams depend on you.
Saturday, May 9, 2009
Here are a couple of Jack Matthews books that he has published in recent years. He is currently working a a short story involving his favorite dog and cat. The cat's name is Quincy and the dog's name is Rover.
He has read portions of the story at our monthly meetings recently.
We will try to have Jack post a copy of his poem about Quincy and Rover before next month.
Friday, May 8, 2009
Letters from Otto is a memoir by D.A.Quigley. The story traces the humble beginnings on a farm in upstate New York to the University of Dayton. This humorous and sympathetic collection is set in a small rural town in the late 50's and early 60's. Over 60 letters trace early childhood, first loves and best friends. In today's age of the internet written letters are becoming a dying art. This book is a dedication to the legacy and importance of creating and saving these old memories.
Use Coupon Code MAY09 when you register today!
In this new course from author Les Edgerton, learn how to create beginnings that keep your audience hooked from the first paragraph. Based on the popular book Hooked, this workshop will teach you to create an opening sentence, an opening paragraph, and an opening scene that will immediately hook an agent or editor, as well as your eventual readers.
This is the first time this course has been offered, and is only available from WritersOnlineWorkshops! Register today to reserve your seat!
In this course you will:
- Develop effective fiction beginning techniques that can be applied to either novels or short stories.
- Learn to create an opening sentence that will immediately hook an agent or editor.
- Learn how contemporary story structure differs from the structure of even a few years ago
- Discover the basics of contemporary story beginnings that will help get your work read and sold.
We are also planning on having two meetings in May, probably the 8th and the 26th. Remember we are still looking for articles for the Osher LLI by the end of May. 500 words on how the classes you have taken there have somehow provided you with gifts.
Hope you all have a great weekend, hope to see you at Sinclair tomorrow.
Friday, April 24, 2009
David H. Ponitz Sinclair Center, Building 12
Jim Daniels: The Artist in Troubled Times
Jim Daniels is best known as a major figure in working-class poetry in the United States . Since 1981, Daniels has been on the faculty of the creative writing program at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he is the Thomas Stockham Baker Professor of English. He won the inaugural Brittingham Prize in Poetry in 1985 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He was educated at Alma College and Bowling Green State University. His books include Places/Everyone, Punching Out, M-80, and Blessing the House.
· 11-12:00 p.m. Registration, Building 12, outside Charity Earley Auditorium.
· 12-1:00 p.m. Keynote address by Jim Daniels: Charity Earley Auditorium.
· 1:15-2:30 p.m. Workshop Session A.
· 2:30-2:45 p.m. Refreshment break, north end of first floor.
· 2:45-4:00 p.m. Workshop Session B.
· 5:00-6:00 p.m. Reception: Charity Earley Auditorium. This is a chance to enjoy refreshments, mingle with the workshop presenters, and network with fellow writers.
Jim Daniels: The Poet’s Response
Our keynote speaker will also be presenting sessions at the Writers’ Workshop. Join Jim to explore ways in which writers can reach into their inner selves to find their personal artistic response to rapidly changing and often turbulent times.
David Lee Garrison: Writing Poetry
David Lee Garrison teaches Spanish, Portuguese, and Comparative Literature at Wright State University , and he has led writing workshops at various other colleges and universities. His poems, essays, and translations have appeared in literary magazines all over the country, and his co-edited anthology, O Taste and See: Food Poems (Bottom Dog Press), won the 2004 American Poetry Anthology Award from Pudding House Press. Two poems from his latest book, Sweeping the Cemetery (Browser Books), were read by Garrison Keillor on his nationally-syndicated radio program The Writer’s Almanac. Join David as he provides exercises and insights to help you writer better poetry and get your work published.
Judy Johnson: Editing Your Work for Publication
Judy A. Johnson has been a freelance writer of educational materials for nine years, following careers in teaching, librarianship, and editing. Her first book, A Week to Pray About It, was published in 2006. Her nonfiction articles and poems have appeared in Karamu, Mars Hill Review, Caring4Cancer, and Crone: Women Coming of Age, as well as online at nimblespirit.com and explorefaith.org. Join Judy as she provides tips on getting your writing in shape to submit to editors and – once your work is accepted – how to work with publishers to make sure your writing is presented to the public in the best way possible.
Rebecca Morean: Awaking the Writer Within
Rebecca Morean is a novelist, short story writer, essayist, and grant writer. She’s the author of In the Dead of Winter ( St. Martin ’s Press) along with numerous stories and articles. An assistant professor of English at Sinclair Community College , she’s the director for the college’s annual creative writing contest. She also serves as a board member for the Antioch Writers’ Workshop, and teaches workshops on a variety of writing-related topics. She lives in Yellow Springs , Ohio . Join Rebecca as she provides advice and exercises on finding and liberating your individual writer’s voice.
Presenters’ books will be available for purchase and signing throughout the workshop.
Parking passes for the underground parking garage beneath Building 12 ONLY are available for $2.00 in the office of Corporate and Community Services, room 12-101
Registration for the workshop is $25. Sinclair students, faculty, staff may attend free of charge. Senior citizens may also attend free of charge.