Friday, February 28, 2014

Reading Towards Submission

...for writers!...

I was going to change the title of this writing, but it's too good to let go. It could be about something totally different. I could be plugging the newest version of "50 Shades of fill-in-the-blank" or starting a dialogue about something else - but I'm not.

 I would like to start a conversation about the process of reading publications, for writers, with the intent of determining if the maga/zine is appropriate for a specific story or article. The pros, articles, books, submission guidelines always say to read the publication before you submit. I "get it" and I agree. And I'll be honest: it isn't easy for me.

I mean, the reading is easy. The determination if my work will fit, has a chance of being selected, is difficult. It's relatively easy for me to read a publication and recognize that my work won't fit. The style of writing may be vastly different from mine, the content may differ from their description (or my interpretation of their description is probably more accurate than faulting their description), or there may be other flags where I feel that my writing or a particular piece would not be chosen. Or I may read some pieces and decide I don't want to be included in this publication; again the actuality of the writing may differ from the description or there's, well, a not so hidden slant. Or something.

But it is not so easy for me to know if my work is a fit. I could be mistakenly basing this on prior rejections; I know that every publication - or most of them - get many more submissions than they can publish. Sometimes I think my work would be a fit - maybe - probably.

What do you look for when you're reading publications with the intent of determining suitability of your writing to the maga/zine? One example which comes to mind is from a few years ago: a writing friend and I were discussing submission options and she noted that one publication under consideration seemed to not have any profanity in any of the pieces; the piece I was looking to place did have (shock) profanity. Or if a publication is sci-fi, I won't submit a slice of life piece.

Some obvious things come to mind: length of writing, dialogue, poetry versus prose or first person versus third person, hit-me-over-the-head moral or draw-your-own-conclusion, etc.

What do you look for in a publication in which you want to be published?

What are your red flags of either "yes, pick me!" or "hell no, you're not getting my work" or "they'd boot me out of the park;" how do you know? Or how do you guess?

Do you target your writing to publications? Or do you target publications for a particular work?

What are your criteria? And how do you know?

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

VONA/Voices Workshop application deadline extended

This looks like an amazing lineup. And they received a grant which is allowing them to offer more scholarships - which is why they are extending the deadline.

The VONA/Voices Workshop (writing workshops for writers of color) application deadline for the summer workshop at the University of California Berkeley, June 22-28, 2014, has been extended to March 15th, because we have received a grant from the Surdna Foundation, allowing us to offer 50 one-half tuition scholarships.

After 15 years of successful workshops, we have expanded our offerings. Look at our many available workshops!

Apply these workshops by going to this link.

Fiction: Junot Diaz, M. Evelina Galang
Poetry: Willie Perdomo, Patricia Smith
Memoir: Staceyann Chin, Andrew X Pham
Travel Writing: Faith Adiele
Political Content: Elmaz Abinader
LGBTQ Narrative: Randall Kenan
Graphic Novel: Mat Johnson
Speculative Fiction: Tananarive Due
Popular Fiction--Romance, Mystery; Urban Fantasy:Marjorie Liu
Residency: David Mura, Chris Abani

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Contact Improv

I was looking for a new contact improvisation video for the sidebar and came across this film. It is by Tina Speth and was submitted for the contact improvisation festival in Freiberg in May 2013. It will appear in the sidebar for awhile, but I wanted to give it more attention with its own post. Lovely. Contact improvisation in everyday life.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Performance and Writing

I didn't make it to Burnt Tongue 7 on Saturday.

The sign through for Bo-Nita went well, but I'd woken up with the beginnings of a sore throat and low energy. After signing through the play, we did feedback and had a discussion with the Deaf sign coach. When we were done, it was really close to the start of the event. I knew I needed to go home and take Wellness. Which I am still doing. I believe the illness which was attempting to sneak in has been kept at bay. Although I am still doing the traditional "drink plenty of fluids and rest" routine so it doesn't make its way in, as I've been around others who had symptoms beyond an achy throat. I don't want to get sick before Thursday.

I don't want to get sick at all. But especially not for Thursday.

I'm disappointed, but I know that I can't always do everything I want to do. I will check the date for the next Burnt Tongue can hopefully make it to that one. Although, if I'm remembering correctly, I saw the date somewhere and it is on a day I will be out of town. I will get to a Burnt Tongue reading; soon, I hope.

