Naropa’s Small Press & Journal Fair

Tonight Naropa hosted From Writer to Read: An Evening with the Players in Publishing . To start there was a Small Press & Journal Fair. A good many small presses set up tables to hand out submission information and sell copies: ¢ Bombay Gin (now accepting submissions) ¢ Farfalla, McMillan & Parrish ¢ ADR ¢ Square One ¢ Hot Whiskey Press ¢ Dirty ¢ Pinstripe Fedora There was a panel discussion with Laird Hunt, Melissa Grella (literary agent with Kneerim and Williams), Arsen Kashkashian (head book buyer at Boulder Bookstore), and Brandy Vickers (manager from Houghton Mifflin). During the discussion Brandy Vickers was introduced as getting her start as a bookbuyer for Josephbeth Booksellers. So afterward I waited among the crowd introduce myself and talk with her about Kentucky. Josephbeth Booksellers is a Lexington based independent bookstore (even though the flyer says based in Cincinnati, Ohio  that is only where the offices are located, the original and largest bookstore is located in Lexington). I’m no good at these literary events when it comes to […]

A Weekend with The Jack Kerouac School

Saturday night I went to a Writing & Poetics Faculty reading. Reed Bye, Bhanu Kapil, and Jack Collom read. Wild stuff. Afterwards I was kind of left slack-jawed and wide-eyed. Not necessarily an unpleasant feeling. Reed Bye read some of his poems. Listening to them was like watching clouds float by, there was shape but only occasionally would a form sort of magically appear. Aha! I see a giraffe! There’s cowboy riding a turtle! I was looking forward to hearing Bhanu Kapil because she is a prose writer (this is definately a poets school). She read the Foreward and Afterward from a piece about a hitchhiker, which really struck a chord with me because my story Field Mouse is also about a hitchhiker. There were alot of similarities, except that her story did not include a mouse and her hitchhiker was a young woman and an immigrant. Jack Collom was funny, really funny. Mash potatoes, gravy, ornithological splitters and lumpers, splitters and lumpers of all kinds, strange equations in an esoteric short hand, side notes […]

I don’t expect anyone to understand

Yesterday I attended Naropa’s Intercultural Fair  which included several tables set up representing the diverse (mostly international) cultures at Naropa. The finale was a drum/singing/dance performance by an Ogalala Sioux family which ended just as the rain began. When the singer finished his song (based on an arabic melody he heard in Iraq while serving in the Army) we hurriedly carried in the tables and chairs.

Most people left then. But there was an impromptu gathering in the basement of the admin building (Goldfarb Studio) which included a moving speech by the Student Life Diversity Coordinator, a bilingual poem about racial names/categories, a couple of songs, and a group discussion. The tone of the event was drastically changed and became much more charged, more real.

Afterwards I approached a staff person, the Diversity Affairs Student Advocate, offering to volunteer my time to help open El Centro de la Gente (Naropa’s diversity center). El Centro de la Gente is currently closed and the door is locked. Only twice have I seen it open and then […]

Zacatecas

On Monday I rode the bus to south Boulder to meet with my ESL student. We practiced reading comprehension and reading for context. He told me that he is from Zacatecas, Mexico. Zacatecas is a the central state in Mexico. He boasted that the facades on some of the buildings are so beautiful that they belong to humanity. What a wonderful way to define beauty: that which belongs to humanity. He also told me that most of the immigrants in Boulder are from Zacatecas, Mexico. Tonight I tested the theory by asking my other ESL class. Yes, they are all from Zacatecas. What is the Zacatecas connection with Boulder?

