Wednesday, March 18, 2009

New Creative Nonfiction on the Web

I have a new essay out on the web at 580 Split. It's the short essay called "In the Shed." GOTO 580split.com and then go to their web journal. Let me know what you think. After seeing it on-line, I felt like whoa...too personal. It's my first nonfiction piece. I think I like hiding behind the veil of fiction, but I wanted to step out this once because my daughter JG was mentioned in it and I wanted to say to her, "Hey, I wrote something about us." I was also trying to write about the past and trying to write an essay in the vein of personal reflection. My eleventh grade students have to write one, so I made myself write one, too--to show them and to show myself.

As for people who were considering taking my Friday night class, I'm sorry. I had to step off on that one because I was too overwhelmed with things to do in the next three months. (And quite frankly, I got ill with kidney stones and it set me back about two weeks.) I will still be teaching my Fiction class. It's been moved back to Wednesday nights, with all new stories to read, new writing exercises, and more opportunities to workshop. So check it out if you're thinking about taking a class. If you have graduated from an MFA program, but miss the classroom, this class has a nice mix of writers who are very dedicated to the craft and are very responsible in the workshop/editing phase. It's a great place to go back to and revive that spirit and excitement you had for writing. (Or if you are new--we're gentle and encouraging)

As for advice about writing, I'm now reading a book called The Practice of Poetry by editors Robin Behn and Chase Twichell. They have some terrific exercises for people to write poetry, but I like some of them for inspiring stories, too. I like the idea of writing a story from a poem. I used to do this all the time when I was in the program at USF. Write the story out as lines in a poem first. Then go back and fill it up with detail. I do the reverse sometimes with poetry. Freewrite as a narrative; then pare it down to the simplest form. Cut out and get to the central image and metaphor.

BEGONE!

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