__MAIN_TEXT__

Page 1

THE WRITER’S GUIDE FREE

Winter/Spring 2019

DMV natives Julia Fine & Lillian Li on their new novels pg 5 Readings & Events pg 9 Workshop Schedule pg 11

writer.org


The Writer’s Center The Writer’s Guide Winter/Spring 2019

writer.org

DEPARTMENTS

Editor

EDITOR’S NOTE 4

Zach Powers

INSTRUCTOR BIOS 23

EVENTS 9

Contributors

BOOK TALK 33

WORKSHOPS:

Jody Bolz Yohanca Delgado Tony Hoagland Emily Holland E. Ethelbert Miller Laureen Schipsi Tessa Wild Stephen Zerance

REGISTRATION 35

Schedule 11 Descriptions 15

FEATURES 5 Interview with Lillian Li

Graphic Design

Virtually Detailed, LLC

The debut novelist (Number One Chinese Restaurant) talks jobs, family, and personal connections.

Copyeditor

Laura Spencer

7 Interview with Julia Fine

Cover Image

Chevy Chase native Fine shares the magical origins of her acclaimed first novel, What Should Be Wild.

Dana Richardson City Composition (Liberty Street) [detail]

26 Yohanca Delgado talks with Tara Campbell

enamel, epoxy resin on panel

Campbell discusses her new book Circe’s Bicycle, a mix of poetry and flash fiction, and explains the impulse to write small.

30” X 30” 2018

28 Poet Lore

Contact Us

4508 Walsh Street Bethesda, MD 20815 301-654-8664 (p) 240-223-0458 (f) Writer.org

A sneak peek inside the new issue of Poet Lore, plus Emily Holland reviews Poet Lore contributor Stephen Zerance’s new collection, Safe Danger.

Board of Directors Chair: John M. Hill

Vice Chair: Kenneth D. Ackerman

Treasurer: Mark Cymrot

Secretary: Patricia A. Harris

Chair Emeritus: Sally Mott Freeman Margot Backas • Linna Barnes • Debbie L. Cohen • Naomi F. Collins • Patrick Corvington • William DeVinney • Lakshmi Grama Les Hatley • James T. Mathews • Jim McAndrew • Joram Piatigorsky • Bill Reynolds • Mier Wolf

Honorary Board Kate Blackwell • Timothy Crawford • Dana Gioia • Jim & Kate Lehrer • Alice McDermott Ellen McLaughlin • E. Ethelbert Miller • Howard Norman

for the most up-to-date news and information, visit www.writer.org

3


A NOTE FROM THE EDITOR

Zach Powers

C

onsider, if you will, the fascination with famous writers’ houses. You can pay your respects to Mark Twain at his Hartford, Connecticut home, or step inside the cheery yellow walls of Emily Dickinson’s house in Amherst, Massachusetts. Right here in DC you can find dozens of authors’ abodes, including the Dupont Circle apartment where Langston Hughes started his poetic career. I served on the board of directors for the Flannery O’Connor Childhood Home in Savannah, Georgia. The townhome is, along with Andalusia in Milledgeville, Georgia, one of two residences

The Writer’s Center

preserved as a museum celebrating O’Connor’s life and career.

appear in her work again and again?

Why do we turn to these physical places? Books, after all, offer incorporeal settings. Even a written depiction of a real place must necessarily be an author’s interpretation. Reading is a distinctly unphysical act.

Home is a place of comfort, safety, and family. But for writers, it’s also a place of inspiration, seeping into our writing whether we’re aware of it or not. For some of us, home isn’t limited to the place we keep our stuff. I’m writing this in a carrell downstairs at The Writer’s Center, home to hundreds of writers and people who want to write.

Are we looking for answers to the questions our favorite author left hanging? Do we hope to see a secret sentence debossed by the point of a pen into the surface of a desk? Do we visit to discover the unwritten backstory of a beloved novel? O’Connor once wrote, “Anybody who has survived his childhood has enough information about life to last him the rest of his days.” This quote gives me a hint at the answer to my questions.

In the end, I’m not sure why we turn houses into museums. I think museum might be the wrong word, anyway. Maybe the homes of writers are more like O’Connor’s cathedral, sites to rediscover our faith in the power of the written word.

Through O’Connor’s front windows, across an oak-filled Savannah square, the twin steeples of the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist cast pointed shadows over the whole neighborhood. Growing up, young Flannery had no choice but to consider her Catholic faith every time she looked outside. Is it any wonder that themes of faith

IN THIS ISSUE DC area natives Julia Fine and Lillian Li talk about their debut novels and how their childhood homes contributed to their life as writers. Emily Holland reviews American University alum Stephen Zerance’s new poetry collection, Safe Danger, including a poem originally published in TWC’s own Poet Lore. TWC Instructor Tara Campbell explains why she turns to small forms. Plus, a look inside Poet Lore’s latest issue. And as always, discover a hundred new workshops and events coming this winter and spring to your literary home at The Writer’s Center. —Zach Powers

4

Welcome home, writers! The new façade of The Writer’s Center was unveiled on November 2. Photo by Grace Mott.

Workshop & Event Guide Winter/Spring 2019


The Circumstances of Connection An Interview with Lillian Li By Tessa Wild

L

illian Li, author of Number One Chinese Restaurant (Henry Holt, 2018), is originally from North Potomac, Maryland, just a short jaunt from The Writer’s Center and near Rockville, where the novel takes place. A brief summer job in the area inspired the setting of the titular restaurant. The novel, many-voiced and darkly humorous, was named a “Most Anticipated Book of 2018” by The Millions, Bitch Media, and Cosmopolitan. Lillian spoke with me about her work and her experience living in Maryland. You once worked at a Chinese restaurant in Northern Virginia. How much of your novel comes directly from that experience? I worked at the restaurant for less than a month, so I would say not very much of my novel was inspired by that experience. However, it’s also true that I wouldn’t have written a novel set in a Chinese restaurant if I hadn’t worked in one first. The lasting influence of that job was the emotional ache it left me with, long after I quit. I started writing Number One Chinese Restaurant because of the loneliness and alienation I felt working six days a week, twelve hours a day, serving people who looked right through me and my

co-workers, who saw us more as pieces of furniture than as human beings. I started wondering how anyone could put up working in an environment like lives and structures, even in that, and what the smallest gestures. Power they would do exists, affects, and is abused to make life not by people at every scale, only livable, but from what goes on in the enjoyable in the restaurant space. At the same time, White House to what goes on in the what would they have to give up in kitchen of a Chinese restaurant. their outside lives in order to sustain their restaurant lives? It was Your novel centers around through this compulsive imaginatwo types of relationships, tion that I wrote Number One. romantic and familial, but it’s the familial ones that prove to be more enduring. Why Considering the DC area did you highlight the familial more broadly, how did over the romantic? growing up here affect who you’ve become as a writer? I don’t think I was making a judgment call to have the familI remember going on a date with ial relationships endure over the someone years ago and telling romantic ones. As in, I don’t think him that I was interested in writfamilial relationships are more ing about power, and he said, “Of course you are. You’re from DC.” I important or stronger than romantic ones. However, I do think thought that was very funny at the that one of the themes of the novel time, and looking back it’s hard to is personal ambition in the face of say how much truth, if any, is in family loyalty, and I wanted to exthat statement. But I do think that being in such close proximity to the plore how familial duty has deeplocus of national power and politics er, more binding roots than are at first obvious, to both the reader gave me a greater sensitivity to the and the characters themselves. way power runs through all our

for the most up-to-date news and information, visit www.writer.org

5


Do you think any of these interpersonal relationships would have turned out differently if your characters had different jobs? Would the relationships exist at all? And how do you think our workplaces affect who we befriend? Oh, definitely. Even though much of the action of the book takes place outside of the Beijing Duck House, none of the relationships could have existed without that very specific restaurant structure. I’ve always been interested in how many of our relationships depend more on circumstances and proximity than what we tend to think relationships are built on— common interests, complementary personalities. It speaks to the innate adaptability and desire for connection in all people, which I find both heartening and insidious. And I also wanted to remark upon how much our work lives and our personal lives bleed into each other, and how nonsensical our attempts to separate and distinguish between the two “lives” are. The characters in my book have, in many ways, dropped all pretense that they can separate their work from their home, and so I could more explicitly explore the ways our workplaces shape who we are as people, and shape what we then seek outside of work.

to run away from and also return to in the end?

Many people do not feel fully seen by their families, even if they feel fully loved, and the discomfort from that contradiction is what I think creates that cycle of escape and return.

I think something that I write about a lot, and think about a lot, is loneliness, and how family is both an antidote to and damning proof of the impossibility of ever escaping the separation from others that we’re all born into (especially in Western society, which prizes individuality). Family, after all, is supposed to represent unconditional love, and in my novel, I believe this is true. At the same time, unconditional love does not mean perfect love, and more often than not familial love feels deeply myopic, and therefore flawed.

Finally, do you have any advice for aspiring writers? Even if you don’t think you are, whenever you write, you are putting a part of yourself into the writing. So lean into that vulnerability and that openness. Write what feels urgent to you. Write to figure things out. Write to understand.

Summer Solstice

WOMEN'S WRITING RETREAT with Melanie Figg

on your writing project with optional critiques and informal readings

in an inspiring setting with time to explore and play

with other women writers

Blue Mountain Retreat Center Knoxville, MD (65 miles from DC)

Even though familial relationships are so important, a theme of escaping family runs throughout the novel. How is family both something the characters want

: More info at melaniefigg.net

6

Workshop & Event Guide Winter/Spring 2019


The Magic of Metaphor An Interview with Julia Fine By Zach Powers

J

ulia Fine grew up in Chevy Chase, just around the corner from The Writer’s Center, but one could be forgiven for assuming she comes from some distant, magical realm. Her debut novel, What Should Be Wild (Harper, 2018), imagines a contemporary mythology full of strange and mystical happenings. From start to finish, the novel displays pristine prose, and a searching, questioning style that makes me look forward to all of Fine’s stories yet to come. She was kind enough to talk to me about the novel, writing, and her DC-area upbringing. Your novel is a heady literary folktale. One of the things I love about the folktale and fantastical literature in general is its ability to examine everyday experiences in new ways. What did the fantastical conceit allow you to do that you couldn’t have done in a traditional realist narrative? What Should Be Wild was always going to be speculative—I started writing after hearing about a legal case a few years back where a woman in early pregnancy was declared braindead but being kept alive because of the fetus, even though it wasn’t viable. Her family

was fighting to have her taken off life support, and the story made national news. I was interested in the way a mother’s body (a woman’s body, really) isn’t her own, and wondered what it would be like if a child was born under these conditions. It’s not scientifically possible, but the beauty of fiction is being able to make it happen. I love using elements of genre as metaphor, a way to talk about ideas. I was interested in the way society views women, specifically as they move into adolescence. There’s a very strange dichotomy of desirability vs. danger, of encouragement vs. repression that I wasn’t sure how to tackle head on. Maisie’s powers gave me the perfect vehicle to come at these ideas sideways. Not to limit your novel, but there are two categories that I thought it clearly fit into: the folktale, as I’ve mentioned, and the Bildungsroman. Were you aware of these as you wrote? Did you write into them deliberately, or perhaps discover them during the process of writing? How did they merge into a single story?

for the most up-to-date news and information, visit www.writer.org

I was very intentionally steeping myself in the folk/ fairytale genre while writing. I wanted What Should Be Wild to be something of a meditation on fairytales—how and why we tell them, how people have used them as political tools throughout history, how the tales we tell sometimes ring truer than the way things actually happened. I grew up on the Grimm Brothers and Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods and Hans Christian Andersen, and I’ve been trying to find a way to write a love letter to the genre since I was very young. As I began to dig into the histories of some classic tales and the history of the genre itself, I was struck by how many of these stories I knew through male retellings actually originated with women. I was writing about a young girl coming to terms with how society restricts her, and it just so happened that the very genre I was already naturally inclined to emulate was a tool women had been using for centuries to harness

7


political power. I read a fabulous book by Marina Warner called From the Beast To the Blonde where she frames the Oracle at Delphi— an influential young woman back in ancient Greece—as a fairytale teller. No one was going to listen to their daughter in the kitchen suggesting how they should handle declarations of war or power struggles, but filtered through the smoke and mirrors—in essence through a fairy tale—women could have a say in how the world worked. It’s fascinating and empowering and fit so beautifully with Maisie trying to figure out her place in a world that writes her off. In a way, the bildungsroman, (which I haven’t done extensive research on, but in my limited experience seems more of a historically male-dominated genre—boys making their fortune and all that) is a perfect offset to the fairytale. One is a genre focused on specific experience, and the other on the universal. I didn’t deliberately write towards the bildungsroman, but I can definitely see its influences. The hardest part of working on the book was structuring the two parallel narrations and weaving all the threads of the novel together. It came together with a lot of trial and error. Much of the novel chronicles Maisie growing up and learning the limitations of her childhood experience. Is there anything of your experience in that, coming from Chevy Chase but setting out into the broader world as an adult?

8

At eighteen I moved to Iowa for college, and it was a huge culture shock for me. I had Maisie’s experience in reverse—moving from a vibrant, cultural hub to a sleepy college town in the cornfields. I’m immensely glad I moved west, because it really brought me out of my bubble (maybe into a different bubble, but what can you do?), though I do miss the DC area! A lot of Maisie’s emotional beats are very similar to mine— realizing that she shouldn’t make decisions based on what other people think of her, really owning the things she’s seen as weaknesses and turning them into strengths. I was a super nerdy kid and high schooler—I did the IB program at BCC and was so embarrassingly into it—and it took me a while to feel like my ideas and interests were “cool.” I wrote WSBW to be the kind of book I wish I’d read at sixteen, one that might have gotten me to a more secure sense of myself sooner. In general, is there anything from growing up in the DC area that you find working its way into your writing? What have you taken away from here? I feel incredibly lucky to have grown up in the DC area because I had access to so many wonderful cultural experiences. Whenever I’d visit other cities as a kid, and especially when I moved to Chicago as an adult, I was shocked to realized that not all museums are free. The global perspective I got driving down Embassy Row or meeting kids whose parents

worked for the World Bank or just hearing tourists speaking different languages was hugely influential on my development as a writer and, really, as a person. The Folger! The Folklife Festival! I’d sometimes complain as a kid about getting dragged to another event, but retrospectively I’m incredibly lucky that my parents took advantage of the city. Funny enough, the DC experience that made it into WSBW most obviously is growing up near Rock Creek Park. I honestly thought I lived next to a mysterious forest, and driving through the park I’d always imagine how wonderful it would be to live in one of those big houses that backs right up onto the trees. My childhood playground was Candycane City (at Beach and Woodbine) and when I was old enough to walk off on my own I had elaborate fantasies of what was happening in the woods. Looking back it’s so obviously an urban park, but as a kid it really sparked my imagination. Finally, what’s one piece of advice that you’d offer to an aspiring writer? Lean into what scares you most about your writing. When I first shared the piece that would become WSBW, I was terrified that people would think it was too weird, too conceptual, too personal. My editor talks about finding the bruise and then pressing on it. If you can do that with your work, and if you’re willing to go back in with a critical eye and refine it, you’re going to get somewhere.

