Public Voice Salon: in search of the Great Community – Friday, June 10th at 7.30
Many educators, myself included, have been inspired by John Dewey’s hopes to nurture the “great community” into being. I thought we might have a show dedicated to sharing our visions of what a “great community” means to us. It might, for example, connect to Robert Putnam’s work Bowling Alone, and his analysis of how a simple chat with an acquaintance–in a local cafe or on the sidewalk–adds immeasurably to our sense of happiness in where we live.
Having just seen the classic 1967 documentary, Don’t Look Back, about Bob Dylan’s tour of London in 1966, I remain startled by the remarkable images of folks simply “hanging out,” sharing songs and ideas but mostly just enjoying “being together”–an ethos of community and connectedness that helped define the 60s counter-culture; a concrete manifestation, if you will, of that era’s political dreams of a more peaceful and loving world.
For those of us who believe community matters, what educational and political strategies need to be implemented to strengthen our communities? How might the various arts–literature, poetry, painting, film, sculpture, theatre, dance—play a role in such a humanizing quest?
Please RSVP as space is limited
Light refreshments served.
For more information, contact John Bredin at firstname.lastname@example.org
Writing Workshop in Voice with Diane Simmons – June 16th , 7 pm
In this hour and a half workshop, we will first read “Girl,” a one-sentence short story by West Indian writer, Jamaica Kincaid.
I use this story because, as I learned when working on a critical book on Kincaid, it was a breakthrough for her. At the time it was written, she’d had some success as a journalist but had been unable to find her voice as a writer of fiction. Kincaid believes that this story, written in one afternoon and later appearing in the New Yorker, allowed her to begin what would be a successful career as a fiction writer. (Novels Annie John, Lucy, Autobiography of My Mother, among others.)
I like this anecdote, as I believe that finding a voice in which to write is a critical first step. Also, I believe writing in the voice of someone else, as Kincaid does here, can be quite liberating. In doing this exercise with creative writing students, I often see that they find a fluency and create a depth of character that they have not achieved in other of their works.
In the workshop, we will use Kincaid’s story as a model for writing in voice. We will discuss whose voice(s) we hear in her piece and how the changes in voice provide the plot and suspense of the story.
After considering “Girl,” we will write for thirty or so minutes in the voice of someone (not ourselves) that we know very well. The voice could belong to a parent, a partner or friend, a child, a co-worker, a person who rants on the street—anyone whose words ring in our ears. (Yes, I’ve even seen a very interesting piece translated from dog.)
We will not work to develop a “story;” rather we will allow character and concerns to develop as the person “speaks.”
Finally, those who are willing will allow their pieces to be read aloud by other members of the workshop, and we will all consider what has been achieved.
About Diane Simmons:
Diane Simmons’ short fiction collection, Little America, winner of the 2010 Ohio State University prize for fiction, will be published by the Ohio State University Press in June.
Her short story, “Yukon River,” was a runner-up for the 2010 Missouri Review Editor’s Prize. Other short fiction has appeared in numerous journals such as Beloit Fiction Review, Blood Orange Review, and Northwest Review.
Her novel, Dreams Like Thunder, won the Oregon Book Award for Fiction. Her novel, Let the Bastards Freeze in the Dark, was published by Simon and Schuster. First paragraphs and links to published stories can be found email@example.com.
In addition, she has published critical biographies on Maxine Hong Kingston and Jamaica Kincaid. Her book, Narcissism of Empire, examined popular British Imperial writing.
She holds an MA in Creative Writing and a Ph.D in English literature; she teaches writing and literature at the City University of New York Borough of Manhattan Campus.
Professional Pigs and Social Moguls Book Club – Sat. June 25th, 7 pm
It’s a club that:
Reminds you that books can be just as interactive as the internet!
Encourages you to say more than just “Hi” to a colleague, roommate, or stranger.
Makes you think outside the box.
Increases your confidence.
Transforms you to feel as if you’re just as good a public speaker as Obama (okay, well, maybe not, but pretty darn close!)
Encourages you to USE the information in the real world.
Allows you to bond with others.
Requires you to have FUN!
Book of the Month: Make Your Contacts Count: Networking Know How for Business and Career Success by Anne Baber