Thursday, April 30, 2015

Still Time to Apply to Yale Writers' Conference

The application deadline has been extended to May 15. Info here.

I need one more person to sign up for my fun, intense Session II class, "Cross-Genre Fiction." I have four students but they need five to run it. (I'll be there in Session I regardless.) This class is for people who are crossing genre boundaries: mixing their straight fiction with elements of horror, sci-fi, romance, suspense, mystery, or anything else.

Even if your story does none of that and you'd like to study with me, feel free to join! Last year we had several stories with no genre elements. It really doesn't matter: the point is, it will be a good class and we'll critique each story on its own terms, whatever those are. We'll respect it for the unique thing it is and talk about how to make it even better.

I really don't want them to cut this great class, so if you know anyone who might be interested, please let them know! Use the CONTACT ME form on the right to get it touch and I'll happily answer your questions.

Session II is only four days: June 18—21, and half of it's on a weekend. You get to eat, sleep and study at Yale, use the beautiful Beinecke Library, and hang out at Mory's. The people are wonderful, and a lot of fun and bonding goes on.

Check it out here: Yale Summer Writers' Conference

View from the dorms, summer 2013

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

May Class Schedule

There's a lot going on in May. This will be my last month teaching in Croton before I head off to Yale for most of June. 

In July and August, I'll try to get in as many classes as I can. Dates TK. Let me know if you're interested. I'll be back to a full schedule again in September.

Saturday May 2: Get Unblocked at the Hudson Valley Writers' Center in Sleepy Hollow. Here's my essay about it on the HVWC blog.

At the Ajna Center in Croton:

Get Comfortable
This easy, low-pressure group is for beginners, those returning to writing after a break, and those who are feeling stuck. Get lots of encouragement and support while we get your pen moving with short, fun in-class writing assignments and homework. You'll be amazed at how much you write—and how good it is.   
     Thursdays May 7, 14, 21, and 28, 7 to 8:30 p.m.
     $175 for the month; $50 for one class 

Get Uncomfortable
Good writing often comes from pushing against the boundaries of our comfortable worlds. From bravely encountering questions without answers, stories without happy endings, mysteries larger than words. Discomfort doesn't equal darkness. Outside the bubble lies sadness, yes, but deep joy, too. It's where we encounter the full range of human experience. This class will combine in-class work with opportunities to workshop your prose. 
     Tuesdays May 5 to June 2, 9:45 to 11:45 a.m.
     $200 for all five classes; $50 for one class

Evening Writing Group
 This 3-week class is for people at all levels who need an evening meeting time. Sign up for one or for all three.
     Mondays May 4, 11, and 18, 7 to 8:30 p.m.
     $140 for all  three classes; $50 for one class

If you need alternate times, or a different sort of class, I can work with your needs and schedule! Use the CONTACT ME form on the right to get in touch. I only need three people to start a class. Private editing and coaching is also available. 

Isaac Levitan, The First Green May, 1888


Monday, April 27, 2015

Nine Exercises, Again

My essay in The Craft (just out from Elephant Rock Books) was taken from Exercise #4 in this series.

Start at #1 and you can have a draft of a new story in nine days. It will be super messy and imperfect. But it will be real. And that's a step forward from the perfect version that exists only in your head. Try it!

Nine Exercises to Help You Draft a New Story

Nicholas Roerich, Kiss the Earth, scene design for Stravinsky's "The Rite of Spring," 1912

Friday, April 24, 2015

New Poem on Origins Web Site

basilisk woman by Xandria Pillips is up on the Origins web site.

Two Opportunities for Young Writers

One Teen Story is looking for teen authors. They used to publish eleven YA pieces by adults per year, and one by a teen. Now they've decided to devote at least four of their twelve yearly issues to work by teens.

Guernica Magazine is looking for interns. The deadline to apply is May 5.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Trey Ellis Visited My Class!

Such an honor to have the amazing Trey Ellis visit my Westport, CT class last night! He was able to speak to the students' diverse interests, since he's an accomplished essayist, novelist, memoirist, journalist, playwright, screenwriter, and speechwriter, who also teaches at the Columbia Graduate School of Film. Whew. It takes forever just to list the categories of his accomplishments. What an inspiring and energizing class.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

More on Origins

More about the Spring issue of Origins, now available from Magzter:

As I've mentioned, I'm one of the four editors of this young literary journal. Our mission is to be a platform for diverse voices, in particular for works that reflect the origins and identity of  their creators. We have some incredible stories in our second issue. Each in some way moves across borders of time, place and culture to give us a unique perspective.