Stories with Intention: Peace

Yesterday I went to the Peace Tent for the workshop: Building Bridges Across Borders with Story  with storyteller Susan Kaplan who in addition to being a storyteller is also a social worker. She started by telling a story from the perspective of an Isreali jew, a young woman who had become friends with Palestinians and subsequently chosen not to join the Army. Then the participants had a chance to tell a story of their own, one where we had been able to see what Susan Kaplan calls the third side of peace. She gave out several handouts, including five pages of resources on using sorytelling to teach about peace. She briefly talked about the difference between telling stories for entertainment and telling stories with intention. This difference between stories for entertainment and stories with intention is important to me. I want to understand exactly what the difference is or how the difference influences the story. It relates directly to my Concerning the Spiritual in Art  class. In The Man Without Content Giorgia Agamben […]

Peace Tent

How cool is this: Peace Tent at the Boulder Public Library. Thu, Sept. 15 – Sat, Sept. 17 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Sun, Sept. 18 11 a.m.-4 p.m. The Peace Tent is a transient sacred space going up outside the Boulder Public Library. It is a space for peacemakers to gather, for community growth and creative expression. All events are FREE.

Giving back what ain’t mine

The other day in class, Donald Preziosi made the statement that we are born into a world not of our own making, a world that essentially is not ours. That makes sense. I was born in a hospital that was built by people long before I was conceived. There are roads and telephone lines and farms and factories, supporting my existence, that were made by other people before I even got here. Donald went on to say that among those artifacts made by other people is the language that we use. Think about it: our language (syntax, grammar, vocabulary, all of it) is a pre-existing artifact just like the houses we grew up in. Think about it < --- and you're soaking in it. When we think about it we are thinking in the very language that we were given. My language, my words are not my own. Just like that hospital I was born in on Februrary 8, 1972 is not my own. Just like the houses, apartments, motel rooms, and trailors I grew [...]

Word Yoga

Today I came across the zoetrope bio of writer Kris Broughton where he gives some advice. What caught my attention was: GLUE YOUR BEHIND TO YOUR CHAIR EVERYDAY. Your ass will spread. The faster you write, the less your ass will grow. Write a few words. Reread your stuff. Write a few more words. Reread your stuff. Visualize Pulitzer. Reread your stuff. Write a few more words. In one of the class handouts called Discipline and Inspiration , Keith Abbott writes: Minimal practice for Writers: When I used a typerwriter, I called it typewriter yoga. That was where I sat in front of the machine for X number of minutes. Nothing could happen. That was agreed on. That was okay. It bred discipline in me, because I got bored with doing nothing and soon would be writing. Badly or not, it didn’t matter.  This is what I need to hear. And it is what I want to develop in myself. Writing, everyday, writing. I started today. For thirty minutes I sat in front of […]

POV Love: it’s in the details

Almost two weeks ago I read my monologue in class and Keith Abbott made the comment, You’ll have to learn how to be more selective about details. What would the narrator keep coming back to?  We didn’t have class last week because of Labor Day, so I emailed him and asked to meet. I’d heard similar comments about my writing but I didn’t understand what it meant or what to do about it. This week he sent me some notes on Point of View which we’ll be talking about next class. He said POV is what I needed to learn because the words of the story and perceptions and order of perceptions are those of your POV.  I read through the 12 pages he sent me. It was great. Other people had made the comment too many details  or the details aren’t relevant to the story . But Keith broke it down in a way I can understand, or atleast begin to understand what I need to learn. As he puts it […]

actual writing…rewriting

I got some writing done today, well rewriting but that’s just as good. The quote by Rilke inspired me: Works of art are always the product of a risk one has run, of an experience taken to its extreme limit, to the point where man can no longer go on.  I’ve been working on my story Field Mouse  and have several comments (gleened from zoetrope) which have had me stumped. I didn’t agree with many of the suggestions. I thought readers were missing the point because of their own prejudices. Several people suggested I change parts of the story and characters, but these changes would, I believed, fundamentally change what I wanted to say with the story. But I was stuck. I didn’t know where to go with the story but I knew it wasn’t doing what I wanted it to do. So I decided to rewrite making the suggested changes, just to see what I came up with. Even if I decide not to keep the changes, atleast I could see it […]