Workshop & Event Guide Winter/Spring 2019


EVENTS

Readings and Events EVENTS

Winter/Spring 2019 Tough Cases Panel Discussion

Joram Piatigorsky Book Release

Sunday, January 13, 4-6pm

Saturday, April 13, 7pm

Join Washington, DC Superior Court judges Russell F. Canan, Gregory E. Mize, and Frederick H. Weisberg for a discussion of their new book, Tough Cases. The book features a collection of essays from judges across the country, giving readers a rare perspective on the American judicial system and the moral dilemmas judges regularly face. Highlights from the book include the Terri Schiavo, Elian Gonzalez, and Scooter Libby cases, plus many more.

Travel Writing and Photography in DC Thursday, January 24, time TBD

Writer Katie Bianco (100 Things to Do in Washington, DC Before You Die) and photographer Angela Pan (Snap DC: Your Guide to Taking Extraordinary Photos of the National Mall and Beyond...) share their tips for writing about and photographing the District. Even lifelong locals are sure to learn a few new secrets about our hometown.

Pi Day: Math and Poetry Thursday, March 14, 7pm

In celebration of Pi Day, a panel of DC-area poets and mathematicians will share poetry with links to mathematics and present some fascinating details about the many and varied connections between the two fields. Organized by Silver Spring mathematician-poet JoAnne Growney.

The Writer’s Center and Adelaide Books present the launch of Joram Piatigorsky’s short story collection, The Open Door and other Tales of Love and Yearning. Piatigorsky is the author of The Speed of Dark (Adelaide Books, 2018) and Jellyfish Have Eyes (IPBooks, 2014).

The Writer’s Center Open Mic Use your words at our poetry, prose, and spoken word open mic, one Saturday a month! Open to all members of The Writer’s Center family and the public. Signup starts at 1:30pm. Limited space, so sign up early! January 19, 2-4pm February 9, 2-4pm March 9, 2-4pm April 13, 2-4pm

Café Muse The Writer’s Center is thrilled to welcome Word Works’ Café Muse to our Reading Room! The monthly event features two poets of national acclaim, followed by a brief open mic. The evening starts at 7pm with classical guitar performed by Michael Davis. Co-hosted by Rocky Delaplaine, Susan Okie, and Henry Crawford. Free and open to the public, with light refreshments. Visit wordworksdc.com or TWC online calendar for dates.

Unless otherwise indicated, all events are held at The Writer’s Center, 4508 Walsh St, Bethesda, MD 20815. Visit writer.org for additional information. for the most up-to-date news and information, visit www.writer.org

9


WORKSHOP GUIDELINES WORKSHOP GUIDELINES Learning to write is an ongoing process that requires time and practice. Our writing workshops are for everyone, from novices to seasoned writers looking to improve their skills, to published authors seeking refinement and feedback, to professionals with an eye on competition. Group settings encourage the writing process by teaching writers to prioritize and to help each other using many skills at once. From our workshops, participants can expect: • Guidance and encouragement from a published, working writer; • Instruction on technical aspects such as structure, diction and form; • Kind, honest, constructive feedback directed at individual work; • Peer readers/editors who act as “spotters” for sections of writing that need attention, and who become your community of working colleagues even after the workshop is completed; • Tips on how to keep writing and integrate this “habit of being” into your life; • Tactics for getting published; • Time to share work with other writers and read peers’ work, and • Help with addressing trouble areas and incorporating multiple, sometimes conflicting, ideas into a revision.

BEGINNER LEVEL We strongly suggest that newcomers start with a beginner-level workshop. They are structured to help you discover the fundamentals of creative writing, such as:

• Getting your ideas on the page; • Choosing a genre and the shape your material should take; • Learning the elements of poetry, playwriting, fiction, memoir, etc.; • Identifying your writing strengths and areas of opportunity and • Gaining beginning mastery of the basic tools of all writing, such as concise, accurate language, and learning how to tailor them to fit your style.

INTERMEDIATE LEVEL These workshops will build on skills you developed in the beginner level, and are designed for writers who have: • Critiqued some published works; • Taken a beginner-level workshop; • Achieved some grace in using the tools of language and form and • Have projects in progress they want to develop further.

ADVANCED LEVEL Participants should have manuscripts that have been critiqued in workshops at the intermediate level and have been revised substantially. This level offers: • Focus on the final revision and completion of a specific work; • Fast-paced setting with higher expectations of participation and • Deep insight and feedback.

MASTER LEVEL Master classes are designed for writers who have taken several advanced workshops and have reworked a manuscript into what they believe is its final form. Master classes are unique opportunities to work in smaller

The Writer’s Center groups with distinguished writers on a specific project or manuscript. Workshop leaders select participants from the pool of applicants; selection is competitive.

REGISTRATION Workshop registration is available online at www.writer.org, in person at The Writer’s Center, via mail, online or by phone at (301) 654-8664.

refund policy • Full refunds are given only when TWC cancels a workshop. • Workshop participants will be notified via email when a class is cancelled, and recieve the option of a refund or credit. • Workshop participants who have enrolled in and paid for a workshop and choose to withdraw from it within the drop period (see below) will receive a full credit to their account that can be used within one year to pay for another workshop and/or a membership. Please email grace.mott@writer. org to request a credit.

Find Your Niche The Writer’s Center recognizes that all writers and styles are unique! Our staff can help you find the right course(s) for your level of experience, preferred genre and overall goals. Call us at (301) 654-8664.

Drop Period for Credit 5 or more sessions: 48 hours notice required before the second meeting 4 or fewer sessions: 48 hours notice required before the first meeting 10

Workshop & Event Guide Winter/Spring 2019


ADULTS WRITE FOR CHILDREN (PAGE 15)

LEADER

DATES

DAY

TIME

LEVEL

Creating Your Book for Children

Peter Mandel

1/28

M

7–9 p.m.

ALL

Writing Picture Books

Mary Quattlebaum

4/4–4/18

Th

7–9:30 p.m.

ALL

FICTION (PAGES 15–16)

LEADER

DATES

DAY

TIME

LEVEL

Writing the Short Story

Alyce Miller

1/15–1/22

T

10 a.m.–2 p.m.

ALL

Fiction II

Jennifer Buxton

1/22– 3/12

T

7–9:30 p.m.

I

How to Write a Novel

John DeDakis

1/23

W

10:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. B/I

From Novice to Novelist

John DeDakis

1/26

S

10 a.m.–5 p.m.

B/I

First Pages

Victoria Kelly

2/2

S

10 a.m.–1 p.m.

B/I

Advanced Short Stories

Hildie Block

2/5–3/26

T

10:30 a.m.–1 p.m.

A

Advanced Fiction Workshop

Virginia Hartman

2/6–3/13

W

7–9:30 p.m.

A

How to Write a Novel*

John DeDakis

2/20

W

10:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. B/I

From Novice to Novelist*

John DeDakis

2/23

S

10 a.m.–5 p.m.

B/I

Fantastic Fiction Fix-Its

Kathryn Johnson

2/23

S

10 a.m.–12:30 p.m.

ALL

The Extreme Novelist II: Revision

Kathryn Johnson

2/27–4/17

W

7–9:30 p.m.

I/A

Your First (or Next) Novel

Kathryn Johnson

3/2

S

10 a.m.–12:30 p.m.

B/I

Beginning Fantasy Fiction

Brenda W. Clough

3/5–3/12

T

7:30–9:30 p.m.

B

Creating Conflict & Tension in Fiction

Kathryn Johnson

3/16

S

10 a.m.–12:30 p.m.

ALL

A Perfect Ending

Lynn Auld Schwartz

3/23

S

9:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. B/I

How to Plot like a Pro

Kathryn Johnson

4/13

S

10 a.m.–12:30 p.m.

ALL

Beginning Fantasy Fiction

Brenda W. Clough

4/17–4/24

W

7:30–9:30 p.m.

B

Whodunnit? Writing the Mystery Novel

Alan Orloff

4/27

S

10 a.m.–12:30 p.m.

B/I

MIXED GENRE (PAGES 16–18)

LEADER

DATES

DAY

TIME

LEVEL

Writing as a Path to Healing

Laura Di Franco

1/15–2/12

T

6:30–8:30 p.m.

ALL

Writing in First-Person

John Lingan

1/16–1/23

W

7–9 p.m.

I/A

Small Mutinies: Flash Fiction/Prose Poem

Alyce Miller

1/19

S

10 a.m.–2 p.m.

ALL

1/22–2/12

T

7–8:30 p.m.

ALL

Unclogging the Brain Through Improv Lisa Jan Sherman B—beginner

I—intermediate

A—advanced

M—master

ALL—all levels —online class

* Indicates workshops held at one of our satellite locations. Please see descriptions for more information. for the most up-to-date news and information, visit www.writer.org

11

SCHEDULE

WINTER WORKSHOP SCHEDULE


WINTER WORKSHOP SCHEDULE

The Writer’s Center

SCHEDULE

MIXED GENRE (Continued)

LEADER

DATES

DAY TIME

LEVEL

Writing Characters With Character

Alyce Miller

1/26

S

10 a.m.–2 p.m.

ALL

Writing About Nature

John Lingan

1/30–2/6

W

7–9 p.m.

ALL

Boot Camp for Writers

Beth Kanter

2/6–3/6

W

10:30 a.m.–1 p.m.

ALL

Writing with the Five Senses

Cheryl Somers Aubin

2/9

S

1–4 p.m.

B

Character Development in Fiction and Marilyn W. Smith Memoir

2/11–2/15

M-F

11 a.m.–1 p.m.

ALL

Read Your Words!

Lisa Jan Sherman

2/26

T

6:30–8:30 p.m.

ALL

Getting Started: Creative Writing

Elizabeth Rees

3/5–4/30

T

7–9:30 p.m.

B

Revitalize Your Writing

Aaron Hamburger

3/5

T

7–9 p.m.

ALL

Build Your Platform with Blogging

Laura Di Franco

3/7

Th

6:30–8:30 p.m.

ALL

Fiction and Non-Fiction Personal Narratives

Aaron Hamburger

3/12–3/26

T

7–9 p.m.

ALL

Writing for Procrastinators

Melanie Figg

3/14–4/25

Th

7–9 p.m.

ALL

Getting Started: Creative Writing*

Patricia Gray

3/16–3/23

S

1–4 p.m.

B/I

Point of View

Alyce Miller

3/23–3/30

S

10 a.m.–2 p.m.

ALL

How to Write a Lot

Kathryn Johnson

3/30

S

10 a.m.–12:30 p.m.

ALL

Diving Into the Wreck: Writing about Difficult Subjects

Janice Gary

4/6–4/13

S

1:30–4 p.m.

ALL

Mini-Writing Conference!

Hildie Block

4/8–4/10

M-W 10:30 a.m.–1 p.m.

ALL

The Joy of Revision

Alyce Miller

4/10

W

10 a.m.–2 p.m.

I/A

Brain Science Tips to Hook Readers

Laura Oliver

4/13

S

1:30–3 p.m.

ALL

Great Beginnings

Kathryn Johnson

4/27

S

10 a.m.–12:30 p.m.

ALL

NONFICTION (PAGES 18–19)

LEADER

DATES

DAY TIME

LEVEL

Writing a Nonfiction Book Proposal

John Lingan

1/2–1/9

W

7–9 p.m.

I

My Life, One Story at a Time

Pat McNees

1/9–2/13

W

7:15–9:45 p.m.

I

Writing for Radio

Katie Davis

1/12–3/9

S

10:30 a.m.–1 p.m.

ALL

Narrative Nonfiction: History and Biography

Kenneth D. Ackerman

1/22–2/26

T

7–9:30 p.m.

ALL

Writing for Self-Discovery

GG Renee Hill

1/26

S

2–5 p.m.

ALL

My Life, One Story at a Time

Pat McNees

2/7–3/14

Th

1–3 p.m.

I

Art of the Personal Essay

Alyce Miller

2/13–2/20

W

10 a.m.–2 p.m.

ALL

12

Workshop & Event Guide Winter/Spring 2019


NONFICTION (Continued)

LEADER

DATES

DAY TIME

LEVEL

Master Class in the Personal Essay

Alyce Miller

3/2

S

10 a.m.–2 p.m.

M

Beginner’s Travel Writing*

Bijan C Bayne

3/2–4/6

S

10:30 a.m.–1 p.m.

B

Finding Your Memoir Voice

Emily Rich and Desirée Magney

3/6–4/24

W

10:30 a.m.–1 p.m.

I

Advanced Personal Essay

William O’Sullivan

3/30–5/18

S

10 a.m.–12:30 p.m.

A

Life Stories Intensive

Lynn Auld Schwartz

4/13

S

9:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. B/I

Advanced Personal Essay

Alyce Miller

4/17–4/24

W

10 a.m.–2 p.m.

POETRY (PAGES 19–21)

LEADER

DATES

DAY TIME

Winter Into Spring

Rose Strode

1/12–3/16

S

10:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. ALL

Reading and Crafting Poems of Love

Rose Strode

1/14–2/11

M

7:30–9:30 p.m.

B

The Force of Poetry

Elizabeth Rees

1/14–3/11

M

7–9:30 p.m.

I/A

Poetry as Experience

Judith Harris

1/19–2/23

S

10:30 a.m.–1 p.m.

B

A Matter of Time: Verb Tenses in Poetry

Sue Ellen Thompson

2/2

S

1–4 p.m.

ALL

Common Ground

Maritza Rivera

2/2–2/23

S

1–3 p.m.

ALL

Pushing Past Clichés in Love Poems*

Nickole Brown & Jessica 2/16

S

10 a.m.–1 p.m.

ALL

Reviving a Stuck Poem

Melanie Figg

2/16

S

1–4:30 p.m.

ALL

Art of Gratitude II

Rose Strode

2/18–4/8

M

7:30–9:30 p.m.

B

The Fun & Freedom of Form

Melanie Figg

2/19–3/12

T

7–9:30 p.m.

I/A

What Sound Effects Can Do for Your Poems

Sue Ellen Thompson

3/2

S

1–4 p.m.

ALL

The Personal Poem: Autobiographical & Cultural Themes

Judith Harris

3/9–4/13

S

10 a.m.–1 p.m

ALL

Common Ground

Maritza Rivera

4/6–4/27

S

1–3 p.m.

ALL

How Poems Begin

Sue Ellen Thompson

4/20

S

1–4 p.m.

ALL

PROFESSIONAL WRITING (PAGE 21)

LEADER

DATES

DAY TIME

LEVEL

How to Write a Business Book

Rob Jolles

3/4–3/25

M

6–8 p.m.

ALL

Taking Your Book On The Road

Rob Jolles

4/6

S

10 a.m.–5 p.m.

