What Change Looks Like

img_4102

It has been an unusually busy fall, enough to keep me from my twice-monthly posting. But I suspect your inbox has been as full of political email these past months as mine, which has made logging in even more overwhelming than usual.

May this message offer you a brief respite from all of that, bringing you literary news and perhaps a twinkle of inspiration.

Since we were last in touch, I’m delighted to share that Thread has:

More important to me than the numbers is what I’m seeing in the variety of submissions. I was determined to publish a diversity of voices across gender, age, perspective and geography. Contributors to Thread, Stitch and the live readings write from as nearby as Chicago to as far away as Switzerland and Spain and their experiences were formed in the United States, Great Britain, South Africa and Hawaii.

I’ve been teaching “Writing for Personal Discovery” workshops in my home since January and thrilled that the work of six students – John Hahm, Ellen Hainen, Marie Davidson, Nina Kavin, Brad Rosen, Michael Rabiger – made it into Thread, Stitch or a live lit reading this year. While it isn’t everyone’s goal to write for publication, I am committed to publishing emerging writers who are seeking just that.

Next winter and spring, I’ll be trying something different by offering shorter-length workshops  – one day and four-week sessions – for busy people who would like to give this personal narrative thing a try. I’m also teaching a morning workshop on Friday, December 16th titled “So That Your Values Live On: Writing Your Ethical Will” at Beth Emet The Free Synagogue. Check the Workshops page of my website for more about my winter and spring workshop schedule.

Finally, I promised to keep you updated on my inhale year. I’ll provide you with a complete report in my next post, but until then, let me say that the experiment in not writing has had some very surprising writerly results.

I leave you with a quote I found in a wonderful book I’m reading called The Artist’s Torah by David Ebenbach. He reminds us that creation is the result of destruction. Change is hard. Scary. Our tendency is to keep what we know, because even our current scary is a known one. But he reminds us that,

As artists we are asked to the truth we see, without and within. It asks us to be willing to grow – to destroy what we’ve been so that we can be something new.

What better example of this than in autumn’s own natural art exhibit?

Could next year be your year to start – or return to, writing?  Private coaching can make this happen. Gift certificates make a very thoughtful – and unique – holiday gift.

 

In Search of Yarn, Stitched with Color

 IMG_0934

 

“Your absence has gone through me like thread through a needle. Everything I do is stitched with its color.” W.S. Merwin

 

The spindle of June has turned, allowing me to catch up on Thread submissions, update the site and rev up for my new publishing project within a publishing project, Stitch.

Stitch celebrates the short-form essay, otherwise known as flash non-fiction. It’s a magnificent mix of personal narrative and poetry; a challenging hybrid to write, but oh so satisfying to read. I’m choosing the 100-words-or-less variety and today, July 1st, I’m opening up the site for submissions, hoping to publish at least one new piece each month.

How do we define flash nonfiction? Because it’s art, there’s very little agreement. But I offer two articulate attempts:

In the introduction to The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Writing Flash Nonfiction, (2012), editor and essayist Dinty Moore writes that flash nonfiction is “individual, intimate, exploratory, and carefully crafted using metaphor, sensory language, and precise detail.”

Essayist Bernard Cooper writes that short nonfiction requires “an alertness to detail, a quickening of the senses, a focusing of the literary lens … until one has magnified some small aspect of what it means to be human.”

I especially love Cooper’s line about being human. This idea is central to my essay sensibility. Thread explores the moments that expose and connect us and what it means to be human.

I was over the moon when Thread was reviewed recently and the writer noted this, saying that the pieces “describe every day events kissed by a haunting sense of larger meaning.” Yes! That’s exactly what Thread is going for.

So have a sensational summer, but don’t stray too far. I’ll be keeping you posted in my blog (you can subscribe for free here) and on Facebook and Twitter.

Photo by Ellen Blum Barish. Copyright 2016.