Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Saturday, December 28, 2013


I've been working on the M- book for a few years. Which is the way of some books, I hear; some take longer to write than others. The truth is that this book didn't start as a book and I was against writing a memoir. I thought it was silly for someone who wasn't famous or hadn't done anything of significance to write a memoir. There had to be a reason to write the book and a bigger reason for someone to be willing to read the book.

I didn't qualify.

Then I started reading memoirs. I met memoirists who were young, who were "ordinary" in that they weren't famous. They had stories to tell and told them well and people listened and read them. And I listened - to my writing mentors and other authors and to myself. The stories started coming and I started writing them down. Sometimes the stories didn't come easily and sometimes they were rough and not ready for others to read. But, over time, the stories started coming together and I accepted that there was, just maybe, a memoir in all of those words.

I discovered that I was writing a memoir. Or an M-book as I call it. I'm not sure why I still balk at "memoir" but I do. I pull back from more writing; I get blocked; there are still gaps in the overall story; I write new pieces; I think I have something important to say and then I think I'm full of shit; I find a new angle or a significant new piece of information; I wonder if I'm writing it just for me or if anyone will be interested. Right now I'm hovering on the line of this book being for my personal healing/self-expression and that there is something in it worth sharing with others. I sometimes think the goal is just to write it and then see what to do with it. I have considered turning it into a novel.

In November I finished a very rough draft of a novel and I like it - NaNoWriMo Novel #6. It obviously needs much revision and rewriting and some parts need a lot of work. But it's worth working on and I want to do that.

For the past couple of months I've been writing poetry, as well. I took an online poetry writing workshop/"playshop" with Daphne Gottlieb and that sparked more poetry. And the poetry sparked some prose. Which sparked some poetry. And so it goes.

I've also been wanting to write a script. I spend time with theater and scripts and I've had ideas popping into my head about writing my own script. I've written a few short skits and have thought, off and on, about writing a full length play; or at least a one-act play.

I met with one of my writing friends on Friday and we talked about writing. Along with other things, but we spent a lot of time talking about writing. He suggested I write a script - a radio script. I think I will. It has a timeline. Yes, a short script will be one of my writing projects.

That same friend, several years ago, was the person who introduced me to idea of having three writing projects in process at a time. The topic came up again today and I realized that a script is the missing writing piece.

Recently I've had several writing project ideas and I'm taking notes. I won't run out of things to write for a while. It feels good to have my creativity flowing.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Sign Mudras - Two Free Performances

I will send reminders and updates as the performances approach; consider this a "save the date" notice.

Jayanthi Raman is working on a project combining East Indian dance, traditional Indian mythology, modern mythology, and American Sign Language. There will be two free performances in March 2014. The space is limited and Jayanthi Raman Dance Company performances are always well attended so you will want to plan on arriving early to get a seat.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

"Toby's Christmas Miracle"

This is a cute short film by Sven Bonnichsen from 2009. I've watched it every year since he frist posted it and it still makes me smile.

Merry Christmas Eve!



Saturday, December 21, 2013

Happy Winter Solstice

Friday night we had a nice writing group. A couple of people shared their writing and we gave feedback. We talked and caught up a bit (it's been a couple of weeks since our last meeting). And I did get some writing done.

Thank you, Friday night writers!

Today, Saturday 12/21/13, is the Winter Solstice. There are many videos across the Internet, and here is one example:

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Moe Bowstern at Back Fence PDX

Moe Bowstern is teaching a class in the Literary Kitchen in a few months. I am planning to sign up for the class if it looks possible. The class starts at a busy performance interpreting time, but that hasn't stopped me from writing in the past.

So I thought I'd find a video of Moe performing to share. For the joy of watching her and as inspiration and reminder to myself of why I want to take the class from her.

I was happy to discover this video from 2011 of her storytelling at Back Fence PDX. (If you didn't see my posts from last week and the week before, I was at Back Fence PDX's 5.5 Anniversary storytelling event at The Armory. It was awesome.)

Without any more words from me, here is Moe Bowstern in 2011, at Back Fence PDX.

Moe Bowstern at Back Fence PDX from Back Fence PDX on Vimeo.

Back Fence PDX is a live storytelling series in Portland, OR.
Filmed live at the Mission Theater.May 26, 2011
Theme: Hot As Shit or Misfit?
For more information on our live show, visit backfencepdx.com.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

December 14 is Monkey Day

While looking up a different topic I was planning to write about, I came across a heading that December 14th is Monkey Day. Distracted from the other topic, which I will save for another day, I decided to find a video about monkeys writing. Which led to this idea and that idea and then I remembered the snow monkeys in one of the movies by Godfrey Reggio with music by Philip Glass.

If you've followed my blog for very long, you will know that I am a big fan of Philip Glass. 

I started looking for the snow monkeys and couldn't remember which movie they were in. But it didn't matter. I found the video below, with meditative music, and snow monkeys in a hot spring in Japan.

