4.17.2017: A sort of prayer.
Mining for Story
A writer once said something like this: What no spouse of a writer understands is that a writer is working when she is looking out the window. It’s true, isn’t it? Non-writers are hard pressed to understand the pursuit of the perfect word, the best story, the most complicated characters. And so, why not join a community of writers for a few days? Spend time with them in their (your) natural habitat, at the writing desk in front of the page? Shake Rag Alley in Mineral Point, Wisconsin offers such an opportunity: Mining for Story, a retreat for writers.
Workshops in writing for young people, fiction, and memoir are part of a three-day event featuring panels on self-publishing, blogging, keeping a journal, making books, readings, conversations, lunches, and manuscript consultations. Writers will gather together in the beautiful Mineral Point, a small arts town that looks like an English mining village; we will talk about writing, and most importantly, we will write, write, write!
All of this at a remarkably affordable price: $295!
Shake Rag Alley Writers Retreat Schedule:
10–11am Welcome and Self-publishing Panel.
11am–noon The Writer’s Blog, Good Practices. Philip Hartigan
1:30–3pm Keeping a Writer’s Journal. Patricia Ann McNair & Philip Hartigan
3–4:30pm Life into Fiction, a brief generative workshop with novelist Shawn Shiflett
4:45–5:45pm 25 minute Manuscript Consultations (Hammond, Rice, McNair – 4:45 & 5:15)
5–6:30pm Meet and Greet
7–9pm Workshops: Hammond (writing for young people), Rice (fiction), McNair (memoir)
9–10am Manuscript Consultations (Shiflett – 9 & 9:30)
10am–noon Workshops continued.
1–4pm Workshops continued.
4:30–5:30pm Writing Instructors panel Q&A
6–7pm Open mic – participants
9–10am Manuscript Consultations (Rice, Hammond, McNair, Shiflett – 9:00 & 9:30)
10–noon Handmade Books, Philip Hartigan & Judy Sutcliffe
1:30–3:30pm Workshops conclude.
Registrations are going fast; there is one week left to sign up. Please join us. We would love to hear your story!
4.4.2017: Let go. Let go.
“Death has its revelations: the great sorrows which open the heart open the mind as well; light comes to us with our grief.” – Letter to Edouard Thierry
Art produces ugly things which frequently become more beautiful with time. – Jean Cocteau
My dad was a writer. Journalism, mostly, but books, too. Career books, how-to-get-a-job books. (It’s in the blood, I guess, this writing thing. My mom, too, was a writer. My grandfather. Three of my brothers.) And here is what I remember: he was a two-finger typist. Fast, hunt and peck. I remember also, sitting at the reception desk of his small personnel firm in the 70s when he paid me some tiny bit of cash to do clerical stuff–phones, filing–and hearing the sound of the typewriter keys as he struck them. The occasional “Aw, shit,” when he hit the wrong key, when he had to rip a missive-in-progress out of the carriage, crumple it up, toss it away.
But mostly, when I think of my father’s writing, I think of his beautiful, messy cursive. My mother was a bit more of a formalist: even letters, precise dots and crosses above the I’s, over the T’s. Her writing was pretty to look at, easy to read. Dad’s, though. His–to me–was like art.
3.28.2017: They scared me.
“The tide of darkness seemed to sweep him back to her, postponing from moment to moment his entry into the world of guilt and sorrow.” – Flannery O’Connor, “Everything That Rises Must Converge.”