Greetings from the life of a working writer in San Francisco.
Seems like just yesterday I was blogging from New York and here it is time for me to buy my tickets to go back this summer! A full year later?
About my novel: SIGNIFICANT PROGRESS! The Fall Semester made the day-to-day writing a challenge...but the books and stories I read and what I learned from my students ended up proving invaluable yet again.
Is the novel going to be finished according to the schedule I proposed for the grant? No. But it is simmering at its own pace. All I need to keep truckin' is a bit of progress.
The reading series also ended up being such an effective way to keep working and revising. I made sure never to read the same thing twice—and I also tried, when possible, to pull from the novel scenes set in the neighborhoods where I read. It's odd to read from a work-in-progress, but I recommend it. It takes the often-heard suggestion of reading aloud to a whole new level. I was really able to hear the places that need work (reading in front of an audience is a great way to experience what needs to be cut!). I was also able to see in their faces when they were connecting.
About The Lab: The Winter Session of Douglass Street Lab was a sheer delight. These ten writers/artists/word-nerds created a camaraderie that fostered risk-taking (and therefore growth). The reading at Bollyhood was a blast. The Spring Lab just met for the first session of 8 Sessions this last Tuesday. We dug right into the writing—using the concept of fear as the opening topic.
These were a couple of the quotes we considered:
“Fear is not your enemy, it’s your energy—let it make you freer, bigger. Let them see your hand shake as you reach out.” –Amy Freed
“I realize that if I wait until I am no longer afraid to act, write, speak, be, I'll be sending messages on a Ouija board, cryptic complaints from the other side.” —Audre Lorde
If you're interested in my Fall 2008 Lab, it will be starting in September. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with Lab List as the subject of the email and I'll keep you informed as it develops.
May first ever 1-day Drop-In Lab is upcoming. lt will focus on Characterization—imagining believable AND interesting characters. (So many books about prose concentrate on Believability as if it's the only goal in effective characterization. Boring can be believable. I don't want mere believability. I want fascinating, complicated, irresistible characters, don't you?)
- We'll meet for 3 hours on a Saturday late morning.
- Half-hour Lecture/Discussion on Topic
- Half hour write.
- 15 minute Break.
- Half hour continuation of Lecture/Discussion
- Half Hour Write.
- 45 minutes: Read. Discuss. Brainstorm for development.
Email me if this seems interesting to you.
UPCOMING DATES: Please save May 21st for The Upcoming Reading for Fourteen Hills Issue 14.2. I'm so excited that one of my favorite poets, Randall Mann, whose next book is coming out from University of Chicago Press, is going to be featured in the issue—and he's scheduled to read.
The reading will also be at Bollyhood Cafe in the Mission at 7pm.