The full issue costs $2.99. We still have excellent free content on our web site at I especially like "Blind Spot" by Toronto writer Tanaz Bhathena, which I had the pleasure of working on as an editor. I know the world will be seeing more from this author!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Read This: What's Happening in Literary Magazines III — Teen Fiction

Did you know there are quite a few literary magazines out there that publish writing exclusively by and for teens? Here's a good list of them, from The Company of Writers. And here are some recently published stories I like:

Mija's Mirrors from Rookie Magazine

Barren Soil from Teen Ink

The Messiah of Birds from Canvas Literary Journal


What's Happening in Literary Magazines I — Fiction

What's Happening in Literary Magazines II — Nonfiction

John Bratby, 1928-1992, Daffodil

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Origins Journal on Magzter

Origins Journal is now available from Magzter! Scroll down; it's under "New Arrivals."

Online content is here on the updated web site.

New Post on Hudson Valley Writers' Center Blog

I have a new post up on the Hudson Valley Writers' Center blog about my upcoming class, Get Unblocked.

Kuzma Petrov Vodkin, The First of May, 1919

Friday, April 17, 2015

Origins Journal T-Shirts

I'm honored to be an editor at this cool and beautiful new literary magazine, Origins. And now they have T-shirts! The new issue is due out later this month.

Save a writer. Read a lit mag.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Read This: What's Happening in Literary Magazines II — Nonfiction

A followup to this post. Just a few things I've read lately.

If you write nonfiction and you're looking for a place to publish it, check out these pieces from three excellent magazines and see what resonates with you.


The Heart as a Torn Muscle from Brevity magazine

Love Innings from Little Fiction (yes, the piece is nonfiction in spite of the magazine's name)

Submerged from Story magazine (" " ")

AND here's a list of magazines that publish very short nonfiction pieces. Originally posted in 2012, it was updated in January 2015 and all the links are live. A great resource.

Where to Publish Flash Nonfiction and Micro Essays

Send your work to magazines that publish pieces you love

Monday, April 13, 2015


Sign up for this class! This Thursday at the Ajna Center in Croton. 7 to 8:30.

Vincent Van Gogh, Basket of Spring Bulbs, 1887

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Read This: What's Happening in Literary Magazines — Fiction

Do you read literary magazines? Do you want to write for them?

The Council of Literary Magazines and Presses estimates that there are 600 actively published today; Poets & Writers lists 1,109 in its database. How do you even begin to sort through them?

I don't have a definitive answer. But here are some of the readings from two classes I'm teaching in writing for literary magazines. Most of these are incredibly short; you can read them in under ten minutes. They come from a range of interesting publications. Check them out. Maybe you'll find the home for your next piece.

Over the next two days I'll post a sampling of nonfiction and teen fiction, too.


Fat Man and Little Boy, a novel excerpt from Gone Lawn

Thursday Night Karaoke from Little Fiction

As the Token Female Member. . . from McSweeny's 

Descent from Nightmare magazine

When Joan Jumped Into the Sea, micro fiction from The Offing
Blind Spot from Origins Journal

Let's Go from PANK

The Bad Sleep from Story magazine
(longer; totally worth it)

Boy Teen, flash fiction from Tin House


Friday, April 10, 2015

Class for Teens is on for Saturday April 11

The teen writing workshop info has changed since I first posted, so I'm posting it here again. I've also updated it elsewhere on the site.

Workshop for Teens
ages 15 to 18
Saturdays: April 11, 18 and 25
12:00 to 1:30 p.m.
at the Ajna Center
75 S Riverside Ave, Croton, NY
Price: $150

We have enough folks for the course; if you want to add your name, feel free to contact me anytime before the first class!

Konstantin Yuon, The Beginning of Spring, 1935

Thursday, April 9, 2015


This class is for those who are feeling stuck, are just starting out, or are easing back into writing after a break. The point is to have fun and explore your potential.

Our first meeting has been rescheduled for Thursday April 16, 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Ajna Center, 75 S. Riverside Avenue, Croton-on-Hudson, NY. Use the CONTACT ME form on the right for more info.

Vincent Van Gogh, Basket of Sprouting Bulbs, 1887

I Have an Essay in This Book

Just out from Elephant Rock Books! The Craft: Essays on Writing from the Yale Writers' Conference Faculty with essays by Richard Selzer, John Crowley, Sybil Baker, Marc Fitten and me.