ALL

Write Like the News

Hank Wallace

4/24

W

7–9 p.m.

ALL

Writing the Dreaded Query Letter

Alan Orloff

4/27

S

2–4:30 p.m.

ALL

B—beginner

I—intermediate

A—advanced

M—master

ALL—all levels —online class

* Indicates workshops held at one of our satellite locations. Please see descriptions for more information. for the most up-to-date news and information, visit www.writer.org

13

A

LEVEL

SCHEDULE

WINTER WORKSHOP SCHEDULE


WINTER WORKSHOP SCHEDULE

The Writer’s Center

SCHEDULE

STAGE AND SCREEN (PAGE 21–22) LEADER

DATES

DAY TIME

LEVEL

Writing for the Screen

Alexandra Viets

1/22–3/12

T

6–8:30 p.m.

I/A

Exposition & Process in Playwriting

Richard Washer

2/2

S

10 a.m.–1 p.m.

B

How to Write and Produce a Feature Film

John Weiskopf

2/16

S

10 a.m.–5 p.m.

I/A

Writing Dialogue for Film & Television

John Weiskopf

2/27–4/10

W

7–9:30 p.m.

I/A

Elements of Playwriting: Dialogue

Richard Washer

3/23

S

10 a.m.–1 p.m.

B/I

Elements of Playwriting: Character

Richard Washer

3/30

S

10 a.m.–1 p.m.

B/I

Structure in Playwriting

Richard Washer

4/9–4/30

T

7:30–10 p.m.

B/I

ONLINE

LEADER

DATES

LEVEL

Intro to the Novel

Tammy Greenwood

1/11–3/1

ALL

Plotting Your Novel

Tammy Greenwood

1/11–2/1

ALL

Writing Creative Nonfiction

Christopher Linforth

1/14–3/4

ALL

Sonnet Intensive

Claudia Gary

1/14–1/28

I/A

Poetry Chapbook Workshop

Meg Eden

1/14–2/4

I/A

Poetic Forms

Meg Eden

1/28–3/4

ALL

Words That Move

GG Renee Hill

2/4–2/25

B/I

Found Poetry

Katherine McCord

2/4–3/14

ALL

Creating Novel Characters

Tammy Greenwood

2/8–3/1

ALL

Villanelle Intensive

Claudia Gary

2/11–2/25

I/A

Plotting Your Novel

Tammy Greenwood

3/1–3/22

ALL

Intro to the Novel

Tammy Greenwood

3/1–4/19

ALL

Flash Fiction Forms

Tara Campbell

3/1–3/22

ALL

Meter Intensive

Claudia Gary

3/11–3/25

I/A

Hip Hop is Poetry

Bennie Herron

3/18–4/8

ALL

Creating Novel Characters

Tammy Greenwood

3/29–4/19

ALL

My Life In Haiku

Marianne Murphy

4/1–4/22

ALL

Sonnets and Villanelles II

Claudia Gary

4/8–4/22

A

14

Workshop & Event Guide Winter/Spring 2019


WORKSHOPS For more detailed class descriptions, please visit writer.org

Creating Your Book for Children: Shape it, Submit it, See it in Print Peter Mandel Having a children’s book published in today’s tough market may seem like an impossible dream. But, in reality, getting your book idea into shape and into print can hinge on just the right advice from a pro. Do you need an agent? Should you connect with an artist? What about self-publishing? In a DC-area exclusive one-session workshop, nationally-known author Peter Mandel will pass on the insider’s tips writers need to know in order to create a marketable first book and get it into the hands of exactly the right gatekeepers in the publishing world. 1 Monday Bethesda

7–9 p.m. All Levels

1/28 $50

Writing Picture Books Mary Quattlebaum Learn how to write a picture book from a successful author of more than two dozen award-winning books for children. Each session will begin with a short discussion of an aspect of writing for children, including story openings and arcs, characterization, plot/pacing, rhythm/sound, and marketing. Suggested readings, prompts, and feedback will inspire and guide writers in the class. By the end of the workshop, participants should have written and/or revised part or all of a picture book and have a better sense of how to create one in the future. If you want feedback, feel free to bring work to the first class (typed and double-spaced and with 16 copies). 3 Thursdays Bethesda

7–9:30 p.m. All Levels

4/4–4/18 $135

Fiction

ters! This eight-week writing workshop will include workshopping peer stories in class as well as reading from the text Best American Short Stories 2018 (ed. Gray) outside of class. 8 Tuesdays 10:30 a.m.–1 p.m. Bethesda Advanced

2/5–3/26 $360

Beginning Fantasy Fiction Brenda W. Clough Vampires, zombies, and halflings with swords! Participants will build a world and write in it. The first session of this workshop will be devoted to the basics of fiction and story construction. In the second session, participants will do a start-up exercise to help get them started on a possibly longer work. 2 Tuesdays 7:30–9:30 p.m. Bethesda Beginner

3/5–3/12 $80

2 Wednesdays 7:30–9:30 p.m. Bethesda Beginner

4/17–4/24 $80

Creating Conflict & Tension in Fiction Kathryn Johnson It’s often said that without conflict there is no story. It also holds true that strengthening the conflict in any type of fiction will bump up the tension and turn limp, ordinary fiction into an extraordinary tale that will keep readers turning pages. Whether you choose to write literary fiction, mysteries, family sagas, thrillers, historical fiction, sci-fi, or fantasy— you can learn techniques for drawing readers into your tales through action, dialogue, setting details, and plot twists that make your work stand out from the crowd. Join us and leave with a handout chock full of ideas to apply to your stories. 1 Saturday Bethesda

10 a.m.–12:30 p.m. All Levels

3/16 $50

Creating Novel Characters

Advanced Fiction Workshop

Tammy Greenwood

Virginia Hartman

When writing a novel, we must know our primary characters inside and out. We need to understand their desires, motivations, and frustrations, their histories and their futures. This workshop will focus on the development of authentic characters. We will examine character as both autonomous and residing within the context of the other novelistic elements, and we will discuss the challenge of creating and integrating these various elements into a cohesive and credible whole. Participants will explore the main character(s) in their novels-in-progress.

You’re sick of sitting alone in your room. You want some feedback you can trust, and moreover, you want to see what other good writers are doing with their fiction. This workshop will gather together people of like minds, working hard and willing to be supportive. Do you hook readers in right away? Do your characters live and breathe? If this kind of deep reading and insightful questioning sounds appealing, please submit your best five pages of fiction (no more) to laura.spencer@writer.org by January 8. Note: Please do not register for the course prior to being accepted. 6 Wednesdays 7–9:30 p.m. Bethesda Advanced

2/6–3/13 $270

4 Weeks Online All Levels

2/8–3/1 $195

4 Weeks Online All Levels

3/29–4/19 $195

Advanced Short Stories

The Extreme Novelist II: Revision

Hildie Block

Kathryn Johnson

Take your writing to the next level with a deeper understanding of plot, tension, and quirky charac-

This follow-up course to the popular Extreme Novelist is intended for writers serious about their

for the most up-to-date news and information, visit www.writer.org

publication goals. Participants will focus on revision and learn ways to avoid the most common issues that result in rejection. Plotting pitfalls, slow beginnings, and weak endings are just a few of the topics to be tackled as each participant works independently on revising and polishing their manuscript. The goal is to give authors of novels, short story collections, and memoirs the tools they need to self-edit and fine-tune their manuscripts, thereby increasing their chance of commercial publication. 8 Wednesdays Bethesda

7–9:30 p.m. 2/27–4/17 Intermediate/Advanced $360

Fantastic Fiction Fix-Its Kathryn Johnson Revision is a dirty word to some writers. But you needn’t fear the challenges of polishing a manuscript before submission and publication. This fast-paced, half-day class focuses on the ten most common mistakes and concerns, often overlooked by authors before they send their story out into the world. Everything you do to your manuscript after the first draft is what makes the difference between a ho-hum story and a tale that lingers in readers’ minds. Join us for a painless look at the major revision issues for fiction. 1 Saturday Bethesda

10 a.m.–12:30 p.m. All Levels

2/23 $50

Fiction II Jennifer Buxton This is your chance to have your work read by a range of writers and see what’s working. An M.F.A.style workshop, this eight week course will include writing exercises, prompts, outside readings, and thorough discussion of your work. 8 Tuesdays 7–9:30 p.m. 1/22–3/12 Bethesda Intermediate $360

First Pages Victoria Kelly Facing a blank page can be one of the hardest things about writing, but the beginning of your story or novel will often determine whether a reader keeps reading. Bring your first page to this workshop, or come to learn from scratch. Participants will look at techniques for starting stories, and read examples of beginnings from published authors as well as each other’s work. 1 Saturday Bethesda

10 a.m.–1 p.m. 2/2 Beginner/Intermediate $50

Flash Fiction Forms

Tara Campbell Have you ever looked at a map or a recipe and thought “there’s a story there”? No? Well, it’s time to change that. In this four-week course, participants will explore different forms of flash fiction and use them as a basis for our own, off-kilter

15

workshops

Adults Write for Children


WORKSHOPS creations. Come ready to read, write, and give feedback on each other’s work. 4 Weeks Online All Levels

will focus on everything from generating ideas to developing characters to establishing point of view. Participants will learn some of the many elements of fiction (dialogue, scene, etc...), but the emphasis will be on discovering the writing process that works best for you!

3/1–3/22 $195

From Novice to Novelist John DeDakis This day-long workshop will deconstruct and demystify the novel-writing process for struggling and/or aspiring writers. Go all the way from getting the start of an idea to getting your book into the hands of expectant fans. Along the way you’ll learn how to stay organized, write in the voice of the opposite sex, the art of rewriting, and how to overcome your writing and marketing fears. By the end of the session you’ll be prepared to begin work on a novel and will be equipped with the skills to perfect it. The session will include time for writing.

8 Weeks Online All Levels

1/11–3/1 $360

8 Weeks Online All Levels

3/1–4/19 $360

A Perfect Ending Lynn Auld Schwartz

workshops

1 Saturday Bethesda

10 a.m.–5 p.m. 1/26 Beginner/Intermediate $115

The ending is the last thing your reader sees, but will often feel rushed—added on without thought. Find an organic end for your story or novel. Is there an epiphany or a question? A traditional plotted ending or a resonant finish? Learn to combine the inevitable with the surprising, resolve interior and exterior conflicts, understand rounding, climax, dénouement, and more.

1 Saturday Capitol Hill

10 a.m.–5 p.m. 2/23 Beginner/Intermediate $135

1 Saturday Bethesda

The Writer’s Center Your First (or Next) Novel Kathryn Johnson Writing a novel takes commitment, but it doesn’t need to be daunting. Learn how to generate a handful of plots from which to choose, methods for effectively planning your story, and simple hacks for fine tuning your basic fiction skills. Participants will initiate a flexible writing plan that will keep their writing flowing. This is a great half-day session for the beginning long-form fiction writer, or for the more experienced author in need of a quick strategy brush-up. 1 Saturday Bethesda

10 a.m.–12:30 p.m. 3/2 Beginner/Intermediate $50

Mixed Genre Boot Camp for Writers Beth Kanter

How to Plot like a Pro

Kathryn Johnson

Tammy Greenwood

You have a great idea for a story. Do you dive in and just begin writing, or start by drafting an outline? Are you a born planner or a writer who loves to discover stories organically (i.e., a pantser)? Understanding how to structure a well-conceived story around a main character and central conflict, while paying attention to pacing, can make the difference between a finished, publishable manuscript and an abandoned work-in-progress. Plotting provides a safety net that never robs the author of the joy of writing, and always reduces revision time. Think you can’t plot? Join us for this quickie course, and we’ll show you how!

Whether you are an organized planner or a writer who flies by the seats of their pants, a novel still needs structure. In this four week online workshop, participants will study the architecture of a novel and devise plans for plotting their novels. Required texts: Hooked by Les Edgerton and Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell.

This course is for individuals who want to tone up their writing muscles so they can go the distance. Classes begin with a short warm up exercise followed by a prompt for a longer piece. Participants will then focus on specifics like effective beginnings, creative prose, and strong conclusions. Participants will also learn how to avoid common grammatical and usage errors that can distract from their message. This workshop will focus on both craft and technique and is designed for participants of all backgrounds who are looking to take their writing endurance and skills to the next level. Participants will have the start of several narrative pieces by the end of the class.

4 Weeks Online All Levels

1/11–2/1 $195

5 Wednesdays Bethesda

4 Weeks Online All Levels

3/1–3/22 $195

Brain Science Tips to Hook Readers

1 Saturday Bethesda

10 a.m.–12:30 p.m. All Levels

4/13 $50

9:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. 3/23 Beginner/Intermediate $50

Plotting Your Novel

Whodunnit? Writing the Mystery Novel Alan Orloff

How to Write a Novel John DeDakis

If you’ve always wanted to write a mystery novel but didn’t know where to start, this workshop is for you. This class will focus on writing fundamentals as they apply to the mystery. Participants will examine characteristics of the many subgenres (thrillers, too!) and learn about mystery-specific conventions and pitfalls such as TSTL syndrome, macguffins, red herrings, killer twists, wacky sidekicks, and smooth clue-dropping, among others. Fun, educational, and… mysterious!

This workshop offers a practical 16-point plan that takes you from the mere germ of an idea all the way through the creative process, with an eye on getting a finished book into the hands of potential fans. Participants will discuss how to transform the nub of an idea into a book-length project, populated with interesting characters, a twisty-turny plot, snappy dialogue, and an interesting setting. Participants will also look at strategies for finding an agent and marketing the finished product.

1 Saturday Bethesda

1 Wednesday Bethesda

10:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. 1/23 Beginner/Intermediate $50

Writing the Short Story

1 Wednesday Capitol Hill

10:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. Beginner/Intermediate

10 a.m.–12:30 p.m. 4/27 Beginner/Intermediate $50

Alyce Miller

2/20 $65

Short stories are one of the most popular and complicated literary forms, but a lot of fun to write. NOTE: Instructor will email specific information and instructions several days before class.

Intro to the Novel

Tammy Greenwood Have you always wanted to write a novel but didn’t know where to start? This online workshop

16

2 Tuesdays Bethesda

10 a.m.–2 p.m. All Levels

1/15–1/22 $135

10:30 a.m.–1 p.m. All Levels

2/6–3/6 $225

Laura Oliver The human brain has evolved to biologically respond to a story in specific ways that savvy writers use to captivate readers. Learn to fulfill and exceed readers’ hard-wired expectations from the first sentence to the last. This fun and dynamic workshop will fascinate you as it informs. Leave armed with a new understanding of the concrete elements stories must deliver and why. Learn the difference between good stories and stories readers (and agents and publishers) just can’t put down. 1 Saturday Bethesda

1:30–3 p.m. All Levels

4/13 $50

Build Your Platform with Blogging Laura Di Franco Learn the powerful secrets to using your blogs to build your platform! Participants will enjoy a powerful 90-minute workshop to help them learn the secrets to writing a great blog, including tips and tricks for getting engagement, followers, and email subscribers. Learn how to use your blogs as a powerful tool to help you build your author platform and reach a much larger audience. Participants will walk away with the three biggest secrets to writing a great blog, the five most important parts of a blog, and how to get more exposure for a blog.

