Recently, a gardening-savvy friend got me excited about what will crop up in our yard as the weather warms – lilacs, cherries, and plums, oh my! I just have to get through these last cold, muddy weeks. Luckily, I’ve got three readings on the horizon that will sneak me right into spring, all at the loverly Richard Hugo House:
- Tuesday, February 5, 8 pm – The Castalia Reading Series - This is the monthly reading series for the UW MFA program, and I get to read as an alum for the first time. I’m reading alongside fellow alum & poet Rachel Welty and students Derek Robbins, Jay Yencich, and Kristine Greive.
- Friday, February 15, 7:30 pm – Made at Hugo House Midyear Reading - As a part of the Made at Hugo House Fellowship, the fellows (Bill Carty, Irene Keliher, Eric McMillan, Katharine Ogle, Elissa Washuta, and me) will be sharing new work produced in the first half of the program.
- Thursday, March 21, 7:00 pm – Cheap Beer & Prose - I’m reading alongside Nicole Hardy, Corinne Manning, and Kristen Young as a part of the series’ annual ladies’ night. Wee!
Addendum: At the Pine Box, Monday, February 11, 7:30 pm - Pacifica Launch Party - The literary magazine I help edit is launching its first issue! Lisa Nicholas-Ristcher, Maggie MK Hess, Sarah Kathyrn Moore, Leena Joshi, Joannie Stangeland, and Jake Uitti will be reading, and the book, designed by Ryan Diaz, is beeeeautiful.
I’m honored to have my story “The Zoo” included as one of four stories in Washington City Paper’s D.C.-themed fiction issue . Here’s how the story begins:
That’s what my brother calls it. The quarantined room at the end of the hall. It has two sets of windows: one looking into an air lock, where two white bunny suits hang on the wall, then another looking into the room kept pristine for the most fragile.
I’m gearing up to teach Hugo at the Henry: Writing with Visual Art again this winter, bringing Hugo House students to the Henry Art Gallery to look at art and write. I taught a version of the class over the summer, and the Henry put together a beautiful e-booklet of writing produced by students then, now available right here. I’m so proud of the work they created in that short time, and so thankful to Rachael Faust and Jayme Yen at the Henry for making this e-booklet possible.
This winter, the Henry’s special exhibits include Now Here is Also Nowhere, which explores ephemeral and intangible concepts like love, death, memory, and imagination, Pipilotti Rist’s immersive projection A la belle étoile, and En plein air, which explores how landscape painting influenced early photography. We’ll also have a chance to request work from the permanent collection not currently on display. It’s going to be a fabulous quarter!
Here’s the run down on the class:
Hugo at the Henry: Writing with Visual Art
Meets Thursdays, 6-8 pm, at the Henry Art Gallery
January 31-March 7, 2013
To register: http://hugohouse.org/class/hugo-henry-writing-visual-art-0
- Hugo at the Henry: Writing with Visual Art
- Favorite Tips on the Writing Life
Sunday night, I had the pleasure of reading a short story that takes place in Pike Place Market right in Pike Place Market, at the Can Can. The event, a literary cabaret produced by Sailor St. Claire, was called The Naked Bunch, and its theme played off of William S. Burroughs Naked Lunch, asking: what’s your fix? So I read a short story called “Sugar,” the first story I’ve set in Seattle since moving here that I actually like. What I really loved about the event was how eclectic and yet cohesive it was – fiction, poetry, strip tease, and music all coming at that what’s-your-fix question from differently kinky angles. The night before that was also a treat. I read another new story called “The Zoo” at the Long Talking Bad Conditions Blues reading series hosted by Zachary Watterson at Liberty Bar. Zachary named the series after a novel by Ron Sukenick that is comprised of one extraordinarily long sentence, which lends a certain urgency to the series that I really like. That’s two nights of readings with wonderful, talented writers – not to mention burlesque dancers and musicians! I feel really lucky.
There’s another reason I’m feeling really lucky these days. I’ve been awarded a Made at Hugo House Fellowship! This new fellowship provides funding, space, and resources to four to six writers age 35 and younger in King County. During my fellowship, I’ll be completing my short story collection “More Like Home Than Home,” which explores themes of migration, place, and home in settings like Bucharest, New York, and Seattle, and several places in between. So there was something extra sweet about reading “Sugar,” a story set in Seattle that I’m finally happy about after three years of living here, at such a great venue like The Can Can. Hooray!
Reading at The Can Can. Photo by Kristen Young.
I needed a high-res photo for the fellowship webpage, so I asked my friend Sayed Alamy at GuyEatsOctopus to take a few shots. He did a super job!
Photo by Sayed Alamy.
