Posted in literary reading, poetry reading, Public readings, Uncategorized

A First State Reading Series

Delaware Literary Reading Series, 2016

 A new series of literary readings featuring Delaware authors sharing poetry and prose in artistic hot spots and historic places throughout the state kicks off in February in Newark.

CurrentsWriters from all three counties will read works to promote a new anthology showcasing Delaware authors. CURRENTS: Selected Poetry & Prose from the 2014 Cape Henlopen Retreat Writers is a collection of poems, short fiction, and essays from authors who were selected to attend the Delaware Division of the Arts’ biennial writers retreat. Twenty working Delaware writers contributed to the anthology. Continue reading “A First State Reading Series”

Posted in Delaware interest, editing

Seeking the Unexpected

Mrs. Rochester in the attic. Whoddunit on the Orient Express. Why the Stepford Wives are so obedient. Who fathered Rosemary’s Baby.

I like twists and turns in stories, especially those I don’t see coming. I didn’t know that Soylent Green is people—or maybe I just didn’t want to know.

In my own writing, I seek the unexpected, albeit maybe not so dramatically. Sometimes the surprises surprise me, too. I knew the ending of Evie but I wasn’t sure how she got there until I saw a newspaper ad for the state fair. The quirk in The Chances was born a decade ago, when a friend told me a story about seeing a woman on the side of the road.  The Barking Dog needed to be quieted, but it took a few rewrites to realize how and by whom.

The unexpected is not always a twist or turn or big sexy revelation. The unexpected in a story can be the wise voice of a child narrator, a dark place that is full of light, ugliness within beauty or kindness within the jaded. I strive to write the unexpected and when I am reading the work of others, both as a reader and as an editor, I am delighted when I find it in a story.

NAA logoOn Saturday, January 18, I’ll be speaking about Seeking the Unexpected at the Newark Arts Alliance. My talk is the third installment of the NAA’s Literary Arts Discussion Series. The first two discussions were led by Delaware’s Poet Laureate JoAnn Balingit and Charles Todd, the state’s acclaimed mother and son  mystery writing team.

Because I write and edit professionally, I’ll read a story to show my point and discuss from there how to find and write the unexpected. I hope you’ll join us and support arts and literature in Delaware.

Posted in artist fellowships, artists colony, Guest blogs, retreat, writers getaway, writers retreat

Return to Writing Camp

VCCA Blue RidgeI began this final month of 2013 by driving to the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, to begin a two-week residency at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. VCCA is a year round working artist colony that provides work time and space for writers, visual artists, and musicians. Resident artists, called Fellows, are granted a private studio, private bedrooms, meals, and the camaraderie of two dozen other Fellows who have also rearranged their home, work, and family lives to devote a few weeks to creating their art.

This was my second time as a Fellow. I chronicled my first experience at my blog here in posts called Postcards from Writing Camp, Part I and Part 2.

 My first residency was nearly two years ago. I arrived with no clear idea of what to expect. I spent my two weeks there writing in a converted chicken coop, which I fondly called The Ark. I arrived with an idea for a novel, but nothing written. I left with a lot of pages written, and a vow to return.VCCA installation path

This time, as a veteran, I had a better idea of what to expect. I packed a favorite pillow, more shoes, my own big cushy bath towel, and a coffee maker.  Every writing experience teaches me something new. This one taught me, among other things, I needed access 24/7 to a coffee maker.

The reason for the coffee is, when you are charged with doing nothing but writing 24/7, you don’t have to adhere to a 9:00 to 5:00 schedule. Although I am self-employed and work at home (sometimes in my pajamas), I stick to a schedule. This, I have learned as an adult, is how one successfully makes mortgage payments.

But at an artist colony, the schedule went kaput. The three meals in the dining room grounded me, sure, but my studio was in a self-contained cottage: two bedrooms, two studios, a shared bath. The cottage is separate from the converted barn where the other studios are situated, past the fields and the two permanent resident horses.

I was a little sad to be separated from the barn area, but the cottage had perks. I could wake up in the middle of the night in the upstairs bedroom and, quietly so I didn’t wake my cottage mate, sneak downstairs at 3:00 a.m., or 5:00 a.m., or any other a.m., and write in my studio. After about three days, it was bliss.

VCCA cottageWhy after three days? Well, I had a little problem at first. I had the opportunity to write about it in a guest post at Jordan Rosenfeld’s blog. Panic at the Artist Colony exposes a side many writers share, but don’t often discuss: feeling like a fraud. Most of the time, I’m relatively confident of what I’m doing and where I’m going as a writer, but from time to time, I’m not. This time, the uncertainty hit like a truck.

Thank you to Jordan for generously allowing me the space to write about overcoming the fraud feeling, and thank you to the writers who commented at the blog or emailed me personally about your own experiences.

We are not alone. Even in a private studio, at an artist colony in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, writers are a community.

In keeping with this theme, I returned to Delaware to the wonderful news that a collection of work created during the Delaware Division of the Arts’ 2012 Cape Henlopen Retreat is now in print! Thanks to the spectacular editorial team of Phil Linz, Maria Masington, and Beth Evans, the collection of work by 8 poets and 7 prose writers, plus introductions by our retreat mentors JoAnn Balingit and Alice Elliot Dark, was gathered and became Wanderings: Cape Henlopen 2012.

wanderings

Posted in micro fiction, open mic

Poetry Month and Open Mic

My micro-fiction piece, COUNTDOWN, was included in an article celebrating April as National Poetry Month and highlighting a new open mic series offered by the Newark Arts Alliance. Delaware’s Poet Laureate JoAnn Balingit devoted her column in the News Journal to Newark Open Mic.

I was pleased to be  included and quoted in the article, and to offer my work alongside poems by Beth Evans and Maria Masington.

 

Posted in critiques, retreat, writers getaway

Retreat Report

I spent the past few days at the Cape Henlopen Poets & Writers Retreat, a four-day immersion retreat sponsored by the Delaware Division of the Arts. We stayed in the lovely Cape Henlopen State Park, and housed in the Biden Center, a former naval training center now renovated and open for groups and events.

An immersion retreat is one that focuses on the creative expression of your choice. We were all literary artists: 8 poets, 8 prose writers. Continue reading “Retreat Report”