It would have been clever to find monkeys writing, but I didn't find any videos I liked. And I do like this video. It is calming. Today I needed calming. So I thought I'd share the snow monkeys on monkey day.


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

"This" - poem and photograph


Breath water air
salt sea salt

Humans cannot reproduce this vision
even a photograph doesn't capture
the intense light through water soaked clouds
reflections ricochet on molecules
above and below and surround
waves running over each other to reach
the sand birds approach and retreat
sky darkens light breaks through.
Beginnings and endings.

cold and wet.


poem and photo by Dot Hearn 
Twin Rocks, November 2013

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Creative NonFiction? Yes, Please


A friend and I have had discussions about the term "creative nonfiction." He asserts that all nonfiction is fiction and all fiction is nonfiction. He doesn't like the term, "creative nonfiction." That's his opinion and he's sticking to it - and I say that with a smile. It is one where we disagree, though I also wondered about it for a while, as well. It isn't that I disagree with my friend in terms of nonfiction and fiction overlapping, but I believe there is a place for this term. And I'm sticking to my opinion.

But as I'm returning to the M-book, I'm finding - again - that I love this term. Especially right now, when I need to write an important scene in the book but I am coming up blank.

Let me back up.  I will start with : What is "creative nonfiction?"

There are many books written on this subject - what it is, how to write it, books of it. There are pages and pages of websites. Many colleges offer creative nonfiction courses and their own interpretation of that label. Here is one example from UVM Tutor Tips:
Creative nonfiction merges the boundaries between literary art (fiction, poetry) and research nonfiction (statistical, fact-filled, run of the mill journalism). It is writing composed of the real, or of facts, that employs the same literary devices as fiction such as setting, voice/tone, character development, etc. This makes if [sic]different (more “creative”) than standard nonfiction writing.
Here is a another definition from Creative Nonfiction Magazine:
The words “creative” and “nonfiction” describe the form. The word “creative” refers to the use of literary craft, the techniques fiction writers, playwrights, and poets employ to present nonfiction—factually accurate prose about real people and events—in a compelling, vivid, dramatic manner. The goal is to make nonfiction stories read like fiction so that your readers are as enthralled by fact as they are by fantasy.
These two definitions are not really in contrast with each other, but they do have a different tone. And that, I
say, is one of the beauties of "creative nonfiction." "Creative nonfiction" can encompass a more straightforward travelogue and a personal travel memoir and an experiential poem.

And it gives some flexibility to fill in the blanks.

Like right now.

I don't remember this particular first date. I should, I know; but I don't. And that missing piece is one thing which comes up repeatedly in feedback on the M-book, comments asking where the scene is showing the first date. To help show the progression of the relationship.

But. I. Don't. Remember.

So that part will be a piece of creative nonfiction. A memoir generally does fall into the category of creative nonfiction, in my opinion, and some would say that some memoirists hide behind that label rather than telling the truth. Or that stories are deliberately slanted or exaggerated to cover up or twist the truth. For me, such as with the "first date" scene, if it stays in the book, it means I had to take what I know to be truth without a doubt, put it together with other examples of similar incidents and try to capture the sense of that first date with what might have been, within the context of the time and what is known.

It means I have to go to my body to remember what it was like and build the story from what I know to be true. Creative fiction and nonfiction put together to make a whole story.

Is it true? Yes. Is it fiction? Yes. Is it based on actual facts and experiences? Yes. Is it a good story? That is what I'm working to make true.

For this scene, I have to begin with a freewrite. Which will be followed with revision and rewrite. And, perhaps, in the freewrite, the memory will be triggered so that the percentage of facts is higher than the percentage of fiction by the time I get to the rewrites.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Continuing the Practice of Writing

One benefit of NaNoWriMo is strengthening my writing practice. Some years it is almost like starting over; sometimes, like this year, it is increasing the frequency and making a writing habit stronger.

So that is what I'm doing. And other things are already creeping in, other commitments, projects. But I am determined to not lose my writing practice, while being fair to other things requiring my attention. So I will need to proceed at a different pace.

I do have my Tuesday morning writing meeting tomorrow morning. And I have my Friday night writing group. In between I will divide writing time between editing (completing the M-book first, I guess; then one of the novels; submissions; writing new material). And I still have another two weeks in the online poetry workshop, which I am enjoying. I considered signing up for the next round in the Literary Kitchen, but with my upcoming show schedule in early 2014, I don't think it would be a good idea. Maybe the next one!

This week the Theatrical Interpreting Preparation Series workshop starts again and that will continue until March 2014. I am also preparing to interpret "Twist Your Dickens" at PCS on Thursday, December 12th. I am also interpreting the Back Fence PDX Anniversary Storytelling event on Monday, December 9th.

I still like the story of the novel I wrote and I am excited to have that project to return to, later. After it rests. That is a good sign.

In the meantime, editing, revising, and looking for appropriate places to submit several stories which need homes. I need to spend some time on Duotrope and at Poets & Writers.