Archive | May, 2012

Hugo to the Henry: Writing with Visual Art

24 May

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.

Related content:

  1. Writing from Art
  2. Filtering
  3. The Work of Writing

Vegas, Maybe

20 May

Hoover Dam. Photo by M.

M and I went to Las Vegas last week. We spent Mother’s Day there with our fathers. (Obviously, we’ll do something motherly on Father’s Day. ) My dad goes there quite often, on business; the last time I’d been was about twenty years ago, when we combined one of his business trips with a family vacation. Then, we rode the Canyon Blaster at Circus Circus and shuffled from 112 degree heat to the cool of Caesars Palace; I thought the ladies dressed as Cleopatra were pretty neat. We hiked Red Rock Canyon at sunset and drove through Death Valley, where I thought that if we opened the car door, we’d immediately crumple or explode.

On this visit, I felt unsettled by all that excess in the middle of the desert. M and I wondered why the city had to be built so far from Lake Mead.  I found myself wondering how much longer Lake Mead has and why the casinos and hotels aren’t totally clad in solar panels. (Happily, Las Vegas City Hall is.) I spent some time hiding from hotter-than-usual-even-for-Vegas heat on a comfy chair at the Bellagio, reading Diana Abu-Jaber’s Birds of Paradise, a novel which, among other things, explores urban development in Miami in the face of climate change and worsening hurricanes. Of course, it *is* an exciting city that is “going for it,” so to speak, which is what makes it so attractive for so many people. I just wish it was “going for it” in a way that is more obviously sustainable.

Speaking of birds, my short story “Raven in a Jar” received a Special Mention in the Salem College International Literary Awards’ Reynolds Price Fiction Prize, judged by Kate Bernheimer. Yay!

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