Workshop & Event Guide Winter/Spring 2019


WORKSHOPS 6:30–8:30 p.m. All Levels

3/7 $50

Character Development in Fiction and Memoir Marilyn W. Smith This five day workshop (one week) is for writers of fiction or memoir who want to focus on strengthening their characters. An emphasis will be placed on the use of dialogue (direct, indirect, and internal) as one means to develop characters. The workshop is interactive and lively, with opportunities for discussion, sharing, Q&A, reading, writing, and feedback. Monday-Friday Bethesda

11 a.m.–1 p.m. All Levels

2/11–2/15 $195

Diving Into the Wreck: Writing about Difficult Subjects Janice Gary Do you want to write about subjects such as loss, shame, and trauma but are unsure how to proceed? In this workshop for women-identifying writers, participants will follow Adrienne Rich’s poem “Diving Into the Wreck” as a guide, using the tools of persona, voice, and memory to mine the rich territory of our most deeply held experiences. By the end of this two session workshop, you will have generated enough material to transform emotionally charged experiences into the beginnings of powerful essays, poems, and memoir projects. 2 Saturdays Bethesda

1:30–4 p.m. All Levels

4/6–4/13 $100

Fiction and Non-Fiction Personal Narratives Aaron Hamburger In this workshop, participants will examine how to tell stories based on autobiographical material, whether in the form of a memoir or work of fiction. Writers will consider issues like the limits of memory, our responsibility to our subjects who may read our work, and research to embellish our stories and make them come alive. Fiction and creative non-fiction writers may submit their work for peer critique. 3 Tuesdays Bethesda

7–9 p.m. All Levels

3/12–3/26 $115

Getting Started: Creative Writing Patricia Gray Spring! This can be your time to plant seeds of creativity. Begin by exploring imaginative forms of writing in a supportive environment. Fun prompts will help circumvent the analytic brain and give creativity a chance to thrive. You’ll find new ways to free up memories and use them as inspiration for memoir, fiction, poems, creative nonfiction or journal-writing. Hallmarks of the workshop include in-class assignments, opportunity to read your writing—or not, as you choose—and receive feedback to identify your writing strengths. You’ll also receive

tips on how to continue writing after the workshop concludes. 2 Saturdays Capitol Hill

1–4 p.m. 3/16–3/23 Beginner/Intermediate $135

Getting Started: Creative Writing Elizabeth Rees In this eight-week workshop, beginning writers will have the chance to explore three different genres: memoir writing, short fiction, and poetry. Each week participants will be given a writing assignment and several readings, to be followed by a critique of each participant’s assignment. During the eight weeks, participants will learn about voice, point of view, dialogue, description, imagery, and sound. By the end of this workshop, participants will have written one personal memoir, one shortshort story, and three original poems, and have developed a greater understanding of their own writing interests. Note: No meeting on April 16. 8 Tuesdays 7–9:30 p.m. Bethesda Beginner

3/5–4/30 $360

Kathryn Johnson To capture a reader’s attention and hold it, an author needs a great first sentence, paragraph, and chapter. How do we provide the hook that will draw readers into our stories, no matter the genre? This fun workshop will reveal tried-and-true techniques for launching your novel, short story, or memoir that will make your story’s opening irresistible. If you like, bring the opening paragraph of your work-in-progress, and the instructor will provide a critique and suggestions. 10 a.m.–12:30 p.m. All Levels

4/27 $50

How to Write a Lot Kathryn Johnson You may think you don’t have the time, energy, or inspiration to write because of your hectic lifestyle. Wrong! Join us for coffee and pastries, and learn what professional writers know about organizing their time, establishing a productive writing routine, and getting their stories written. The class will highlight methods that many professional writers use to complete their books in months instead of years, their short stories in mere weeks. Become the dedicated author you’ve always dreamed of being. (Ideal for writers who don’t have eight weeks to dedicate to the Extreme Novelist course.) 1 Saturday Bethesda

10 a.m.–12:30 p.m. All Levels

3/30 $50

The Joy of Revision Alyce Miller Revision is one of the most important steps in shaping your work, an exciting time to view your story or essay with a fresh pair of eyes. NOTE: Instructor will email specific information and instructions several days before class. 1 Wednesday Bethesda

Hildie Block Three days! Lots of prompts and time to write, share your work and learn some craft! Mon-Wed Bethesda

10:30 a.m.–1 p.m. All Levels

4/8–4/10 $135

Point of View Alyce Miller Point of view is the most important (if not most exciting) choice a writer makes. Through exercises, readings, and your own writing, you will discover the many possibilities of POV. NOTE: Instructor will email specific information and instructions several days before class. 2 Saturdays Bethesda

10 a.m.–2 p.m. All Levels

3/23–3/30 $135

Small Mutinies: Flash Fiction/ Prose Poem Alyce Miller

Great Beginnings

1 Saturday Bethesda

Mini-Writing Conference!

10 a.m.–2 p.m. 4/10 Intermediate/Advanced $80

for the most up-to-date news and information, visit www.writer.org

Flash Fiction and Prose Poems are delightful and ancient forms that can also be a great way to jumpstart your writing. It’s not that they’re easier, just shorter! 1 Saturday Bethesda

10 a.m.–2 p.m. All Levels

1/19 $80

Read Your Words! Lisa Jan Sherman Authors become Readers! You will be guided to enjoy your own voice and confidant on stage in front of an audience. Aside from gaining practice in speaking and listening in a workshop setting, participants will learn relaxation tools and visualization techniques. This workshop will provide encouragement in proper breath support for projection, pause, and emphasis, and a bit of an improvisational twist to reflect and explore the emotion of the words. 1 Tuesday Bethesda

6:30–8:30 p.m. All Levels

2/26 $50

Revitalize Your Writing Aaron Hamburger Are you in a literary rut? Need a little inspiration and fun to help you rediscover the magic that attracted you to writing in the first place? In this class, you will do a number of dynamic exercises to jump-start your creativity and motivate you to keep on going. Our goal: to loosen up and remember that writing can be a good time. Bring pens, notebooks, and your imagination. 1 Tuesday Bethesda

7–9 p.m. All Levels

3/5 $50

Unclogging the Brain Through Improv Lisa Jan Sherman Allowing writers to think and ‘write’ on their feetmake choices, verbal and non-verbal choices and dialogue ‘in the moment’. Getting rid of the

17

workshops

1 Thursday Bethesda


WORKSHOPS negativity blocking your creativity without judging. All answers are correct! 4 Tuesdays Bethesda

7–8:30 p.m. All Levels

1/22–2/12 $115

Writing About Nature John Lingan Whether you’re an accomplished nature writer or just trying to build the settings and scenes of your work, this class will explore the common practices and classic examples of the form. The short readings in this class will comprise fiction, poetry, and nonfiction, and participants from all genres are welcome to read and learn from each other together. 2 Wednesdays Bethesda

7–9 p.m. All Levels

1/30–2/6 $80

Writing as a Path to Healing Laura Di Franco

workshops

What if there’s something you haven’t learned yet that could change everything? Participants of this course will learn powerful tools that allow them to use writing as a path to healing and happiness. Writers will explore the topics of body awareness, the inner critic, using fear as a compass, and mindset magic, in combination with guided awareness, breath work, and therapeutic writing exercises that connect them with their soul; the place where you want your writing to come from. By the end of this five week course participants will enjoy an enhanced level of awareness that’ll inspire their creative endeavors, make their writing come alive and create a path toward healing they may have not known was possible. 5 Tuesdays Bethesda

6:30–8:30 p.m. All Levels

1/15–2/12 $215

Writing Characters With Character Alyce Miller Both fiction and nonfiction rely on well-rounded characters. This workshop will focus on writing memorable and believable characters, the centerpieces of both fiction and personal essay/memoir. NOTE: Instructor will email specific information and instructions several days before class. 1 Saturday Bethesda

10 a.m.–2 p.m. All Levels

1/26 $80

Writing for Procrastinators Struggling to start—or finish—that story, article, poem, or essay? Committed to make real headway in the next six weeks? This class is for you. With short readings and weekly writing assignments, you’ll explore what keeps you from writing. As a group, we’ll discuss obstacles to success, and experiment with a variety of strategies to break our bad habits and build healthier writing routines. Join us to stretch beyond your comfort zone and make real progress on one specific piece. Bring your calendar to the first session. Note: No meeting on April 18. 7–9 p.m. All Levels

3/14–4/25 $215

18

double-spaced pages to laura.spencer@writer.org by March 8.

John Lingan From poetry to fiction to reportage, the first-person voice can create an incredible intimacy between writers and readers. In this cross-genre class, participants will discuss ways to build that intimacy and read examples of how it’s done. Participants should come ready to share their projects in progress. 2 Wednesdays Bethesda

7–9 p.m. 1/16–1/23 Intermediate/Advanced $80

Writing with the Five Senses Cheryl Somers Aubin In this one-day, three-hour class, participants will explore writing prompts inspired by our five senses. After responding to the writing prompts based on all five senses, participants will have the chance to share their work with others if they choose. This will be a fun class for beginner writers and will give an awareness of the importance of using sensory descriptions in your writing. Please bring your own food for the experience of taste if you have any allergy concerns. 1 Saturday 1–4 p.m. Bethesda Beginner

2/9 $50

Nonfiction Art of the Personal Essay Alyce Miller One of the oldest forms around, the personal essay is a prism of possibility, and an exciting way to render your own experience into literature. NOTE: Instructor will email specific information and instructions several days before class. 2 Wednesdays Bethesda

10 a.m.–2 p.m. All Levels

2/13–2/20 $135

Advanced Personal Essay

8 Saturdays 10 a.m.–12:30 p.m. Bethesda Advanced

3/30–5/18 $360

Beginner’s Travel Writing Bijan C Bayne The purpose of this course is to instruct aspiring magazine and newspaper freelancers in how to construct a destination or hotel article, pitch it, write effective query letters, and find appropriate outlets. Each week, participants will work on a feature of their choosing, with some classroom reading. They will be encouraged to bring in exemplary features with which they are impressed, also for reading or classroom analysis. At course completion, participants will have completed a query letter, and will own a draft of their tourism feature. 6 Saturdays Capitol Hill

10:30 a.m.–1 p.m. Beginner

3/2–4/6 $315

Finding Your Memoir Voice Emily Rich and Desirée Magney Having a great story is just the first step to writing a compelling piece of memoir. In this class, participants will explore what takes a piece of personal writing “from draft to craft,” looking at elements such as character development, incorporating sensory detail, and writing in scenes. This class will focus on the importance of taking a story that’s true and connecting it, as Cheryl Strayed says, “to the greater, grander truth.” In addition to workshopping each other’s writing, participants will read essays on craft and sample works of successful memoirists. When the course is over, participants will come away with an appreciation of what makes a piece of memoir stand out and appeal to an audience beyond themselves 8 Wednesdays 10:30 a.m.–1 p.m. 3/6–4/24 Bethesda Intermediate $360

Life Stories Intensive

Alyce Miller This workshop is for advanced writers already working in this genre and looking for a chance to exchange and discuss work in a more rigorous way. NOTE: Instructor will email specific information and instructions several days before class. 2 Wednesdays 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Bethesda Advanced

Melanie Figg

6 Thursdays Bethesda

Writing in First-Person

The Writer’s Center

4/17–4/24 $135

Advanced Personal Essay William O’Sullivan This workshop is for writers who have a good understanding of what a personal essay is, are open to exploring further the many forms a personal essay can take, and are already working seriously in the genre. The focus will be participants’ writing, supplemented with assigned readings. Participants will workshop two essays (or drafts of the same essay, if they prefer). The class is designed for self-contained essays, not book-length memoirs. To be considered for admission, please submit an essay or excerpt of no more than five

Lynn Auld Schwartz Whether you want to write a memoir, blog, college essay, letter to your granddaughter, or use your own life as the basis for fiction, life story writing requires that we tell where we come from and who we are. Learn to identify your story’s essence and to engage the reader through fictional techniques. Participants will leave inspired to begin or improve a work-in-progress. 1 Saturday Bethesda

9:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. 4/13 Beginner/Intermediate $50

Master Class in the Personal Essay Alyce Miller A rare opportunity for more experienced essayists looking for a tune-up and camaraderie. NOTE: Instructor will email specific information and instructions several days before class. 1 Saturday 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Bethesda Master

Workshop & Event Guide Winter/Spring 2019

3/2 $80


WORKSHOPS 

Pat McNees

Christopher Linforth

Through a series of exercises designed to open a rich vein of personal material, you will begin the exploration and storytelling that may help you tell your personal life story.

Through the course of this workshop, participants will be reading and writing in several sub-genres of creative nonfiction including memoir, essay, literary journalism, and the epistolary form. The focus of this class will be generating new material, offering feedback to peers, revising pieces, and researching markets for the placement of work.

6 Wednesdays 7:15–9:45 p.m. 1/9–2/13 Bethesda Intermediate $270 6 Thursdays 1–3 p.m. 2/7–3/14 Bethesda Intermediate $215

Writing Creative Nonfiction

8 Weeks Online All Levels

1/14–3/4 $360

Narrative Nonfiction: History and Biography

Writing for Radio

Kenneth D. Ackerman

Learn the skills of writing for the ear, then put it into practice. A veteran radio broadcaster will guide you through listening to great radio, in-class writing, and editing. By the end, participants will have a polished radio story/essay and experience on the mic reading an essay or script.

