Last week in American Literature we did one of my favorite projects–unearthed from the vault, so to speak–based on Edgar Lee Masters’ Spoon River Anthology. It’s a collection of poems, each written from the point of view of a former resident (now deceased) of Spoon River. The poems are intertwined, revealing the connections between the lives of the Spoon River-ers, showing town life from various angles.
Today at Janet Reid’s blog, they’re talking about pseudonyms. The discussion was brought on by a particular case in which a man published poetry under a pseudonym that was deliberately chosen to sound Asian (the man is white). Sherman Alexie, one of my faves, writes about the situation here, in case you’re interested in more info.
So, the commentariat at Janet’s place are now discussing the issue, but from the perspective of writers seeking representation: should you use a pseudonym? If so, should you tell your agent?
*No, not that Nicholas Sparks novel. Or the movie version.
When I attended Bob Mayer’sWrite on the River last spring, I took a lot of notes. In a notebook that I had grabbed at random on the way out of my classroom. Because I was driving from school to Tennessee while seven months pregnant. Because I am a genius.
Anyway, if you’re impressed by how ill-prepared I was then (at least I remembered clothes? I did forget a toothbrush, but Bob gave me one.), guess what happened next? Continue reading The Notebook*→
The third and final of my Lilly-grant-funded adventures this year was the Midwest Writers Workshop (#42, certainly an auspicious sign!).
This workshop was AMAZING! I got a ton out of it and it really had the most breadth in terms of a writing conference that could meet the needs of people at all levels, from novices just starting their novels to published authors looking for networking opportunities. Continue reading Midwest Writers Workshop 2015→
As you may have guessed, I got busy and failed to come update this any more. My writing group was fabulous and I got a lot out of it–I really loved reading what they wrote, and found their critique helpful too! I definitely hope the rest of them will finish their books so that I can read them.
I also got to do my first public reading (!!!) at the Thursday-night “celebratory reading of works in progress,” invited by instructor Nancy to share what I came up with in our pastiche exercise. And one of my group members taped it!
So, feeling much like Michael Bluth is in the image above, I am trying to keep a lot of balls in the air right now. I’m currently hanging out in Muncie for the Midwest Writers Workshop, which is awesome. I’m working on a post about the last 2/3 of Bart IWT. I’m trying to ignore the fact that school starts next week. I’m excited that Sarge has just been upgraded from “my two-month-old” to “my three-month-old” and amused that I’m not the only person pumping milk in between conference sessions.
I’ve taken tons of notes, and I’ll have lots to say later, but right now I’m going to keep processing what I’ve learned.
In the meantime, I’ve also been twittering my heart out; I think I’m finally getting the hang of Twitter! If you’re interested, you can watch me twit or follow my twitterings here!
I arrived at Bard last night for the IWT, aka “teacher camp,” after a lovely two-hour drive north from NYC with my friend Marla. This is my first visit to upstate New York and it’s absolutely gorgeous; Bard’s campus is gorgeous, too.
After I got settled in in my dorm room I wandered down a forested path to the opening reception, where I chatted with some other teachers (mostly from New York, some from New Jersey, one who’s headed to a boarding school in Jordan) and ate some tasty snacks (wine, cheese, grapes). Then dining-hall dinner!
I was a bit nervous coming in that everyone else in the writing retreat would be working on Serious Writing, aka Literary Fiction, and might look down their noses at my YA scifi nonsense, and that feeling wasn’t getting any better despite a)me knowing not to mind if they did, their loss, and b)people being super nice. Super nice they may have been, but they were also all dressed like Serious People (except for one woman in an awesome leopard-print skirt and motorcycle boots, and it turned out she was an instructor!). Continue reading Bard College Institute for Writing and Thinking, Day 1→
As part of my Teacher Creativity Grant, I have signed up for three Adventures: Write on the River with Bob Mayer, the Writing Retreat for Teachers being held at Bard College next week, and the Midwest Writers Workshop in Muncie, IN the week after that. (I also gave myself a bonus adventure for my birthday this year: the Indiana Romance Writers–our local branch of the Romance Writers of America–put on the Making Magic conference, which was ten blocks away on my actual birthday… clearly a sign. Plus, At Write on the River, Bob told us that RWA is by far the best-organized and most welcoming group for writers, even if you’re not strictly a romance writer. I am thinking about joining next year.)
Part of my plan was to write about each adventure as I attended it, but thanks to some scheduling craziness I ended up attending Write on the River in March, driving down to Tennessee on a Friday afternoon (turns out five and a half hours is a really tough drive when you’re 7 months pregnant). Then I did the IRWA conference in April. Then I finally got around to this whole blogging thing… last week.
So clearly I need to start writing up my takeaways from each of those experiences!
Unfortunately the notebook where I took all of my notes at both of those is currently AWOL. So it may well be that you get to hear about IWT’s writing retreat before you get to hear about those…
I’m sure the entire world waits with bated breath. 😉
Well, despite knowing perfectly well that the #1 task I need to accomplish as a writer is to WRITE, I keep finding ways to distract myself. Sometimes I distract myself “productively” (laundry, dishes, blog entries…) and sometimes I just read all of tumblr or get distracted by a really excellent blog. Or decide that I really need to spend a long time posting pictures of my kid on Facebook. Or tweaking things that are immaterial.
forgive the language, but this is a very accurate depiction of what I’m talking about.
Anyway, lately I’ve been reading through the entire archives at QueryShark. (This is facilitated by how easy it is to read things on a smartphone while you feed a baby.) This counts as goofy procrastination because you absolutely do not ever query an agent about a novel that you haven’t finished yet, and despite having several projects in various stages, I definitely do not yet have any finished novels to be querying.