Wednesday, October 23, 2013

South Loop Review Publication Release + The Sun Magazine Celebrates Personal Writing at Esalen

Some great things are happening in my writerly world these days! First, my essay "What It's Like," which was accepted for publication more than one year ago, has finally appeared in print! I was invited as a contributor to read at the launch party for South Loop Review Volume 15, but alas, I couldn't make it to Chicago. This week, Oct. 21-24, Columbia College Chicago's department of journalism and department of creative writing co-host their annual Creative Nonfiction Week. This year's theme is titled "Hybrid Forms." I'm in awe of this institution, which stood next door to the main AWP conference venue I attended last year, and I appreciate their commitment to exploring CNF:

Creative Nonfiction Week highlights the booming literary genre, which pairs techniques of fiction, poetry, film and other forms of storytelling with journalism’s commitment to facts. This year’s event includes artists blazing new paths in graphic/comics journalism, radio and live performance storytelling, and filmmaking.
So I'm not headed across the country, but I am driving south to Big Sur Friday morning for a fantastic writing workshop at Esalen, hosted by The Sun magazine -- "for a weekend of investigating our lives through the written word. We’ll discuss essays, fiction, and poems with their authors, who will lead exercises geared to bring forth similar elements in your own writing. Readers Write–style writing sessions will help get your pen moving."

Months ago, when I attempted to register for Into the Fire: The Sun Celebrates Personal Writing, I was put on a lengthy waiting list with fingers crossed. I long gave up hope of going until I recently received a phone message and jumped at the opportunity. It's insanely expensive, but it's my birthday. Along with two nights' lodging and delicious meals, there are numerous writing workshops with Sun contributors like Ellen Bass (I'm bringing her the letterpress card I made with her poem) and Frances Lefkowitz, whom I've blogged about before -- plus a personal meeting with Sun founder, editor and publisher Sy Safransky himself.  Not to mention soaking in hot springs on a cliff overlooking the ocean!

Lastly, I'm almost done revising the first essay in my thesis collection -- a reflective story that investigates my parents' secret premarital life on Greenbrae Boardwalk in 1966. Each time I think it's ready to be sent out for consideration, back to the keyboard I go. My wife has been an invaluable first reader for my work, and she graciously spent several hours combing through the latest rendition with me over breakfast, both of us cringing at the perilous process of restructuring I faced ahead... again. I've managed to cut it down from 25 pages to 17 by tightening the prose and cutting away at whatever was extraneous. Since diving back into the fire, I've been re-inspired to continue revising...

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