Do you have an idea for a history and biography book, or a manuscript in progress? This workshop takes a strategic approach to nailing down the concept and producing a publishing-quality manuscript best positioned for success. Participants will examine each book idea or manuscript, its narrative structure, writing and research challenges, and plan for getting the job done. Participants are encouraged to share up to 20 manuscript pages and a book summary for review. 6 Tuesdays Bethesda

7–9:30 p.m. All Levels

1/22–2/26 $270

Words That Move

GG Renee Hill This four-week online course is for writers who want to establish an online presence to promote their work. Creating a platform for the work you want to share with the world requires a combination of storytelling, style, and strategy. In this course, you will work on leveraging your life experiences as creative material, refining your voice and delivery, and connecting with your ideal audience. Each week participants will receive course content including a workbook with lessons and writing assignments as well as an audio lecture. You will come away with effective practices for building an online space that showcases your work and allows you to pave your own unique path as a writer and expressive voice. 4 Weeks 2/4–2/25 Online Beginner/Intermediate $195

Writing a Nonfiction Book Proposal John Lingan Whether you have a great idea, a few sample pages, or a finished manuscript, this workshop will help you bring it all together in a proposal that conveys your work and vision! In two sessions, participants will explore the proper structure and purpose of a nonfiction proposal, and the process for obtaining a literary agent. Classes will be discussion-oriented and include a brief homework assignment to practice some of the practices discussed. Participants will leave with a sense of how to market and promote their book ideas, and what to expect on the road to acceptance and publication. 2 Wednesdays 7–9 p.m. 1/2–1/9 Bethesda Intermediate $80

Katie Davis

8 Saturdays Bethesda

10:30 a.m.–1 p.m. All Levels

1/12–3/9 $360

Writing for Self-Discovery GG Renee Hill This interactive workshop provides writers of all levels with techniques that reveal the patterns, themes and stories that shape their lives. Participants will practice writing with beginner’s mind, thought labeling to identify hidden ideas and beliefs, and storytelling as a creative path to healing. In this three-hour session, you will write, share and discuss your work with classmates as you discover new pathways to your own inner wisdom. You will come away with writing exercises that deepen your selfawareness and expand your creative perspective. 1 Saturday Bethesda

2–5 p.m. All Levels

1/26 $50

Poetry

food, work, love, and loss from different points of view to find out. 4 Saturdays Bethesda

1–3 p.m. All Levels

2/2–2/23 $195

4 Saturdays Bethesda

1–3 p.m. All Levels

4/6–4/27 $195

The Force of Poetry Elizabeth Rees In this eight-week workshop, intermediate and advanced poets will concentrate on reading, writing, and critiquing poetry. Each class session will include a brief discussion of selected contemporary poems, an in-class writing prompt, and workshopping every participant’s poem. Specific exercises will be given to free the imagination, and quiet the inner censor. Writers will explore formal considerations, stylistic choices, and those moments when a poem catches its own voice. By the end of the class, participants will have produced seven original poems and one revision, and will have refined their poetic voice. Please bring 15 copies of a poem you love (not your own) to the first session, as well as 15 copies of one of your own. Note: No meeting on February 11. 8 Mondays Bethesda

7–9:30 p.m. 1/14–3/11 Intermediate/Advanced $360

Found Poetry

Katherine McCord No matter what genre you normally pursue, Found Poetry can give you new insights into your preferred genre, or it can become a focus in your life. In Found Poetry you take pieces of prose and poetry from other works and make them new. Each week participants will explore another kind of Found Poem and an element of craft. 5 Weeks Online All Levels

2/4–3/4 $225

The Fun & Freedom of Form

Art of Gratitude II

Melanie Figg

Rose Strode Gratitude is complicated. Poems that examine gratitude reveal our human relationships: they may thankfully celebrate sharing, or struggle with indebtedness. Instructor Rose Strode will guide discussions of poems that reveal gratitude’s complex, paradoxical nature. Participants will explore work by Ross Gay, Jane Kenyon, Pablo Neruda, Mary Oliver, Cornelius Eady, Craig Santos Perez, and Jane Hirshfield, to learn each author’s experience of gratitude, as well as the tools of craft used to convey the world of the poem. Writing prompts inspired by the readings will help participants to fully examine the way both gratitude and poetry reveal our human connection to the world.

Let’s rattle that cage! Formal poems require some fun rules that can set your imagination free. In this class, you’ll build muscles by practicing up to six poetic forms: the haiku, sonnet, ghazal, villanelle, pantoum, and sestina. Each week participants will learn which topics are best for each form, and study how accomplished poets “do” that form (providing us models and inspiration). The instructor will share her most successful strategies for working in form, point out common pitfalls, and encourage revision. You’ll leave this class with more confidence as a writer, and with new skills to strengthen all your poems with surprising images, smarter line breaks, and more music and cohesion.

8 Mondays 7:30–9:30 p.m. Bethesda Beginner

4 Tuesdays Bethesda

2/18–4/8 $360

7–9:30 p.m. 2/19–3/12 Intermediate/Advanced $195

Hip Hop is Poetry

Common Ground

Maritza Rivera

Bennie Herron

What do dead poets, spoken word, and us have in common? Let’s explore the universal themes of

Hip Hop is loved, hated, and misunderstood. Participants in this online workshop will analyze

for the most up-to-date news and information, visit www.writer.org

19

workshops

My Life, One Story at a Time


WORKSHOPS and compare lyrics that fall in line with the poetic heritage. 4 Weeks Online All Levels

3/18–4/8 $195

How Poems Begin Sue Ellen Thompson

tions, navigate a series of meditative haiku-writing exercises, and dive into some creative journaling and visual art techniques to expand on our work. By the end of the workshop, you will have a beautiful collection of haiku poems, haiku crafts, and a solid start on a haiku journal based on your daily experiences and preferred methods of expression. No previous art or poetry experience required!

Poets and poems are often remembered for their opening lines, but is there a “right” or at least a “better” way to begin a poem? In this workshop, participants will explore some of the ways in which poets have traditionally chosen to open their poems and then look at some poems that break with tradition and still manage to draw the reader in.

4 Weeks Online All Levels

1 Saturday Bethesda

This workshop will focus on how autobiography mediates and revivifies past events that surface in some perfected, universalized form. Through writing prompts, and mini-lectures on poetic craft and history of the genre, participants will learn how the very construction of the poem is a means to contain—and often transform—subjective material so that self-revelation can take place. Participants of all levels are invited—no previous poetry experience required.

1–4 p.m. All Levels

4/20 $50

A Matter of Time: Verb Tenses in Poetry Sue Ellen Thompson

workshops

Should all lyric poems take place in the present? If you’re writing a narrative poem about something that happened a while ago, do you have to use the past tense? Verb tenses are something that most of us learned in grade school but haven’t thought much about since. For a poet, being able to identify the various tenses isn’t the point; it’s knowing how to choose the right tense for a poem and knowing when to shift it. This workshop will examine some of the approaches that poets have used to control and manipulate the passage of time in their poems, with an emphasis on how verb tenses can be used to add immediacy, introduce tension, or bring a poem to life. 1 Saturday Bethesda

1–4 p.m. All Levels

2/2 $50

Meter Intensive

Claudia Gary Improve your ear for meter, and fine-tune your understanding of how meter works in poetry. Have you ever wondered how scanning the lines of your first draft can make for a better poem? Do you know why listening for the natural rhythms of speech can strengthen your writing? With the help of a widely published author of sonnets, villanelles, and other metrical poems, this one-day workshop includes reading and scanning well-known poems, writing exercises, and, if you like, close examination of a poem you’ve drafted prior to class. You’ll leave with new insights about improving the auditory qualities of all your poems and prose. NOTE: This new online course includes the use of video or sound files, weekly writing and revision assignments, and feedback from the instructor as well as (optionally) from other participants 3 Weeks 3/11–3/25 Online Intermediate/Advanced $135

My Life In Haiku

The Personal Poem: Autobiographical and Cultural Themes Judith Harris

6 Saturdays Bethesda

Writing haiku helps us recognize and capture the beautiful moments in our daily lives. We will explore ancient and contemporary haiku tradi-

20

10:30 a.m.–1p.m. All Levels

3/9–4/13 $270

Poetic Forms

In this workshop, we’ll explore why form is relevant for contemporary poets, and how we can take advantage of form to strengthen both traditional and free-verse poems. Poetic form isn’t just meter and rhyme--it encompasses a diverse range of vessels that poems can inhabit. Form can help focus our poems, and reinforce a tone beyond our written words. When we have writer’s block, form can give us direction on how to keep writing. Over the six weeks of this workshop, we’ll write in several forms, and explore what content works well with different types of forms. 6 Weeks Online All Levels

1/28–3/4 $270

Poetry as Experience Judith Harris Poetry is, in part, high emotion in language. Cultures throughout the world use poetry to share their histories, shape their stories, and express ideas in lyric form. In this workshop, we will look at our inner language and life experiences to explore writing from personal and cultural memory. Through writing prompts and mini-lectures on craft, formal elements of poetry as well as the history of the poetry genre will be emphasized. This workshop is open to all – no previous poetry experience required. 6 Saturdays 10:30 a.m.–1 p.m. Bethesda Beginner

books. Lessons will focus on identifying what makes a chapbook, exploring your voice in the chapbook medium, choosing and ordering poems within your chapbook and research publishers. By the end of the four week course, participants will have a chapbook manuscript that can be sent out to publishers. 4 Weeks 1/14–2/4 Online Intermediate/Advanced $195

Pushing Past Clichés in Love Poems Nickole Brown & Jessica Jacobs So much of our self-definition rests on who we love and desire, as well as all those loves lost. But when trying to translate those honest sentences— ”I love you,” “I want you,” or “Here’s why our love won’t work”—into a poem, so much of the meaning is lost in the sad static of cliché and unearned sentimentality. Drawing on the poems of writers like Dorianne Laux, Matthew Olzmann, and Sharon Olds, this workshop will help you ground your love poems in the rough, vibrant texture of the world. 1 Saturday Capitol Hill

10 a.m.–1 p.m. All Levels

2/16 $65

Reading and Crafting Poems of Love Rose Strode

Meg Eden

Marianne Murphy

4/1–4/22 $195

The Writer’s Center

1/19–2/23 $270

Poetry Chapbook Workshop

Meg Eden This workshop will provide participants with the tools for forming and submitting poetry chap-

Nearly everyone attempts to write a love poem at some point: a poem to a beloved person; a poem about love; or a poem about the loss of love. Love is never the only emotion in a love poem: it may also contain joy, regret, gratitude, anger, grief, or bewilderment, and it is the combination of emotions that make it interesting, and heighten the ideas. In “Imperfect Heart” students will study how authors have approached this complex, eternal subject, and explore ways to make this topic their own. Participants will read work by William Shakespeare, Emily Dickinson, Adrienne Rich, Walt Whitman, Kim Addonizio, Rowan Ricardo Phillips, Jack Gilbert, and Jane Hirshfield, among others, and explore love poems that are unexpected in their approach. The class will focus on discussion and in-class exercises to explore how the authors use technique to express their thoughts, and apply these strategies to their own work. 5 Mondays 7:30–9:30 p.m. Bethesda Beginner

1/14–2/11 $195

Reviving a Stuck Poem Melanie Figg Have some poems on life-support? All of us do. Poems that start out strong—and then stall for one reason or another. In this class, you’ll learn a variety of techniques and exercises that can breathe new life into your old drafts. A couple of you will volunteer your drafts to be samples for the instructor to offer some possible revision ideas that we can apply to our own poems. Bring 2 poems (typed) that you still care about, and be prepared to do some resuscitating together! 1 Saturday Bethesda

Workshop & Event Guide Winter/Spring 2019

1–4:30 p.m. All Levels

2/16 $50


WORKSHOPS Sonnets and Villanelles II

Claudia Gary If you’ve taken the Sonnet or Villanelle Intensives, or worked on sonnets and villanelles before, here’s an opportunity to build on your knowledge and skills. With the help of a widely published author of sonnets and villanelles, you’ll further explore how rhyme, meter, and “received forms” can deepen your writing. We’ll also consider how revising your poems can strengthen them. NOTE: This new online course includes the use of video or sound files, weekly writing and revision assignments, and feedback from the instructor as well as (optionally) from other participants. 3 Weeks 4/8–4/22 Online Advanced $135

Sonnet Intensive

Claudia Gary Improve your sonnet skills, or write your very first one. With the help of a widely published author of sonnets, villanelles, and other poems, you will read classic and contemporary examples to see why they work, and then -- with or without shortcuts -- write one or more of your own. Next, you’ll see how a new poem can be improved by revision. You’ll leave with at least one new or improved sonnet, as well as insights about how writing poetry in form can unlock deeper meaning and enhance everything you write. NOTE: This new online course includes the use of video or sound files, weekly writing and revision assignments, and feedback from the instructor as well as (optionally) from other participants 3 Weeks 1/14–1/28 Online Intermediate/Advanced $135

Villanelle Intensive

Claudia Gary Improve your villanelle skills, or write your very first one. With the help of a widely published author of villanelles, sonnets, and other poems, you’ll read classic and contemporary examples to see why they work, and then—with or without shortcuts—write one or more of your own. Next, you’ll see how your new poem can be improved by revision. You’ll leave with at least one new or improved villanelle, as well as insights about how writing poetry in form can unlock deeper meaning and enhance everything you write. This new online course includes the use of video or sound files, weekly writing and revision assignments, and feedback from the instructor as well as (optionally) from other participants. 3 Weeks 2/11–2/25 Online Intermediate/Advanced $135

What Sound Effects Can Do for Your Poems Sue Ellen Thompson Assonance, consonance, alliteration, internal rhyme—they’re often called “sound effects,” and they are among the most basic and essential tools that all poets should know how to use. This work-

shop will focus on how certain vowel or consonant sounds can be used to evoke or underscore emotion in a poem, and how sound effects can help you convey your poem’s “message” in a subtle, convincing way. 1 Saturday Bethesda

1–4 p.m. All Levels

3/2 $50

Winter Into Spring Rose Strode In literature and myth, winter is often portrayed as a symbol for death, while spring is considered a time of joyful rebirth. Yet both seasons offer beauty and danger, while the transition between the two can be particularly precarious -- for wildlife as well as for human beings. Participants in this class will explore work by Louise Gluck, Arthur Sze, Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, Sharon Olds, Ellen Bryant Voigt, Robert Frost, Ross Gay, and others to learn each author’s perceptions of the changing seasons, as well as the tools of craft used to convey the world of the poem. Writing prompts inspired by the readings will help participants to fully examine the seasons as an expression of change, as well as the ways poetry reveals our human connection to the world. 8 Saturdays Bethesda

10:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. 1/12–3/16 All Levels $360

Professional Writing and Publishing How to Write a Business Book

wait until you feel the thrill of stepping in front of a room, and speaking on behalf of that book! 1 Saturday Bethesda

10 a.m.–5 p.m. All Levels

4/6 $115

Write Like the News Hank Wallace Lead with the future—not background. That’s the most important of eight journalism skills that will transform your writing. The others: write your readers’ language, be positive (to be both clear and upbeat), lay out logically, be consistent, be precise, be brief, and choose strong verbs. Highlights: communicate in a crisis, correct errors the correct way, choose between raw numbers and a ratio, and write around generic “he.” (Plus a Speak Like the News skill: avoid “uptalk?”) Emulate the vivid news examples you’ll see in this workshop, and you’ll strengthen your writing voice with lively, engaging news style. At 7 sharp, we’ll critique the WallStreetJournal.com homepage, seeing how to communicate your main point in just a few words. Then we’ll talk our way through the workshop booklet, emphasizing reasons, not just rules, for your writing choices. To cover as much ground as possible, we’ll have just a few writing exercises and most of them will take less than a minute each. 1 Wednesday Bethesda

7–9 p.m. All Levels

4/24 $50

Writing the Dreaded Query Letter Alan Orloff

Maybe you’ve toyed with the idea of writing a business book and sharing what you’ve learned with others around you. The fact is, anyone can write a book. The problem is, most people are stopped before they even start by the size of the project, and more importantly, the lack of a clear process. With the right information, the right process, and the right teacher, you can and will write your book. In this workshop we will focus on all aspects of writing business books including outlining the manuscript, creating a writing routine, marketing options, proposal writing, publishing options, and more. What’s more, it WILL be fun!