October in Seattle will be brimming with literary events. Between Arts Crush, City Arts Fest and a whole slew of other goodies, I’ll be glad I went back to drinking coffee and taking my multivitamins! Here are a few events I’m involved with, one way or another:
- Wed. Oct. 3, 6-7 pm. The Furnace Reading Series Presents “The Last Night at Manuela’s” .What happens when a stage play is adapted for radio? That’s what Buffy Aakaash has done with his award-winning play, which is set in Mexico on the Day of the Dead. Come watch it live as it’s broadcast on Hollow Earth Radio! We’ll have hot chocolate on hand (just sayin’). This is a free and featured Arts Crush event made possible with support from the Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs. Hosted by Corinne Manning. (Nb: I kicked off this free quarterly series in August and now help to coordinate it.) Facebook Twitter
- Sun. Oct. 6, 6-7 pm. Sunset Reading on the Melrose Promenade. An evening of poetry and sunset-gazing featuring the fabulously talented poets Brian McGuigan, Elizabeth Cooperman, and Katherine Ogle, plus one of the best views in Seattle. One of a string of events promoting the Melrose Promenade project, which is working toward making Melrose Avenue Seattle’s next great open space.
- Sat. Oct. 27, 1-5 pm. Found Stories at Richard Hugo House. I’m teaching a one-day class using found objects as generative material for new fiction. Fun! And then, right afterwards…
- Sat. Oct. 27, 6 pm. Long Talking Bad Conditions Blues reading series at Liberty Bar in Capitol Hill. I’m thrilled to be reading with Eugene Cross, Jane Wong, Katherine DeBlassie, Matthew Nienow, and Suzanne Morrison. Hosted by Zachary Watterson.
Then of course, there’s the marathon Seattle Lit Crawl on Thursday, October 18, meandering from First Hill to Capitol Hill from 5 to 10 pm at which many of my talented writer friends will be reading.
Whew! I think in November I might need a nap.
I’m looking forward to teaching Found Stories, a one-day class at Hugo House this October 27 aimed at generating new fiction using found objects. There will be some very essential and very fun pre-class homework: I’m asking students to bring in objects that they find – post-it notes, mittens, music boxes – anything that will be helpful in generating stories, which, really, could be anything. I’ll be bringing in a few of my own artifacts, and until class, I’m also keeping an eye out for goodies left on sidewalks, yard sales, and the like. But I’m really curious about what else people will bring. What stories catch your eye when you see something left behind – discarded or forgotten?
In the meantime, here’s a great story Andrei Codrescu told on NPR today about two items he found while moving: a box of chocolates wrapped in miniature covers of one of his poetry books and a bag of petrified pretzels. And here’s a bit about Joseph Cornell, an artist I’ve been slowly reading up on who used found objects in his dreamy work .
Kicking off The Furnace Reading Series last week was wonderful. The space was cozy and the crowd friendly, and I’m looking forward to coming back in October to help out with Buffy Aakaash’s radio play, “The Last Night at Manuela’s”. In the meantime, check out audio and video from my reading on Seattle poet Greg Bem’s website , a very lovely review of the event over at City Arts, and Morgan’s Martini Hour, the gracious on-air host of The Furnace.
In other collaborative-art-project news, I’m participating in Art & Words, a show curated by Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam down in Fort Worth, Texas on October 6. Eleven writers and eleven visual artists are exchanging work and creating forty-four collaborative pieces. I’m excited about the new piece I wrote for it, and I can’t wait to see what gets created based on my short-short “A Meal”. Bonnie’s got a Kickstarter going to help make the event extra special. Prizes include discounted art, a commissioned jazz composition, or haikus, dactyls, limericks, or pieces of flash fiction written just for you!
Tonight we’re launching The Furnace, and I’m very excited to be reading my story “More Like Home Than Home”. Corinne asked me a question about that story over on The Furnace’s blog, giving a little taste for the evening’s festivities, and over at Hollow Earth Radio’s blog there’s a nice round up of all the write ups we’ve gotten thus far. And here’s the Facebook invite. Hooray! Hope to see you tonight!
I’m thrilled to kick off a new quarterly reading series in Seattle called The Furnace and hosted by Corinne Manning. The series features one new prose writer at a time, and its mission is “to encourage innovative storytelling and a vibrant literary community.” I like to think of it as literary biodiversity.
The reading is Wednesday, August 1, 6-7 pm at Hollow Earth Radio’s performance space in the Central District. You should come!
Check out the series’s Facebook page and “like” it: http://www.facebook.com/thefurnaceseattle
I’m delighted to be offering a six-week creative writing class through the Hugo House and the Henry Art Gallery this summer. Here’s the course description:
Meeting at the Henry Art Gallery at the University of Washington, this class will use visual art as a springboard for writing. We’ll mine a range of media (photographs, paintings, sculpture, textiles, etc.) to unearth new prose projects or add depth and breadth to works in progress. To help with the creative percolation, we’ll read short published works that have been inspired by visual art. Exercises, readings, and discussions will cover process, character, story, landscape (internal and external), and style. Students will be able to workshop one short-short story or essay. Optional text: Looking Together: Writers on Art, ed. Rebecca Brown and Mary Jane Knecht (Frye Art Museum & University of Washington Press). Co-Presented with the Henry Art Gallery.
The class will meet Thursday evenings, 5-7 pm, from July 12-August 16, and we’re going to have a fabulous time looking at art and writing!
You can register online, by phone (206-322-7030), or in person at Hugo House.
- Writing from Art
- The Work of Writing