In other news, my Tuesday writing partner is going to have to miss a couple of weeks. This will be my personal dedication of keeping the same time and date while she is gone. I will. I will be there with my laptop and writing. And now that I've made it a public announcement, that very nearly guarantees it!

I've been having some creative bursts, which . More in thought than action, but that's good, too. I'm making notes and filing them. The timing is right, because my next play is in late April. I do have a couple of performance interpreting gigs in March (a poetry recitation competition and the Sign Mudra Indian dance performance with Jayanthi Raman) - but those events are different in terms of my brain space and writing than interpreting a play. The poetry and the dance performance still take time and preparation, but the creative process and focus is different than for a play.

I'm also excited about a couple of theater projects I've been asked to help with, or consult on, or something. Obviously the details are still being worked out and with one, very little is known at this point. But I am also feeling good about the performance related opportunities in my life right now.

"Is You Writing?" Lester asked.
Theater is one of my creative outlets. One of these projects does involve writing and creating. It will involve working with the Deaf Community and with theater. Perfect! No more details are available to share at this point. But it is exciting and I hope it will come together. We are still in the initial meeting to work out details phase - but I will keep you posted when it comes to be an actual event, ready for public announcement.

So, here I am. At my Tuesday writing place, with my decaf, fritatta, and GF bagel - writing. Tuesday post written? Check. Now onto working on the radio script. And maybe a flash fiction piece if I get bogged down in editing the script.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Now the Snow is Gone and Burnt Tongue 7

The recent winter weather incident slowed everything down, except my need to work on a script and the arrival of an unexpected yet very welcome house guest for a few days (a friend stranded between destinations due to canceled flights) In the couple of days since the weather warmed and the white ground cover became gray, then brown, then was gone, I've been catching up on what couldn't be done with the weather and cancellations. 

I did write 2400 words of an essay/rant on Tuesday and that felt really good. I wasn't in the mood to work on the radio script nor the M-book nor a short story in the works. So I went with where my energy seemed to be - which was this rant. About writing. And, no, you don't get to read it, yet.

This Saturday there is a reading I'm planning to attend, "Burnt Tongue 7." I have my sign through and feedback midday Saturday (I'm interpreting the play next week) - and one of my incentives to working on this play so hard the last couple of weeks is this event. If it goes well at the sign through, then I won't have to see the play again that night and can go listen to writers read their work. It looks pretty amazing!

Burnt Tongue is a quarterly literary event, created to honor the incredible writing teacher and literary patriarch, Tom Spanbauer, who founded Dangerous Writers. 
Burnt Tongue's goal is to allow space for former and current Dangerous Writers with all levels of public reading experience to come together and share their work with the likes of you! 
Not EVERYONE has to have been a student of Tom's, and we frequently have guest readers.  
We ask for a $5 gift donation at the door, which goes into a scholarship for struggling writers to take classes and workshops. 
The next event takes place Feb 15th, 2014 at 5-8pm at Crush Bar, 1400 SE Morrison in Portland, OR. 
What you can expect:
The readers will start with 5 minutes apiece at 5:00pm. Expect a fifteen minute intermission to start somewhere close to 6:00, with the second half starting no later than 6:30. The show will be over no later than 8:00, and many of the authors will be available to stick around and mingle.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Transformations in Oil and Wax with Serena Barton


Transformations in Oil and Wax

February 15 and 16, 2014 1-5 PM each day
Tuition: 200.00 for both days. Supplies included.

Cold wax mixes with oil paint and/or powdered pigment to produce a gorgeous paint surface with a subtle sheen. Unlike with hot wax, you need no appliances to achieve maximum waxy goodness. You can add and scrape off layers as you choose, so no need to be concerned about mistakes! In this two day workshop you'll play around with free and bold abstract work and also with graphic still lifes. You'll work on several pieces at once, using tools such as squeegees, bamboo skewers, rubber jar openers, combs, and more. In addition to painting, we'll explore incising, using paint sticks, painting knives, oil pastels, and adding collage elements. Join me in exploring this unusual and interactive medium. You'll leave with several gorgeous pieces!

Register at Serena's website and feel free to email Serena with any questions.

Praxis by Rooze

My Tuesday writing partner, Rooze, wrote a great piece about writing practice. It follows along with some things I've written about being a "real writer" and the idea of "daily writing" and more.

I'll let you read her words for yourself. It's worth the click!

"Praxis: Don't Break the Chain"