You’ve spent months (or years) of your life—not to mention copious amounts of blood, sweat, and tears—writing a dynamite novel. Don’t simply spend five minutes slapping together a weak query letter; you owe it to yourself to write a great one that will break through the slush-clutter at top literary agencies. In this workshop, you’ll learn how to entice your dream agent into reading your masterpiece by writing a tight query that really sings (while avoiding those pitfalls that will land your query in the trash). The workshop leader will outline his “A-B-C” submission strategy while highlighting some valuable targeting resources. Bring four copies of a draft query and a red pen with lots of ink! Note: primarily intended for novel and memoir writers.

4 Mondays Bethesda

1 Saturday Bethesda

Rob Jolles

6–8 p.m. All Levels

3/4–3/25 $135

Taking Your Book On The Road Rob Jolles Maybe you have toyed with the dream of increasing your book sales and generating additional revenue by building a speaking business, or perhaps you have just thought about addressing occasional requests to speak that have come your way. But how do you find speaking opportunities, and make every moment count to drive even more deliveries your way? In this workshop participants will focus on all aspects of professional speaking including engaging speaker’s bureaus, creating dynamic keynote presentations and workshops, marketing, proposal writing, program pricing, and basic delivery skills. If you think writing a book is exciting,

for the most up-to-date news and information, visit www.writer.org

2–4:30 p.m. All Levels

4/27 $50

Stage and Screen Elements of Playwriting: Character Richard Washer Characters set in motion a series of events and actions that become the engine of your play. In this workshop participants will look at strategies for exploring and developing characters in the early stages of writing your play and discuss ways to assess the potential of the characters to drive action in your story. In addition, in order to better understand the instrument we are writing for, we will also look at character through the eyes of actors and directors seeking to interpret and portray a

21

workshops


WORKSHOPS character in terms of objectives, tactics and choices to see how this informs our process of creating developing characters. 1 Saturday Bethesda

John Weiskopf

10 a.m.–1 p.m. 3/30 Beginner/Intermediate $50

Elements of Playwriting: Dialogue Richard Washer Dialogue is the playwright’s primary tool for conveying a story that ultimately becomes a visual, aural, and emotional experience for an audience. In this workshop, participants will look at various functions of dialogue and will discuss how actors, designers, and directors use dialogue as a basis for transforming words on the page to life on stage. Although the focus in this session will be on playwriting, writers of all genres are welcome. 1 Saturday Bethesda

10 a.m.–1 p.m. 3/23 Beginner/Intermediate $50

workshops

Exposition & Process in Playwriting Richard Washer What does your audience need to know and when do they need to know it? In this workshop participants will consider various strategies for managing exposition in the context of process in writing a play (getting started, exploring a first draft, analysis, and revisions). Participants will look at examples to better understand how to handle exposition and discuss strategies to employ at various stages of the process. Although the focus in this session will be on playwriting, writers of all genres are welcome. 1 Saturday 10 a.m.–1 p.m. Bethesda Beginner

How to Write and Produce a Feature Film

2/2 $50

Do you want to produce or direct your own lowbudget feature film? There are ingredients that are essential for keeping your budget low, and screenwriting elements that will make your original. Blood Simple and Breaking Bad will be used as examples. 1 Saturday Bethesda

10 a.m.–5 p.m. 2/16 Intermediate/Advanced $115

Structure in Playwriting Richard Washer This workshop will focus on organizational principles at work in structuring a stage play. During the course of this workshop participants will take a close look at A Streetcar Named Desire and other examples and apply what they learn to works in progress. Time permitting the class will include musicals as well. If you are grappling with structure in your work, or you are simply interested in how structure works in crafting a play, you will have the opportunity to explore the structures of works in progress or a story you have in mind by applying principles we discuss through blurb-writing, summaries and outlines. 4 Tuesdays Bethesda

The Writer’s Center to write. Participants will present their dialogue for review and evaluation, so each participant will receive feedback from the instructor and class participants. 7 Wednesdays Bethesda

Writing for the Screen Alexandra Viets Drawing from films, short stories, and plays, this intensive eight-week workshop in screenwriting will emphasize character as True North, the fixed point to which a writer can always refer. Dramatic structure, visual writing, and scene building will be explored through in-class exercises, a screening of short films, and the weekly analysis of participant work. Participants should aim to have the first act of a feature screenplay or one short script by the end of the workshop. The last class will be devoted to a table reading of scripts with actors. 8 Tuesdays Bethesda

7:30–10 p.m. 4/9–4/30 Beginner/Intermediate $195

Writing Dialogue for Film & Television John Weiskopf This course is a workshop where participants will write scenes and dialogue for a screenplay or teleplay which they are currently writing, or plan

Submissions are open! Little Patuxent Review (LPR) is seeking submissions of nonfiction, fiction, poetry, and visual art for its unthemed Summer 2019 issue. Submissions will be accepted from December 1st through March 1st. LPR publishes diverse voices and aesthetics and encourages both emerging and established authors to submit. Review our guidelines at littlepatuxentreview.org.

22

7–9:30 p.m. 2/27–4/10 Intermediate/Advanced $315

Workshop & Event Guide Winter/Spring 2019

6–8:30 p.m. 1/22–3/12 Intermediate/Advanced $360


WORKSHOP LEADERS

Cheryl Somers Aubin has been writing and publishing for almost 30 years. Her book, The Survivor Tree: Inspired by a True Story, is available at the 9/11 Memorial and online. Cheryl is the nonfiction editor for the literary journal, Delmarva Review. She has an M.A./ Writing from Johns Hopkins University and loves teaching. Bijan C. Bayne is an award-winning Washington-based freelance columnist and critic, and author of Elgin Baylor: The Man Who Changed Basketball. His work has appeared in the N.Y. Times & Washington Post. Hildie Block has been a writing instructor for 20 years at places like American University and GW, and of course, The Writer’s Center. She’s published 50 short stories, and lots of essays and articles. Her book Not What I Expected debuted back in 2007. In January 2012, she took her award winning short story “People” and made it into a Kindle and Nook download. Caroline Bock’s debut short story collection, Carry Her Home, won the 2018 Fiction Award from the Washington Writers’ Publishing House and is available in trade paperback and ebook. She is also the author of the young adult novels Lie and Before My Eyes from St. Martin’s Press. Nickole Brown is the author of Sister, first published in 2007 with a new edition reissued by Sibling Rivalry Press in 2018. Her second book, Fanny Says, came out from BOA Editions in 2015. Currently, she is the Editor for the Marie Alexander Poetry Series and teaches at the Sewanee School of Letters M.F.A. program. She lives with her wife, poet Jessica Jacobs, in Asheville, NC. Jennifer Buxton has an M.F.A. in fiction from the University of Virginia. Her fiction has appeared in Epoch, Puerto del Sol, and Blue Penny Quarterly, among other places. She has taught writing in a variety of venues, including the University of Virginia, and the UVa Young Writers Workshop. Tara Campbell is a fiction editor at Barrelhouse and an M.F.A. candidate at American University. Prior publication credits include SmokeLong Quarterly, Masters Review, Booth,

Jellyfish Review, and Strange Horizons. In addition to her novel, TreeVolution, and her collection, Circe’s Bicycle, she has a new short story collection, Midnight at the Organporium, which will appear in 2019. Brenda W. Clough is a novelist, short story, and nonfiction writer. Her recent ebooks are Revise the World and Speak to Our Desires. Her novels include How Like a God, The Doors of Death and Life, and Revise the World. She has been a finalist for both the Hugo and the Nebula awards. She has been teaching science fiction & fantasy workshops at The Writer’s Center for over 10 years. More about her at: www.brendaclough.net. Katie Davis is a writer and broadcaster in Washington D.C. She has worked at NPR, contributing essays to All Things Considered and stories for This American Life. Recently she worked with residents of South East, Washington D.C. and produced their work for public radio on the series Anacostia Unmapped. Novelist and writing coach John DeDakis is a former editor on CNN’s “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer.” DeDakis is the author of four mystery-suspense novels. His most recent novel, Bullet in the Chamber, is the winner of Reviewers Choice, Foreword INDIES, and Feathered Quill book awards. More about him at: www.johndedakis.com. Laura Di Franco, MPT, is the owner of Brave Healer Productions and writes to Feng Shui her soul. Brave Healing, a Guide for Your Journey, is her sixth book to help inspire your fiercely alive whole self. More about her at: www.BraveHealer.com. Meg Eden’s work is published or forthcoming in magazines including Prairie Schooner, Poetry Northwest, Crab Orchard Review, RHINO, and CV2. She received her M.F.A. in creative writing from the University of Maryland College Park, and teaches creative writing courses at Anne Arundel Community College. She has five poetry chapbooks, and her novel Post-High School Reality Quest is published with California Coldblood, an imprint of Rare Bird Books. She is represented by Claire Anderson-Wheeler at Regal Hoffman & Associates. More about her at: www. megedenbooks.com. Melanie Figg is a 2017-2019 NEA Fellow. Her poetry collection, Trace, will be published by New Rivers Press in October 2019. As a certified professional coach, she has helped hundreds of writers publish their work, tame their inner critics, and add more creativity,

for the most up-to-date news and information, visit www.writer.org

balance, and intentionality to their lives. More about her at: www.melaniefigg.net. Claudia Gary is author of Humor Me (David Robert Books, 2006) and several chapbooks including Bikini Buyer’s Remorse. Internationally published, she is a threetime finalist for the Howard Nemerov Sonnet Award, and her work is included in the anthology “Villanelles” (Everyman’s Library, 2012). More about her at:pw.org/content/ claudia_gary. Janice Gary is the author of the awardwinning book Short Leash: A Memoir of Dog Walking and Deliverance. A passionate advocate for the power of personal story, she teaches in the Master of Liberal Studies Program at Arizona State University and conducts workshops throughout the country. Patricia Gray, author of Rupture from Red Hen Press, formerly headed the Library of Congress’s Poetry and Literature Center. An award-winning poet, Gray’s most recent publications appeared in Salamander. Her poems were recently shortlisted for the William Faulkner Pirates, and as brief writing tips for The Writer’s Center’s blog. T. Greenwood is the award-winning author of twelve novels including Bodies of Water, Where I Lost Her, and Rust and Stardust. Aaron Hamburger is the author of the story collection The View From Stalin’s Head (Rome Prize, the American Academy of Arts and Letters), the novel Faith for Beginners, and the forthcoming novel Nirvana is Here. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Crazyhorse, Tin House, Subtropics, Poets & Writers, Boulevard, and O, the Oprah Magazine. Judith Harris is the author of three books of poetry, Night Garden, The Bad Secret, Atonement, and the acclaimed critical book, Signifying Pain: Constructing and Healing the Self Through Writing. Her poetry has appeared in The Nation, The Atlantic, The New Republic, Slate, The New York Times blog, Ploughshares, The Hudson Review, The Southern Review and the syndicated column “American Life in Poetry,” among many other anthologies and journals. Her critical work and interviews have appeared widely. She is a recipient of a Yaddo fellowship and multiple arts grants and has taught at several universities in the D.C. area and has been a resident seminar leader at Frost Place and the University of North Iowa Virginia Hartman has published work in The Hudson Review, Alaska Quarterly Review,

23

LEADERS

Kenneth Ackerman is author of Boss Tweed: The Corrupt Pol who Conceived the Soul of Modern New York; Trotsky in New York 1917: A Radical on the Eve of Revolution, and four other books of American history. He practices law in Washington, D.C. More about him at: www.KennethAckerman. com.


WORKSHOP LEADERS Liars League NYC, Potomac Review, Delmarva Review, Redux, Beltway Poetry Quarterly, and the Washingtonian, among others. Her work has been anthologized in Gravity Dancers: Even More Fiction by Washington Area Women (Paycock Press), and she co-edited a literary anthology with Barbara Esstman called A More Perfect Union: Poems and Stories about the Modern Wedding (St. Martin’s Press). She holds an M.F.A. from American University, is on the creative writing faculty at George Washington University, and has taught at The Writer’s Center since 2006. Bennie Herron is a father/poet/teacher. His work frames what the heart paints.

Beth Kanter is the author of numerous books including Great Food Finds DC, Washington, DC Chef’s Table, and the soon-to-bereleased No Access Washington DC. Beth’s essays and articles have appeared in a range of national newspapers, magazines, and online publications. She earned her MSJ from Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism and has been leading Boot Camp for Writers for almost ten years. Victoria Kelly is the author of the novel Mrs. Houdini (Simon & Schuster) and the poetry collection When the Men Go Off to War (Naval Institute Press). She earned her M.F.A. from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, her MPhil in Creative Writing from Trinity College Dublin and her B.A. from Harvard University.

LEADERS

GG Renee Hill is an author and advocate for self-discovery through writing. She has published a free verse memoir about heartbreak and healing, a book of short essays for quiet women who want to be heard, and a mindfulness workbook for self-reflection and personal growth. More about her at: allthemanylayers.com.

Christopher Linforth is the author of the story collection When You Find Us We Will Be Gone. He has published nonfiction in The Millions, the Good Man Project, Sierra Nevada Review, The Pinch, South Dakota Review, and other literary magazines.

Jessica Jacobs is the author of Take Me with You, Wherever You’re Going, published by Four Way Books in March 2019. Her debut collection, Pelvis with Distance, was winner of the New Mexico Book Award in Poetry and a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award. She serves as Associate Editor for Beloit Poetry Journal.

John Lingan is the author of “Homeplace: A Southern Town, a Country Legend, and the Last Days of a Mountaintop HonkyTonk,” which was published in 2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. He has also written for New York Times Magazine, Oxford American, Washington Post, and many other publications.

Kathryn Johnson’s 40+ published novels (finalist for the Agatha Award, winner of Heart of Excellence and Bookseller’s Best Awards), include historical fiction (e.g., The Gentleman Poet, wherein Shakespeare escapes to the New World aboard a ship bound for disaster) and contemporary suspense. The Extreme Novelist (nonfiction) is the text based on her courses at The Smithsonian Associates and The Writer’s Center. Kathryn’s premium mentoring services can be found at: KathrynJohnsonLLC.com, and WriteByYou.com. For a free 20-minute private consultation, go to: Kathryn@KathrynJohnsonLLC.com.

Desirée Magney is a former practicing attorney who writes narrative nonfiction and poetry. Her nonfiction has been published in bioStories, Bethesda Magazine, The Delmarva Review, The Washington Post Magazine, Washingtonian Magazine (Washington Voices column), and The Writer’s Center – Art Begins with a Story. Her poetry has been published in Jellyfish Whispers and was included in the Best of Anthology, Storm Cycle, published by Kind of a Hurricane Press. She is the publisher of the literary journal, Little Patuxent Review and contributes to its blog.

