Inner Critic Workshop
Monday, October 22, 2018 (6:30PM – 8:00PM)
Yellow Springs Community Library
415 Xenia Avenue, Yellow Springs, Ohio
Virginia Hamilton Meeting Room
Rebecca Kuder is offering this engaging workshop that will allow people to rediscover and liberate a sense of play; unleash the creative spark; and demystify & disarm the inner critical voice that’s holding us back! Please wear comfortable clothing (always!). Please bring pen and paper.
This is NOT just for writers! This is for anyone who wants to tone down self-doubt and find more joy in life.
Creative Writing for Adults
Monday, October 29, 2018 (6:30PM – 7:30PM)
Beavercreek Community Library
3618 Dayton Xenia Rd, Beavercreek, OH 45432
Large Meeting Room
National November Novel Writing Month is right around the corner! Novelist Rebecca Kuder leads you in several creative writing exercises to help inspire your inner author. Please bring a pen and notebook.
Revision and Editing of Creative Writing
Monday, December 3, 2018 (6:30PM – 7:30PM)
Beavercreek Community Library
3618 Dayton Xenia Rd, Beavercreek, OH 45432
Large Meeting Room
Learn methods for revision and editing of creative work, and find out what steps you need to take to get published. Rebecca Kuder returns to answer your questions. Please bring a pen and notebook, though we will have some supplies on hand. Registration required. To register: https://preview.tinyurl.com/ycqwlkj9
Rebecca Kuder’s short story, “Curb Day,” was chosen for reprint in Year’s Best Weird Fiction vol. 5. Her essays and stories have appeared in Tiferet Journal, Shadows and Tall Trees, Jaded Ibis Press, Lunch Ticket, and The Rumpus. In addition to leading community workshops, Rebecca taught creative writing at Antioch University Midwest, Antioch College, and The Modern School of Design. Currently she teaches at Stivers School for the Arts in Dayton. She served on the board of the Antioch Writers’ Workshop, and lives in Yellow Springs, Ohio, with her husband, the writer Robert Freeman Wexler, and their daughter. Rebecca holds an MFA from Antioch University Los Angeles, is a recipient of an individual excellence award from the Ohio Arts Council, and blogs at www.rebeccakuder.com.
(trade paperback, weird.)
Exciting news—Year’s Best Weird Fiction, vol. 5 (in which you can find my story, “Curb Day”) is available for pre-order. This is the final installment of YBWF from Undertow. (You will not want to miss it, because soon, you’ll really miss it.)
I’m exceedingly grateful to Robert Shearman and Michael Kelly for their support of my work, and for curating this anthology of endearing weirdness.
Please support this wonderful small press!
You can order the hardcover here, or the trade paperback here.
Or from Amazon.
(hardback, also weird.)
I’m keeping a list of books that seem helpful as I raise a child and guide her through puberty. I thought it would be helpful to share them here.
BOOKS for children
BOOKS for adults
I’ve been thinking about the hippocampus lately. I did a web search and found Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s tesimony. I’m pasting it below.
“Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter,” Ford says, her voice cracking. “The uproarious laughter between the two. They’re having fun at my expense.”
“You’ve never forgotten them laughing at you,” Leahy says.
“They were laughing with each other,” Ford replies.
“And you were the object of the laughter?” Leahy asks.
“I was underneath one of them, while the two laughed,” Ford says.
In an essay I wrote about my childhood sexual abuse, as I shaped and shaped the narrative, it became clear that most of the piece should be told in the present tense. I did this to replicate how trauma works in the memory.
The brain stem, the so-called lizard brain—the part of the brain that registers trauma—has no sense of time. The lizard-brain is the part that keeps us alive, eliciting a fight, flight, or freeze response. Because of the lack of time involved with the lizard brain, when long-ago trauma is triggered, it is remembered outside of time. The sensation is as if it is happening now.
Dr. Ford was questioned 36 years after she claims to have been assaulted by Brett Kavanaugh, but on September 27, 2018, when questioned, she says, “They’re having fun at my expense.”
A grammatical slip. But also true.
Because that’s how it feels.
From Page 131:
“You may feel uncomfortable with the word
Perhaps is sounds dominant, overbearing, ‘authoritarian.’ You may need to work on the problem of self-deprecation,
Especially when it comes to noticing the world around you
And what you’re able to say about it.
