*Douglass Reads 6/Tuesday November 3rd at Adobe Books on 16th 6:30pm
*"Start Your New Year Write" Douglass Street Lab's Greatest Hits starts 1/19/10 and is open for registration now.
Happy Autumn everyone. It feels like years have gone by between the September and October updates.
I also just finished my third week of teaching at Paul Revere School in Bernal Heights throughPerforming Arts Workshop. There, my job is usually to work with the teaching artists, not the students. I first went to Paul Revere as an on-site mentor for a new artist, and was delighted to find one of my former students in charge of their after-school arts programming. She asked me I could teach Creative Writing to their 7th and 8th graders. At the time I couldn't, because of my schedule at State....and then came the cutbacks...
So now I'm not only teaching those two after-school classes to middle-schoolers, but I'm also teaching two 4th grade classes and a 5th grade class. Five classes in a row in Creative Writing!
They've all expertly grasped the difference between fiction and autobiography, realistic fiction from fantasy, and they're preparing to write entirely fictionalized but realistic stories that borrow from their autobiographies. I read them a story I wrote in graduate school, one that explores the inner-life of one of two little sisters. They're coping in the aftermath of the death of their mother. (Don't worry: I okayed it with the school counselor. Seriously. I did!). It's set in deer-hunting country and one of the girls is obsessed with a dead deer in the back of her uncle's truck. Then I answered questions about what I imagined (some said they couldn't believe that I'm not, and never have been, a hunter or a father or a girl); and what I borrowed from my autobiography.
The most recent session of The Lab has also been a joy. I feel lucky to see how creative writing can open things up for people in so many different settings/age groups/contexts. The experiments this time were inspired by Philip Glassand Roland Barthes and Lucy Grealy and Aristotle and Zadie Smith and a cartoonist and an architect (just to name a few). The Labbers' findings have often been thrilling, inspiring me to keep my eyes open to how every single thing might deepen or expand the worlds of my fiction.
A student from the Fourteen Hills MA/MFA class at SFSU just interviewed me for a new blog. You can check it out here.
Speaking of The Lab,
The most recent session of "Douglass Street Lab," an intimate writing workshop, INVITES YOU to a public reading:
“DOUGLASS READS 6”
TUESDAY NOVEMBER 3rd, 2009
3166 16th St, between Valencia and Guerrero
San Francisco, CA 94103-3363
ADMISSION: FREE (but you're welcome to make a purchase at Adobe Books and keep an independent bookstore alive!)
"The Lab," which focuses on the prose experiment, is named after the street where the group meets. "Douglass Reads 6" will feature short shots from the works-in-progress of:
The vibe will be more sunny than somber. We are people who take our work—but not ourselves—seriously.
And finally, I'm registering people for "Start Your New Year Off Write: The Douglass Street Lab's Greatest Hits."