Rob Jolles is a 30-year professional speaker, and three-time bestselling author with books translated in over a dozen languages. Rob has traveled over 2.5 million miles delivering keynotes and workshops all over the world. Now in it’s 4th edition, his Bestselling book, How to Run Seminars & Workshops has now been on the shelves for over 25 years, and he currently trains authors to speak by some of the largest publishers in the country. More about him at: to www. jolles.com.

24

Peter Mandel is the author of eleven books for children including Jackhammer Sam (Macmillan), Zoo Ah-Choooo (Holiday House), Bun, Onion, Burger (Simon & Schuster), Planes at the Airport (Scholastic), and Say Hey! A Song of Willie Mays (Hyperion). He’s a regular contributor to the travel sections of The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, and The Los Angeles Times. More about him at www.petermandel.net. Katherine McCord has published four books and a chapbook, been honored with a Legacy Award from the Edward Hoffer Foun-

The Writer’s Center dation for her literary memoir, MY CIA; won the Autumn House Open Book Award, judged by Michael Martone, for her latest book, Run Scream Unbury Save (literary memoir). Katherine has been published in many literary journals, such as American Poetry Review. She has an M.A. in Creative Writing and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing. Pat McNees is a writer and editor who for 30 years has helped individuals tell their life story. A former editor in book publishing (at Harper & Row and at Fawcett), she was president of the Association of Personal Historians, and is manager-scribe of the local Washington Biography Group. She was trained in Guided Autobiography and has taught life writing at The Writer’s Center and in local libraries for several years. More about her at: www.writersandeditors.com. Alyce Miller is the award-winning writer of four books of fiction and one book of nonfiction, as well as more than 250 essays, short stories, poems, articles, and book reviews. Alyce is Professor Emerita from the English Department and Graduate Program in Creative Writing at Indiana UniversityBloomington, where she also received awards for her teaching. More about her at: www. alycemillerwriter.com. Marianne Murphy is a Boston-based poet, animator, performer, and teaching artist. Her work has appeared in magazines such as Highlights for Children, Ladybug, and Cicada. She holds an M.F.A in Writing for Children and Young Adults from VCFA, where she studied visual poetry. More about her at: www.flamingboots.com. William O’Sullivan is an editor at Washingtonian magazine. His essays have appeared in The New York Times, Washington Post, and North American Review. He has received two D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities fellowships and been listed three times among the notable essays in The Best American Essays. Laura Oliver publishes award-winning stories in magazines, newspapers and top-tier literary reviews such as The Washington Post, The Sun Magazine, The Writer, Country Living, and Glimmer Train. She is the author of The Story Within, New Insights and Inspiration for Writers (Penguin Random House,) named by Poets & Writers as one of the best writing books ever published. She has taught at the University of Maryland, St. John’s College and Washington College. Laura holds an M.F.A. from Bennington College.

Workshop & Event Guide Winter/Spring 2019


WORKSHOP LEADERS

Mary Quattlebaum is the author of 27 award-winning children’s books (Pirate vs. Pirate, Jo MacDonald Hiked in the Woods, Hero Dogs: True Stories of Amazing Animal Heroes) and of numerous stories and poems in children’s magazines (Cricket, Spider, Ladybug, Highlights). She teaches in the M.F.A. program in writing for children at the Vermont College of Fine Arts and is a popular school and conference speaker. Elizabeth Rees, M.A. is the author of the poetry collection Every Root a Branch, and four chapbooks, three of which won national contests. Her poems have been widely published, including in Partisan Review, Kenyon Review, Southern Review, and Agni. She has taught at Harvard University, Boston University, Macalester College, Howard University, the U.S. Naval Academy, and Johns Hopkins University’s graduate program, and at The Writer’s Center since 1989. A Maryland poet-in-the-schools since 1994, she has served as consulting writer to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Kennedy Center, the Smithsonian Museums’ Traveling Exhibitions, and PBS. Emily Rich has edited nonfiction for literary reviews for over five years. She writes mainly memoir and essay. Her work has been published in a number of small presses including Little Patuxent Review, r.kv.ry, the Pinch, and Hippocampus. Her essays have been listed as notables in Best American Essays 2014 and 2015. She teaches memoir writing at The Writer’s Center in Bethesda and the Lighthouse Literary Guild at the University of Maryland in Salisbury. Maritza Rivera is the creator of Blackjack poetry, the publisher of Casa Mariposa Press, and hosts the Mariposa Poetry Retreat at the Capital Retreat Center in Waynesboro, PA. She is the author of About You, A Mother’s War, A Baker’s Dozen, Twenty-One: Blackjack Poems and the Blackjack Poetry Playing Cards. Lynn Schwartz is a story development editor and ghostwriter. Her plays have been performed in NYC, including Lincoln Center. She founded the Temple Bar Literary Reading Series in NYC, has received two Individual

Artist Awards in Fiction from the Maryland State Arts Council, and taught fiction at St. John’s College. Lisa Jan Sherman is an actor and improvisational acting and cognitive skills coach. With a B.A. in Theatre and Speech at University of Maryland. She has been a member of AFTRA, and SAG for over 35 years, and has performed on stage, and television, film and radio. Lisa is a founding member of ‘NOW THIS!, the totally improvised, musical comedy troupe which had a 27 year run. For the last 30 years Lisa has enjoyed running Corporate Team Building as well as storytelling for children. Facilitating cognitive skills groups with children since 1995, and finding that the improvisational ‘piece’ created a natural basis for social skill development, Lisa co-developed the ‘Act As If’ program and with Laura McAlpine co-wrote ‘ACT AS IF’ (improvisational activities for better social communication). Marilyn Smith has a PhD in Education Policy/Higher Education and an M.A. in Reading Education. Marilyn retired a few years ago and has recently published two books—her memoir and an anthology of medical memoirs. She lives in Chevy Chase, Maryland. Rose Strode is a teacher, gardener, essayist, and poet. She is a recipient of the Sidney L. Gulick Fellowship at the Brauer Museum of Art at Valpariso University in Chicago; a student in the M.F.A. program for poetry at George Mason University; and a volunteer gardener at a Buddhist temple.

rector and First Draft Resident Playwright at The Rose Theatre Company. He holds a B.A. (University of Virginia) and an M.F.A. (American University). His produced full-length plays include Missa, Of a Sunday Morning, Monkeyboy (co-written with Keith Bridges and Chris Stezin), The Fetish, Getting It, and Quartet. Most recently, his musical (music by Mark Haag) Persephone: A Burlesque received a workshop reading at First Draft at the Rose Theatre in March, 2018. (www.richardwasher.com) John Weiskopf teaches graduate school and upper division screenwriting at American University. He received his MFA in Film Production from UCLA. He was an extension faculty member at the UCLA. He has written eleven screenplays and two episodic television pilots, and a novel that he has adapted to an episodic television pilot and series. He has appeared on Oprah Winfrey for a documentary that he produced, directed, and shot. Alexandra Viets is a screenwriter and journalist who received her M.F.A. from Columbia University. Her first feature-length screenplay, Cotton Mary, was produced by Merchant Ivory. Her most recent screenplay, Ask Me No Questions, won Best Screenplay for 2018 at the Auckland International Film Festival. She teaches at Johns Hopkins University.

Sue Ellen Thompson’s fifth book of poems, They, was published in 2014. An instructor at The Writer’s Center since 2007, she has previously taught at Middlebury College, Binghamton University, the University of Delaware, and Central CT State University. She received the 2010 Maryland Author Award from the Maryland Library Association and was recently nominated for Maryland Poet Laureate. Hank Wallace, a Columbia Law School graduate, was a government reporter for New Jersey’s Middletown Courier and Red Bank Daily Register, and the assistant director of law-school publishing for Matthew Bender. He wrote the FCC’s plain-language newsletter and newswriting tips for the Radio Television Digital News Association. More about him at: www.wsln.com. Richard Washer, M.F.A., playwright and director, serves as Associate Artistic Di-

for the most up-to-date news and information, visit www.writer.org

25

LEADERS

Alan Orloff has published eight novels, including Pray for the Innocent. His debut mystery was an Agatha Award finalist, and his story, “Happy Birthday” was a 2018 Derringer Award finalist. His story, “Rule Number One,” was selected for The Best American Mystery Stories 2018 anthology, edited by Louise Penny. More about him at: www.alanorloff.com.


Tara Campbell on the Power of Writing Short

The author of Circe’s Bicycle talks about worst case scenarios and the magic of flash fiction By Yohanca Delgado Circe’s Bicycle

“Circe’s Bicycle by Tara Campbell is a small wonder. this book contains Smart, funny, and all the magic and thought-provokin surprise of a genie’s be prepared to fly.” g, bottle. Open it up and you’d best —Kathy Fish, author of Rift (with Robert Vaughan), Together We Can Bury It, & Wild Life s poem s, on, llecti t storie co or ite of a into sh up qu ter rph wind women eshif shap ge or mo ng and to and this pa e thi streets ted away “In off the as on wn ction cre melt s start off march do es and se cted colle gely an storie r, teeth giant be constru en str lly he by an oft anot ducted A playfu ssive ion in of Ma uld are ab n islands. l emot r rea y I Wo n , autho hidde livers de age.” e Housley the Wa ial Fictio t ck ew pa tha ped —Dav e, If I Kn Commerc wrap & Fir me, sing Clean e You Ho Tak

these two forms that works well together?

I have my editor Jane Carman of Lit Fest Press to thank for the inspiral bel he reported resurmp a tion to bring poetry and C ra gence in the popuTa prose together. I had larity of poetry suggests submitted a couple of a broader hunger for micro-pieces to their brevity, for lean litermagazine, and Jane ary art. Tara Campbell is ahead of asked if I had enough for a collecthe curve. Though her first book tion. I hadn’t been working toward was the novel TreeVolution (Lillicat a collection, and wasn’t sure I had enough of one particular form Publishers, 2016), she has been to put together. Fortunately, Jane writing poetry and flash for years and teaches flash fiction across the was open to a hybrid collection, so I looked back at all my small, DMV area, including TWC. strange things to see what made Tara’s second book, Circe’s sense together. I took the paintings Bicycle (Lit Fest Press, April 2018) down from one wall of my office, is a collection of flash fiction and then printed the poems and stories poetry. We talked about creating out and jotted potential themes the connective tissue in a flash on each page before taping them and poetry collection, writing to the wall. Pretty soon my office the “what if,” and the difference looked like one of those movies between writing long and writing where the detective is staring at short. a web of strings attached to various photos and pieces of evidence stuck to the walls—except I used Your second book, Circe’s red sharpie instead of string. Out Bicycle, is a collection of flash fiction and poetry. What of that process emerged the two thematic sections of the collecinspired you to bring those tion: “Tradition & Transition” and two forms together in one “Love & Consequences.” collection? What is it about

T

ell’s

pb

am

ntly nsta s co )& rize ons nP ctio Dem s Fi Inner ur

ting

wri

ne alco yo r eB ew f th rs fo ne ro d th inne n Man l, an (w sica ers oder him M tand ew Bys c, th of ti r as tho fant i, au the .” sk to ight ow sk y in ne d del La y jour an Tara — onke ial. “A rise e, ‘M ec surp piec ing sp her th tion crofic for somemagic toe keeps st mi r fir I was in unique form. Sh hat W m he sa in “Fro t,’ I knewll bring s but t next? rd Roas Campbe t in wo ‘Wha ing, hat Tara , not jus ticipat t, W Wan work ader an read.” e of ies re must Rattl or the ?’ A or of anate St next auth gr gani, & Pome , y De —Ga Before Came ,C

if hat-

26

Let’s talk about “We are Twenty-Six,” one of my favorite pieces in this collection. It’s a deliciously fabulist meditation on stagnation and addiction—told from the perspective of twenty-six renegade teeth. How did you combine these two seemingly disparate ideas: stagnation and teeth? I tend to fixate on the worst-case scenarios for any situation that comes my way, no matter how unlikely I know my imagined outcomes are. I’ve always ground my teeth in my sleep, but for some reason, I didn’t really stress about it that much until I went to a new dentist. She’s very thorough and competent, and explained to me what grinding was doing not only to my teeth, but also to my gums. So of course my brain created the most ridiculous image of all my teeth spontaneously spilling out of my mouth, and I suppose that combined with my concern about becoming stagnant as a writer (I see all my fellow writers’ heads nodding out there), and this story is the result of those two anxieties. Because that’s what writers do, isn’t it: we fixate on something and then have to write through it.

Workshop & Event Guide Winter/Spring 2019


Along those same lines, the title story, “Circe’s Bicycle,” evokes the siren call of a particular form of escapist grief: a giant bee that carries away a mother who is mourning her child. Can you talk a little bit about how that story came together? This story came out of a dream where I was in a room with a small insect that was growing gradually bigger and more threatening, and I was trying to figure out what it wanted from me. I usually don’t write from dreams because the resulting stories can so easily wind up going nowhere. But there was such a curious combination of dread and fascination in the dream, I had to figure out what that was about. I suppose it’s also about love and vulnerability. When you really fall in love, whether with a partner or your children or whomever, it’s like a little piece of your heart is no longer safe inside your chest, but walking around on its own. It’s a beautiful and terrifying thing. You start to think about how easily everything could change, and while on the one hand you’re happy and grateful, you also have to face the realization that there’s no way to keep your loved ones completely safe in the world. Flash is having a moment these days, but you’re not new to the form. You teach flash in various places, including The Writer’s Center, American University, and the National Gallery of Art. What do you think it is about the

form that appeals so much in 2018? Well, the first thing that comes to mind is the trend toward distraction (i.e. multitasking) and shorter attention spans, and some people may feel that’s a simplistic answer, but I think there is something to it. It speaks to a deeper anxiety about not having enough time to absorb all of the information coming at us today. Books, TV, movies, music, news, fake news—it’s no longer enough to read; we have to read even more to figure out if what we’ve just read is real. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and stressed, and flash fiction can be a brief respite from that. It’s not written as fact, yet it can express truths that are often drowned out in all the media whizzing around us. Flash is also super accessible. There’s lots of amazing flash online, most of it for free, which means readers can experience a story at any time on their phones wherever they are. Perhaps there’s an element of commitment-phobia or FOMO to the trend toward shorter forms, but I view that in a more positive light. In a world where we all feel pressed for time, flash allows readers and writers to experiment without inhibition. We can try a new author/voice/form, and concentrate entirely on that one thing, without fretting over “losing” the time we’re dedicating to it. If someone who doesn’t think they have time to read a whole novel still carves out time for flash fiction, that’s a good thing. The prospect of resolution is also a powerful motivator. There

for the most up-to-date news and information, visit www.writer.org

is peace in being able to complete something, read or write this one little story, to feel like you’ve understood at least one thing in an endlessly complicated world. Your first book was a novel (TreeVolution, Lillicat Publishers 2016). How did you transition from writing long to writing short and back to long again? How do the demands of long-form work differ from those of flash for you? I have to admit that I don’t normally start a story knowing exactly where it’s going or how long it’s going to turn out. Most of my work starts out with a “whatif” and I spin out various solutions until the story sorts itself out in my head. Poems are a little different, because they usually come to me when I’m pissed off about something. But if I figure out I’m writing a book, I’m like, “Oh crap, here we go,” because we all know novels aren’t easy. When you’re lucky, it’s the subject matter, the problems you throw at your characters and solutions they come up with, that keep you going, no matter what the length. I’m usually working on both short and long projects at the same time. Quite often the poems and stories are safety valves for the longer work. When I get stuck on a book, being able to turn to a more immediate goal like a story is much better than shutting down altogether. Above all, I try to keep writing. Read the full interview at writer.org.