You may be used to denying your perceptions and dismissing your awareness.
You may be caught in a constant state of demurral
Or have the habit of belittling yourself.
Watch for the chronic language of self-disparagement,
The moments when you say, ‘My problem is…’
Or ‘It doesn’t matter what I think.’
If you say these kinds of things, you probably say them out of habit, almost unconsciously.
This is a product of your education too, at home and at school.
Pay attention to it.
Recognize how harmful it is.
Its message—subliminal and overt—is that your perceptions are worthless.
Do everything you can to subvert this habit.”
Lake Michigan, July 2018
I’m so grateful that Antioch University asked me what the Ohio Arts Council grant means to me. You can read the interview here.
Laite Memorial Beach, Camden, ME, August 2018
Each week, I email the week’s writing goals to my friend Diane. I’m grateful for this practice, because it helps me focus. (Thank you, Diane!) Today I wrote the following, which I thought I’d post here. I’m reframing a couple of things that have been getting in my way as I work on the memoir about my childhood house, 318.
Goals for this week:
1. Remind myself that I’m doing this for me, not for the publisher whose contest I plan to enter in January. The thought of pleasing someone else has become a huge, anxiety-producing barrier (someone I don’t know, someone who may want something very different from what doing, whose wants I cannot anticipate, etc.), so I am reframing thusly: I am doing this for myself. I need to please myself. It’s not an assignment someone else gave me.
2. I keep repeating “I’m lost” in the writing process. When I talk to people, I say, “I’m lost.” It is how I feel, but saying it again and again seems to be self-fulfilling. It doesn’t feel good to say “I’m lost.” I’m tired of saying I’m lost. It’s not a good kind of lost, like when you’re walking around Venice and you have no idea where you are, but you’re on vacation and there’s a gelato place so you get some melon gelato, let’s say, and it’s so delicious, and you walk a little bit more and you end up somewhere you recognize. This writing-a-memoir-lost is NOT like Venice lost. This lost feels kinda bad. So I realized this morning (as I did the morning pages from The Artist’s Way) that maybe I’m not lost, maybe I’m just OPEN. I have never been much of an outliner in my writing—it’s always been messy and organic. In that way, I’ve always been open. So maybe instead of “lost” I will start saying “open.” Being open feels much better than being lost. Being lost describes a struggle. I want to alleviate the struggle, the powerlessness.
Being open feels much calmer.
I am doing this for myself.
I am open.
This book. So beautiful. A delectable collision of intelligent prose with the viscera. So visceral, and so smart—the sentences hold an intelligence beyond any I can think of, even, in a way, beyond Didion’s. But the sentences aren’t overly smart in a told-you-so kinda way. They’re smart in a way that has faith, more faith than most sentences have, in the reader. The book, the story, is so dark and so light. It’s a gift, really.
Black Wave was my first encounter with the work of Michelle Tea, and I can’t wait to read more of her work. For now, all I can do is urge you to read Black Wave—knowing that it’s written for adults, and has a lot of very specific, intense detail about sex and drugs—and today I offer this passage.
Michelle Tea, Black Wave, p. 151:
“Where did your own story end and other people’s begin? Michelle wrestled with this question. After her first book came out she’d been invited to give some lectures and teach some workshops, and always the people who came were females, females who wanted to tell their stories. Their stories being female stories, there was a lot of hurt inside them—abuse, betrayals, injustices, feelings. They were all worries about getting in trouble for writing the truth. They didn’t want people to be mad at them. It’s Your Story, Michelle would insist.
She wanted to free them all, all the girl writers. Girls needed to tell the truth about what the fuck was going on in this world. It was bad. It was brave of the girls to let themselves stay so raw, though Michelle worried that some of them had had to conjure personality disorders in order to cope. Sometimes the girls were too much even for her, Michelle wondered if she could handle another piece of writing about sexual abuse or sex work. But it seemed that this was to be her job upon the earth. If you don’t tell your story, who will? It was important. Our stories are important.”
Read the whole book and you’ll understand its uplift.
I am putting this here so you all can read it, and so I can remember it, because it’s wise and true:
Connie Schultz, giving the keynote speech for this year’s Antioch Writers’ Workshop, said:
“The first one who needs to believe you are a writer is you. Writing is a head game.”
sculpture garden, Ogunquit Museum of Art (Maine)
Please spread the word! It’s going to be fun!