Sunday, February 26, 2012
Heading to the AWP Writing Conference in Chicago!
I haven't been blogging as regularly as I'd like, but rest assured I'll take notes for upcoming posts. Last week I submitted my first short fiction story (at 13 pages) for my writing workshop. My story, Schoolyard, is "up" (as they say) for critique by my cohort Tuesday. Then I'm off to the San Francisco airport and the windy city Wednesday. Wish me luck!
This amazing conference, featuring keynote Margaret Atwood, lasts three days and has an overwhelming multitude of choices (as many as 25!) each 1.25 hour session--from craft of writing to teaching to sustaining a writing life. Here are some I'm interested in:
A Writing Life, After the Workshop
(Ilana Shabanov, April Newman, Daniel Prazer, James Lower, Sheree Greer)
This intensive presentation covers what your MFA program might have missed: how to organize and sustain a writing life in today’s economy. Our event showcases planning ideas, technology solutions, and tools writers can use to take control of their career and maintain a writing lifestyle long-term. The approach is engaging to the audience, displaying websites and tools available to writers to promote their work. The audience members will come away with resources and an action plan for their writing life.
From the Mawkish to the Remarkable: Addressing Sentimentality in Undergraduate Poetry Workshops
(Dana Bisignani, Eric Goddard-Scovel, Cody Lumpkin, Adrian Gibbons Koesters)
Undergraduate poets often struggle with sentimentality, relying on an abstract language of thought and feeling to express the universal. Four instructors will discuss how to steer young poets towards more sophisticated modes of emotional expression while still fostering their individual artistic sensibilities. From working with found language to collaborative writing, panelists share tools and pedagogical strategies to help students replace the mawkish with the remarkable.
Selling Out Everyone You Love: The Ethics of Writing Nonfiction
(Krista Bremer, Lee Martin, Cheryl Strayed, Stephen Elliott, Brian Doyle)
Joan Didion said that writers are always selling somebody out. How do the authors of memoirs walk the thin line between truthful disclosure and betrayal of trust, and what responsibility do they have to loved ones who appear in their work? How has their writing affected their intimate relationships? Four authors will talk about how they’ve grappled with these questions, the consequences of their choices, and the lessons they’ve learned along the way.
Writing Outside of Higher Education
(Margaret Luongo, John Morogiello, David Roby, Don Waters, Susi Wyss)
Four writers discuss the paths they’ve taken—away from higher education. From careers in international health and freelance nonfiction writing, to acting, directing, and teaching as an artist in residence, these writers discuss how they’ve created lives that support and nurture (or not) their writing without full-time university employment.
Taking Up Residence: Writers in Unexpected Places
(Wendy Call, Stephanie Elizondo Griest, Henry Reese, Ellen Placey Wadey)
Five writers will share their experiences as writers in residence at K-12 schools, visual arts centers, libraries, county hospitals, battered women’s shelters, national parks, and urban community centers nationwide. Each will reflect on what it means to be a writer in a community of nonprofessional writers—and how that community changes both what is written and the writer. Panelists will discuss the practicalities of finding, creating, and making the most of writer-in-residence opportunities.
The Scions of Studs Terkel: Creative Writers as Oral Historians
(Miles Harvey, Rebecca Morgan Frank, Peter Orner, Audrey Petty, Kelli Simpkins)
This panel pays tribute to Studs Terkel by studying the ways in which nonfiction writers, novelists, poets, and playwrights can make use of oral history. The panelists, all of whom are involved in oral-history projects, will explore the logistical, ethical, and narrative challenges creative writers face in collecting the testimonies of others. They will also discuss how hybrid oral-history forms can bridge the gap between old models of literature and new kinds of reality-based art and entertainment.
East and West: Creative Nonfiction and the Possibility of Post-Orientalist Travel Writing
(Joshua Schriftman, Faith Adiele, Fred D’Aguiar, Elizabeth Kadetsky, Oona Patrick)
New travel writing too often builds on old notions of race. Developing cultures get reduced to romantic piquancy, and national identities become exotic foils to Western quests for identity: find prayer in one nation; food in another; love in a third. We may know Orientalism when we see it, but does this ultimately help us as writers to avoid it? How can Westerners writing on Eastern experiences use the tools of creative nonfiction to write outside of these old imperialist patterns?
The Image, Written: Using Photography and Mixed Media to Teach Creative and Composition Writing
(Rachel Somerstein, Alden Jones, Lorraine Doran)
Recent technological and cultural transformations have created a world in which photographic images are bound up with literacy, illiteracy, and self-expression as never before. This panel examines how photography can be used as a tool to teach writing. Three university instructors will discuss methods for integrating photography, blogs, and mixed media into creative writing and composition classes, offering specific strategies for tapping into college students’ visual literacy.