Tag Archives: writing

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

When the news was announced that Jacqueline Woodson was awarded the MacArthur Genius grant, I had just finished reading her gorgeous memoir in verse, Brown Girl Dreaming. I had recently seen her in conversation with another writer I admire, and so I could hear her voice and image the writer as I read the memoir. I can’t wait to read more of Woodson’s work.

Brown Girl Dreaming is a beautiful and generous glimpse into a young writer’s emergence, where family and sense of place both act as characters in the story. I hope you will read it. Two poems that really stood out to me:

On p. 80:

miss bell and the marchers

They look like regular people
visiting our neighbor Miss Bell,
foil-covered dishes held out in front of them
as they arrive
some in pairs,
some alone,
some just little kids
holding their mothers’ hands.

If you didn’t know, you’d think it was just
an evening gathering. Maybe church people
heading into Miss Bell’s house to talk
about God. But when Miss Bell pulls her blinds
closed, the people fill their dinner places with food,
their glasses with sweet tea and gather
to talk about marching.

And even though Miss Bell works for a white lady
who said I will fire you in a minute if I ever see you
on that line!
Miss Bell knows that marching isn’t the only thing
she can do,
knows that people fighting need full bellies to think
and safe places to gather.
She knows the white lady isn’t the only one
who’s watching, listening, waiting,
to end this fight. So she keeps the marchers’
glasses filled, adds more corn bread
and potato salad to their places,
stands in the kitchen ready to slice
lemon pound cake into generous pieces.

And in the morning, just before she pulls
her uniform from the closet, she prays,
God, please give me and those people marching
another day.

Amen.

And this beautifully embodied gift on p. 217:

writing #1

It’s easier to make up stories
than it is to write them down. When I speak,
the words come pouring out of me. The story
wakes up and walks all over the room. Sits in a chair,
crosses one leg over the other, says,
Let me introduce myself. Then just starts going on and on.
But as I bend over my composition notebook,
only my name
comes quickly. Each letter, neatly printed
between the pale blue lines. Then white
space and air and me wondering, How do I
spell introduce?
Trying again and again
until there is nothing but pink
bits of eraser and a hole now
where a story should be.

Last free workshop of 2018!

boats on water

Camden, Maine, summer 2018

Dear readers,
Please join me on December 3 for Fun with revision and editing! There are still plenty of spaces, so register now!
Details below.
Love,
Rebecca
**
Revision and Editing for Writers

Monday, December 3, 2018 (6:30PM – 7:30PM)

Beavercreek Community Library
3618 Dayton Xenia Rd, Beavercreek, OH 45432
Large Meeting Room

Description

Do you have a novel or short story in the works? Learn how to revise and edit your work of fiction in preparation for publication.

Click HERE to register!

Several free workshops: Come play!

tree roots at the edge of the river
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

About Rebecca

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.

 

from Several Short Sentences About Writing, by Verlyn Klinkenborg

several short sentences about writing--book cover

 

 

From Page 131:

“You may feel uncomfortable with the word

‘authority.’

Perhaps is sounds dominant, overbearing, ‘authoritarian.’ You may need to work on the problem of self-deprecation,

Self-distrust,

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.”

 

 

Interview posted on Antioch University website

photo of RK at Lake Michigan

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.

Today’s writing headlines

photo of desk

Where I worked today. (Head cup by Beth Holyoke)

MORNING HEADLINES

NONFICTION:

I finished typing up the Bewildering Whatever-it-is begun at Omega with Nick Flynn (and mentioned here). I don’t know what it is or will be. I keep thinking of it as a coil of DNA for a memoir. It’s about 13,000 words. There will be more words as I uncoil and discover itself.

FICTION:

Last night, I dreamt an agent said there’s a lack of confident storytelling in my novel. (When I woke, and did today’s letter to the inner critic, I asked the critic what she does while I sleep.) I don’t think it’s true that there’s a lack of confident storytelling in my novel. Laughed it off.

Within a few hours, I got a kind rejection from an agent who has some very big name clients. (Another agent at her agency, whom I had approached to represent me, had been complimentary about the novel, and on her own initiative, forwarded the manuscript to this big-name agent thinking it might be more her style.) The big-name agent got back to me quickly, and was also complimentary about the novel, said, “It’s full of mystery and atmosphere, poetry, even.” But said she doesn’t think she could sell it. I understand it’s a business. I’m grateful for the kind words about my writing. I trust someday I will find an agent or press who will say YES, and take a risk on my work.

May it be sooner than later.

Onward!

Yoga, Somatics, and Creative Play: A Path to Authenticity (Nov. 18, Antioch Wellness Center)

wellnessworkshopimage

On November 18, Amy Chavez, Melissa Tinker and I will be leading a new workshop at Antioch College Wellness Center! I have a feeling it’s going to fill quickly. Please see below for details, and a little inspiration…

WHAT:

Yoga, Somatics, and Creative Play: A Path to Authenticity 

Our lives reside in our memories, bodies, and bones. Using yoga, Restoryative Somatics (TM), expressive writing and drawing, and the therapeutic whirlpool, we will harvest our inner narratives, becoming authors to our own stories. We’ll support each other in releasing what is no longer relevant or was never true. Please wear clothes for yoga and bring a light snack and a swimsuit.
WHEN:
Saturday, November 18, 1-6 PM
WHERE:
Antioch College Wellness Center, Yellow Springs, Ohio
(You will be prompted to create an account or log into MindBody.)
p.s. Here’s a little inspiration from the power that is Climbing Poetree.

Register NOW for Writer’s Play Time!

IMG_0232

WRITER’S PLAY TIME

Rediscover and liberate your sense of play! Unleash your creative spark! Demystify and disarm the inner critical voice that’s holding you back! Nourish any creative process. Inspired by the work of Lynda Barry (Artist and author of WHAT IT IS and SYLLABUS) we will write and draw and move. Please wear comfortable clothing. Must be 13 years or older.

WHERE: Yellow Springs Library

WHEN: Sunday, September 10, 2017 from 2-4  PM

Register now!

Use your hands.

img_0214.jpg

I just found a great piece of advice (with an exercise!) from Lynda Barry on the Omega website.

“I’m worried about our relationship to our hands, and the kind of intuition they make possible. One of the things I love to do is help people find ways to reestablish that relationship. People long for creative activity without realizing it really is right at their fingertips.” –Lynda Barry

 

Visit this link to find more, and do the exercise.

 

Mark your calendars: (Free!) Writer’s Play Time in September

IMG_20170626_143428083

(Photo: Venice, Italy, June 2017. Activity: anywhere, anytime.)

I’m thrilled to offer WRITER’S PLAY TIME, a FREE (!) WORKSHOP AT YELLOW SPRINGS LIBRARY, Sunday, September 10, 2017. In other words:

Rediscover and liberate your sense of play! Unleash your creative spark! Demystify and disarm the inner critical voice that’s holding you back! Nourish any creative process. Inspired by the work of Lynda Barry (Artist and author of WHAT IT IS and SYLLABUS) we will write and draw and move. Please wear comfortable clothing. 13 yrs and older.

Limited space—Registration opens on August 20. For more information, please visit the library event page.