27


POET LORE

The Writer’s Center

Editors’ Page By Jody Bolz and E. Ethelbert Miller

A

ber the ones you let go in your place. / Remember the ones all over the world / who are raising their arms in the air right now, // then putting their wrists behind their backs….” Poetry can insist as well as enchant, reminding us of what we’ve forgotten or refused to see—and perhaps in that way, it serves justice too. Not “poetic justice” with its arch, ironic undertones, but the higher justice of our shared humanity.

s you climb the Supreme Court’s wide stone steps, you’ll pass James Earle Fraser’s “Contemplation of Justice” statue on your left. This iconic image, featured on our cover, depicts a seated woman in a regal pose. One arm rests on a book of laws, while the other hand grips the diminutive figure of blindfolded “Justice,” who holds a set of scales. These are the symbols of an American ideal: justice for all under the law, justice that is blind to irrelevant distinctions, justice that is measured and measurable. What does the poetry of our moment have to say on the subject? What can it show us that we can’t find in news reports, commentaries, and non-fiction books? From Tony Hoagland’s “SquadCar Light” in our opening pages to Jacqueline Allen Trimble’s closing portfolio about the overt and covert forms of racism that still divide us, many poems in this issue enact concerns about fairness—and what a wide array of approaches they employ. In “A Rock and a Hard Place,” Deborah Paredez adopts the structure of dictionary definitions to address the bitter history of relocation and dislocation among Native Americans; Gretchen Primack’s “R.H. in the Waiting Room” evokes the tenderness and fear an incarcerated father feels for his

28

young son within an imagined speech; Jacqueline Balderrama makes ruin vivid in a dreamlike take on Hurricane Maria. Other poets explore more intimate forms of equity, set within the precincts of love and family. Later in this issue, you’ll find D. Nurkse’s “Poems, Prose Poems, Decoy Selves”—an intriguing look at genre distinctions—and engaging reviews of eight recent collections, some of which (like David Gewanter’s Fort Necessity) address questions of injustice directly. At the end of “Squad-Car Light,” Hoagland writes: “Remem-

Subscribe now to America’s oldest poetry magazine with the best in contemporary poetry! Published here at The Writer’s Center. $18 for one year (two issues) $28 for two years (four issues) poetlore.com For more information, contact Managing Editor Laureen Schipsi at poetlore@writer.org

Workshop & Event Guide Winter/Spring 2019


POET LORE

SQUAD-CAR LIGHT Tony Hoagland 1953-2018

Too bad you have to be arrested to really find out what it is

and the disciples slipped into the dark.

or to be standing next to someone who is getting arrested

And now you must be starting to understand

when the cops arrive in their ponderous vehicles—

what a vain idea it was

the cruiser parked on your neighbor’s weedy lawn,

to call yourself a brother of mankind,

the beacon bathing the whole neighborhood

because now all you want is to be safe;

the cold color of strawberry jelly;

all you want is to be well out of sight. For the rest of your life you’ll remember

and the officers—so much gear attached to them

this terrible night, red splashing the houses and trees.

they clank when they walk—the chains and the handcuffs

Remember the night when your fear woke up.

hung from their belts, the slender baton for administering shock.

Remember the ones you let go in your place. Remember the ones all over the world

This was the light which splashed the leaves

who are raising their arms in the air right now,

that night in the garden of Gethsemane, the night they came to fetch the teacher

then putting their wrists behind their backs, finding out what it means

and spread him on the hood of his own car

to be chosen, and frozen,

—while the neighbors watched from

by squad-car light.

behind their flowered curtains

Reprinted from the Fall/Winter 2018 issue of Poet Lore for the most up-to-date news and information, visit www.writer.org

29


POET LORE

The Writer’s Center

Forensic Poetry A Review of Safe Danger By Emily Holland to settle into his poems while also essentially pulling the rug out from under our feet.

S

tephen Zerance’s debut collection Safe Danger is a refreshing exploration into the exploitation of celebrities, popularized crime stories, and our own bodies. In the first poem, “True Crime” (originally published in The Writer’s Center’s own Poet Lore) Zerance sets the tone of the collection: the speaker draws from familiar evidence and stories featured on forensic television shows to set the narrative, putting readers at ease with the idea that these violent obsessions are a new kind of normal. He even says, “I’ve tried to rationalize abject crime, my fascination. / Both have always / been around.” Further in the book, the poem “If I Did It” riffs off the dramatic anti-confession so often flashed on news clips and played in front of jurors. Zerance’s speaker is so confident and convincing that it seems the truth—whether he did it or not—doesn’t even matter. Zerance’s poetic power lies in his ability to allow us, as readers,

30

The three “Scary Movie Marathon” poems play with the readers’ horror expectations—each alludes to its title movie in unexpected ways. “The Amityville Horror” pulls readers into a house of domestic violence and abuse; “The Silence of the Lambs” turns a dinner date into a front yard murder; “Friday the 13th” puts the film at the center of a tense love affair between two young boys. Perhaps the centerpiece of the book is the long, multi-sectioned poem that comprises the entirety of the third section of the book. “Another Exploitation in Which I Glamorize the Murder of Jonbenét Ramsey, a Child of Six” is the fulcrum of Safe Danger. Zerance reimagines each angle of the murder in poetic fashion, utilizing words from the ransom notes and public quotes from family members. The poem, of course, does not solve the murder. But Zerance offers readers a realm of possibilities. In Safe Danger, Zerance does more than simply reference exploitation: he places it under his

own forensic microscope, using it as a lens to interrogate everything from Lindsay Lohan’s mugshot or an infected tick bite to the gender binary of clothing or fad diets. How does one relate to a glamorized murder? How does a speaker’s relationship to his own body become a crime or act of violence in itself? In “Cobra,” the act of shaving one’s legs becomes a labored snake-like shedding. In “Skintight,” the speaker is forced to strip himself of his chosen clothing and wear what his father gives him—the father asks “Do you feel like a man?” while the true speaker disappears. The book is full of oxymoronic language—even the title Safe Danger suggests that everything is not as it seems, or not as it should be. Mother Mary becomes Madonna; the Holy Communion becomes a tab of acid under the speaker’s tongue. Much like the horror films and the popular “true crime” stories Zerance references, the poems thrive in an inverted, or perverted, reality. Poem after poem, Zerance shows a mastery of his craft—his poems evoke a fear of persistent violence while also engaging with what makes violence so addicting. Danger persists, and the world of these poems is all but safe.

Workshop & Event Guide Winter/Spring 2019


POET LORE Lindsay Lohan By Stephen Zerance

Sedate in your mug-shot, I’d worry my eyebrows weren’t impeccably plucked, my chin double. I’d love to be unable to move my face. Pinch my skin taut behind my ears. Pump my lips. Pump them to a permanent Lindsay pout. I don’t fear needles, incisions, or drills. File my teeth down to the nub. Give me veneers. I’ve got a daily ritual: eye serums, white-strips, line breakers, ten push-ups each time I walk into my bedroom, crunches over crunches over lies. Suck my stomach to permanent morning. Snap my nose straight. Lindsay, I’d steal that necklace. And I’d wear it out in public for everyone to notice. Because it was mine. Because if you believe so deeply that something is yours, that it belongs to you, then it does.

for the most up-to-date news and information, visit www.writer.org

31

ECB-004-TheWritersGuideAd_3.625x4.5_v1.indd 1

10/25/18 1:11 PM


Squeezing Silver Re-live the thrilling trial

Meet Author Mark Cymrot Reading, Q&A, Book Signing The Writer’s Center 6 p.m. Dec. 6, 2018 Reception to follow. RSVP:

markcymrotbooks@gmail.com

Published by

Twelve Tables Press

Available on Amazon MarkCymrot.com


BOOK TALK Through the Fire: An Alternate Life of Prince Konstantin of Russia Tamar Anolic TamarAnolic.com

Through the Fire is a novel in short stories about Prince Konstantin Romanov of Russia. Konstantin was a cousin of Nicholas II and the third son of the Grand Duke Konstantin, the Imperial family’s greatest poet. Through the Fire examines the life he might have lived if the Russian Revolution had been averted, and the Romanovs had retained their throne.

Sweet Sorrow: Finding Enduring Wholeness After Loss and Grief Sherry Cormier, PhD SherryCormierAuthor.com

This carefully considered work provides perspective on grief and healing over time. Sweet Sorrow combines the author’s psychological expertise and clinical experience with the compelling art of memoir to illuminate the surprising ways in which loss survivors can grow and even thrive to achieve wholeness after heartbreaking traumatic losses.

Squeezing Silver Mark Cymrot MarkCymrot.com

“A fascinating view inside what was perhaps our first modern financial meltdown. Cymrot’s meticulous account reads like a legal thriller—complete with larger-than-life

characters, secret liaisons, and all the machinations we have come to expect from powerful defendants…Could this still happen today?” (Simon H. Johnson, former chief economist, International Monetary Fund) Buy on Amazon.

Shadows Back to Kennedy Van Douglas VanDouglasWriter.com

Does fake news date back to the Kennedy administration? In this timely tale, “fake news” causes a conspiracy to destroy America’s leadership and gain control of the Nuclear Codes, known only to presidents dating back to the cold war and John Fitzgerald Kennedy. Available on Amazon.

The Respite of Ghosts Van Douglas VanDouglasWriter.com

In this psychological thriller, psychiatrist Isaac Abraham and four patients discover that “a conspiracy of Minds and Gods” holds their eternal Souls captive. All must face the truth about themselves as ransom for their release. Available on Amazon.

complicity in the Holocaust…as the author conscientiously traces the historical arc of anti-Semitism in France, he confronts the collective silence on the part of the French regarding the nation’s acquiescence to German aggression…Mack’s command of the historical period in Paris is exceptional…. included are pages and pages of beautifully illustrative photographs.” (Kirkus Reviews)

The Speed of Dark Joram Piatigorsky JoramP.com

In this contemplative memoir, we learn that science and art are two sides to one coin. Keeping our eyes open to such paradoxes and possibilities, we can ask seemingly absurd questions that may someday have answers, such as: “What about the speed of dark?” Buy at Politics & Prose, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, FNAC, and Bertrand Books Portugal (early 2019).

Why People Don’t Believe You Rob Jolles

Jellyfish Have Eyes

Jolles.com

Joram Piatigorsky

For some, projecting confidence and credibility is second nature. For others, it seems like a foreign language they’ll never learn—until now. Rob Jolles delivers down-to-earth solutions for anyone looking to enhance the most basic need of all: to be believed.

Phantoms of the Hotel Meurice Jeremy Mack AuthorJeremyMack.com

Coming soon: “A well-researched and powerful indictment of France’s

for the most up-to-date news and information, visit www.writer.org

JoramP.com

In this dystopian novel, an economically stressed government threatens the academic freedom of basic scientists. Dr. Ricardo Sztein, an award-winning scientist, pays a heavy price for his studies on jellyfish vision. His path from discovery to condemnation gives a chilling warning on the role of government in dictating the direction of scientific research. Buy on Amazon and JellyfishHaveEyes.com.

33


Meet the Author Wednesday, Jan. 9th e Strand Bookstore New York, NY With a performance by cellist Evan Drachman

Saturday, Jan. 12th Politics & Prose Washington, D.C. Saturday, April 13th e Writer’s Center Bethesda, MD Saturday, April 28th Day of the Book Kensington, MD Memoirs of a career that shaped vision and genetic research, an illustrious family history, and the mystery and beauty of art. Politics & Prose • Amazon • Barnes & Noble • FNAC • Kindle Foreign releases & more at AdelaideBooks.com

JoramP.com


REGISTRATION

1

WORKSHOP REGISTRATION FORM

A year-long membership includes 13% off all workshop registrations, discounts on room rentals, discounts in our onsite bookstore, 15% off studio rentals, and more!

Name

 $50 General Membership  $75 Household Membership

Address City

4 5 6

BECOME A MEMBER

GENERAL INFORMATION

State

Zip

SUBSCRIBE TO POET LORE

Phone

Add a subscription to Poet Lore, the oldest continually published literary magazine in America.

E-mail

2

 $18 (2 issues-1 Year)  $28 (4 issues-2 Years)

WORKSHOP INFORMATION

CALCULATE YOUR TOTAL PAYMENT

Workshop

$____________ TOTAL DUE

Workshop Leader Location

Start Date

$ Fee* *Members receive 13% discount on workshops

ASSISTANCE Please let us know if you require accommodations due to a physical limitation by calling 301-654-8664 prior to your first class meeting.

3

REFUND POLICY If TWC cancels a workshop, participants who have already signed up and made payment will receive a full refund, or they can use their payment as a credit toward another workshop and/or a membership. Workshop participants who have enrolled in and paid for a workshop and choose to withdraw from it within the drop period (see page 10) will receive full credit (but not a cash refund) that can be used within one year to pay for another workshop and/or a membership. Workshop participants who have enrolled in and paid for a workshop and choose to withdraw from it after the drop period has ended will forfeit their full payment and will not receive any credit to be used to pay for another workshop and/or a membership. Exceptions may be made in the case of serious illness or other extenuating circumstances, such as relocation out of the area; in such cases, a formal request in the form of a letter or an e-mail must be submitted to the Executive Director. No refunds or credits will be given for individual classes missed. To receive a credit, you must notify TWC by e-mail (grace.mott@writer.org) within the drop period. Please confirm receipt of the message if you do not hear back from TWC within two business days.

PAYMENT METHOD

 Check (enclosed)

 Credit Card (complete section below)

Card Number Expiration Date

CVC (3 digits on the back of your card)

Signature

FOR OFFICE USE ONLY DCP ______

CP______

Card _______

Please sign to indicate you understand our policy

for the most up-to-date news and information, visit www.writer.org

35

Code _______

03/12


4508 Walsh Street Bethesda, MD 20815 301-654-8664

Writer.org

Return Service Requested CONTAINS DATED MATERIAL

NON-PROFIT US POSTAGE

PAID

PERMIT NO. 3007 SUBURBAN, MD

Profile for The Writer's Center

The Writer's Guide - Winter/Spring 2019  

IN THIS ISSUE DC area natives Julia Fine and Lillian Li talk about their debut novels and how their childhood homes contributed to their lif...

The Writer's Guide - Winter/Spring 2019  

IN THIS ISSUE DC area natives Julia Fine and Lillian Li talk about their debut novels and how their childhood homes contributed to their lif...

Advertisement