Thursday, December 18, 2014

Fun Things to Do over the Holiday Break

Whether you're taking a break from teaching, studying, or your sanity because your grade-school-age kids are home for sixteen solid days, the Bermuda Triangle of Hanukkah-Christmas-New Year's can be a good time to lose yourself in some writing and reading projects. Here are a couple of ideas.

An Exercise in Suspense: Read some great advice from suspense expert Lee Child, author of very many Jack Reacher novels; see his techniques in action in a short-short story; and do a fun writing exercise inspired by John Gardner, Charlie Chaplin, and "cat scares" in horror movies.

A Very Dark Poem for the Season: Hear "the most frightening American poet ever" read his poem "December."

A Christmas Classic: Read and listen to the beloved prose poem "A Child's Christmas in Wales" by Dylan Thomas, and do a writing exercise inspired by it.

Go Spelunking in the Website of No Return: Make your own writing exercise by mining this amazing site, or just read it for fun. Maybe let a friend know where you're going and when you plan to be back; or better yet, tie a rope around your waist and give the other end to your friend with instructions to pull you out after a certain number of hours. Otherwise you could start reading and emerge twenty years later to find your eyes no longer able to tolerate light and your clothes rotted to rags.

Josef Lada, from Detem, 1953, via 50watts

Monday, December 8, 2014

Get Unblocked at Hudson Valley Writers' Center

Saturday May 2, 12—4 p.m.

Hudson Valley Writers' Center Master Class: Get Unblocked
A one-afternoon, four-hour Saturday course
at the wonderful Hudson Valley Writers' Center

In this fiction-writing course, we'll explore what writer's block is and where it comes from—briefly—and then we'll get writing! We'll start with short, fun, low-key exercises to get your pen moving across the page, then build towards more focused experiments in character, plot, and other story elements. By the end of the class, you'll have the seeds of a new piece of fiction, and a road map for the next stages of your writing journey.

"Then I will," said the little red hen. And she did. : Andy Warhol, illus. for The Little Red Hen, 1958