I am once again in the throes of planning Literati. The good news is that this year we have a more established presence and a local buzz. We also have some money, thanks to two grants from the Rotary Club and Alameda Towne Centre/Harsch Investments. Much appreciated, and thank you! Julia appreciates this very much, as she has often heretofore had to provide from her own coffers, and ouch, ka-ching!…so grants are welcome, any day of the year.

I have made some postings online and offers from authors to speak and present topics are rolling in. If you’re waiting to hear from me, please be patient. I don’t want to say yes to anyone just yet — so many voices to winnow through. Need to balance the day, make sure there are enough of this genre and that topic, etc. I’ll get through the offers and have a reasonable lineup by the end of the month, I think.

We still have lots of other bits and pieces, though, that need to be seen to — where are my volunteers? (E-mail me, please.)


In other news, um, teenagers, wow. What can I say? They’re being 100 percent teens all the time. Good for them. Me? Not so good for me — my nerves, sense of humor and inner peace are taking a beating, but what’s life without a few challenges, a few knocks? But — is it so wrong to expect a little eye contact now and then? A thank-you, once in a while, perhaps? Something more than a grunt or an audible rolling of the eyes? Apparently I am full of such false hopes. I shall stiffen my spine and harden my resolve, and keep smiling. They won’t be teenagers forever. It just feels that way.

Remember the agent I mentioned who loved my work and was drooling over it, insisted upon seeing it? And then dead silence? Guess what? I still haven’t heard back. So much for the alleged wonderfulness of my manuscript. (NB: it is wonderful, just hasn’t found the right hands/eyes yet.)

As for the creative writing class I’m teaching, it’s going fabulously. Really enjoying teaching this time around. I liked the journalism classes I taught a few years ago, really liked them a lot. But this one I’m in love with. I think, for the rest of the class (through mid-October) I will be posting the assignments here so A) my students can check in and see what to do if they forgot, and B) you can play along at home if you like.

Week 1 assignment:

  • Write for 15 minutes on any topic, anything. Don’t stop (the “non-stop pen” method).
  • Write a goal for the class — what you hope to accomplish with your writing, what you really want. Be specific and don’t whine — write what you really want.
  • Read Wallace Stevens’ Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird. Write a poem or short prose piece that also examines a commonplace object in several different ways: for example, Five Ways of Looking at a Peanut Butter Sandwich, Seven Ways of Looking at a Basketball, etc.

Week 2 assignment:

  • Read William Carlos Williams’ poem, This Is Just to Say . Write a poem or short prose piece that is an apology for something about which you are not (even remotely) sorry.
  • Write about food, cooking, eating, hunger, in an evocative way: scents, sounds, tastes, sensual, textures, colors, flavors, techniques, what does food mean, what are you hungry for?
  • Help, there was one more piece and I can’t recall what it was. I think it was the 15 minutes again. Why didn’t I write it down?

Advice to Aspiring Writers: Take notes.

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