From my very first post I wanted to pay homage to the speech which inspired the title of my blog, Ain't I a Woman? by Sojourner Truth. Such a beautiful speech, such a beautiful name, such a beautiful woman. It is one of my favorite pieces. I strive to emulate this style in my own work. Poetic and powerful. Honest and unafraid. Memorable. And I like brevity. It too is beautiful. This is the standard I wish to be held to as I explore the question with you ~ ain't I a writer?
"Obliged to you for hearing me, and I do have a few things more to say..."

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Friday, March 19, 2010

Unreliable Characters ...

     Wow. Overwhelming is the only way to describe this week. I feel like I could stay home and work hard for three years, and maybe, just maybe, I'd catch up. The kids had a short school week so that really slows me down, among other unnecessary distractions. Let's see if I can come up with any accomplishments. . .
     I was asked to write the introduction to the 2010 Jazzmouth Chapbook which I got done and am happy to report it was well received. I'll post info when it rolls off the presses, but in the meantime you should be sure to checkout http://www.jazzmouth.org/ . I critiqued one classmate's writing, but have two to go this weekend, and one of them is 20 pages long. I got started on my class reading but have much left to do. I did get sidetracked with my research for my historical novel which is really where my attention wants to be. I tweaked and performed one of my poems at Beat Nite. Very rewarding as always. I scheduled an interview for next week for my next column, and agreed to do a series of gratis articles for the local paper (which really isn't a non-profit), but my nieghborhood asked me to do this and it's about local history which really is a passion of mine. Also got a call about some other free lance work that might be coming my way but is still in negotiations, am just now getting caught up on my blogs, and made a teensy bit of progress in searching for an agent. Considering all of the problems being lobbed at me this week, I guess that list isn't so bad. Is it?
     One other thing I did was attend my library reading group. I believe that being in a reading group is an important part of a writer's work. You can't be a good writer without being a good reader, and I find that whenever I participate in a book discussion group I gain insights about the book that I would not have had on my own. This time we were discussing The Art of Racing in the Rain. I most wanted to talk about the idea of the unreliable narrator which is what really struck me about this book, because the narrator is a dog. I found the weakest part in the book to be when the author actually has the dog give a disclaimer about how he didn't see or hear any of the next few things that were going to happen (because it was a court room scene that he couldn't work the dog into) but had gleaned info about overtime. That really took much away from the story for me which was otherwise a very interesting and witty read. Dog lovers especially will like it. I hear it is being made into a movie starring Patrick Demsey. This is the book's official trailer; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zZ0CTcU0Fd0  Oddly enough, the voice doesn't sound quite right to me.
     Here's a little more on the concept of the unreliable narrator (which are usually our species) if you'd like to know more, Unreliable narrator - The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia

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Monday, March 15, 2010

Much Waiting, Not Much Working...

     Wow, that was a long hard week. Didn't get very much writing done at all, there were so many interruptions to my own work every day. I had been hoping that I could get ahead on a few things while I'm on spring break, and I think I've actually fallen farther behind. I haven't made any progress in finding an agent. Still not sure how to proceed. But the highlight of the week was the Sunday night finale ~ my stand up storytelling debut. It was a lot of fun to do, helped me finalize one of the yarns I'm gathering for my memoir, and it was a pleasure to contribute to raising money for charity. It was so well received we are all thinking about how to keep it or something like it going. It coincides nicely with the work I've been doing at our community radio station to establish a new show along the lines of NPR's StoryCorp. Similar to the black and white column I write, it will consist of the highlights of interviews with local people who might not be heard from otherwise. Here's the PR put out for last night's event. Stay tuned for more info about the impending radio show to be called Seacoast Journal. If you've never checked out the Moth here's a link; http://www.themoth.org/



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

A Winter's Tale Returns to The Red Door for Final Series Installment, "WAITING"

Last of Three "Storytelling for Grownups" Events
PORTSMOUTH, NH, March 2010 - The end of winter is in sight, and with it comes the last installment in the spoken-word series "A Winter's Tale." This series, featuring true-life tales told without notes before a live audience, debuted on the Seacoast in January and drew standing-room-only crowds to The Red Door in each previous performance. The three-part series concludes this month with stories told by a diverse gathering of local voices, all on the theme "Waiting."

The Red Door Lounge and Martini Bar, 107 State Street, provides a cozy and intimate setting for the experience. The event takes place from 7 - 9 PM, with doors opening at 6:00 for pre-show conversation and cocktails. The $5 admission fee will be donated to Seacoast Local's (H)EAT campaign, an effort to provide food and heating fuel to local residents in need. The event is co-sponsored by RiverRun Bookstore and The Wire.
Some of the Seacoast's best-known raconteurs (and some as-yet-unknown ones) have offered their talents for the event. The format is simply structured: on each night, eight people stand before the crowd, one by one, and tell a true story from their own life experience, depending only on their memories. Stories will be 5-10 minutes long. There are no prizes other than bragging rights.
Producer Michelle Moon says "Waiting is the perfect closing theme for this series. At this time of year, we're all waiting for buds to burst, seedlings to grow, a warm day to dawn. It calls to mind times in life when we've had to deal with patience and impatience, yearning and wishing, passing the time, waiting with tension or waiting with anticipation, or even waiting on other people." Producer Steve Johnson adds, "Great talent, great venue - why wait?" On Sunday night, eight speakers will each offer a unique approach to the theme. They represent a truly interesting and diverse set of local people from the worlds of music, theatre, food, literature, and more: Tammi Truax, Sharon Jones, Rick Dirck, Beth La Montagne, Genevieve Aichele, Evan Mallett, Mark Adams, and Rick Agran.
About "A Winter's Tale"
This series reinvents a tradition as old as humanity for tellers and listeners of the 21st century. It's the Seacoast's contribution to a nationwide storytelling revival sparked by The Moth, a New York City story hour begun by novelist George Dawes Green in 2001. Events inspired by The Moth are popping up across the country, wherever creative storytellers can be found.
Producers Steve Johnson and Michelle Moon, fans of The Moth and frequent participants in local cultural activities, thought that a storytelling event was a perfect fit for the Seacoast's arts scene, and a perfect fit for the quieter and more reflective months of winter.
The Red Door, an "urban lounge" where listeners can recline on comfortable couches and enjoy one-of-a-kind cocktails during the show, is enthusiastic about hosting the show. Additional partnership for the series comes from RiverRun Bookstore, a locally owned independent bookstore known for its creative event schedule and community support, and The Wire newspaper, an independent weekly newspaper resource for information about local music, arts, and culture.
(H)EAT Campaign coordinated by Seacoast Local: Seacoast Local is a not-for-profit network promoting community development in business, agriculture, arts and culture, the environment and civic life in Southern Maine and coastal New Hampshire. Its second annual (H)EAT Campaign aims to raise $40,000 in food and fuel assistance for local people in need.

http://www.seacoastlocal.org/

http://heat-eat.blogspot.com/