If a group of fish is called a school.
And a group of lions a pride.
And a group of crows a murder.
What do you call a group of amateur writers who meets once a month in the Carl-Schurz-Haus library?
The answer to this question and many more can be found on Tuesday, 13 June at 7:00 p.m. in the Carl-Schurz-Haus library. Please join us.
Some adventures are so small, you hardly know they’ve happened. Like the adventure of sharpening your pencil to a perfect point, just before it breaks and that little bit gets stuck in the sharpener. That, I think we will all agree, is a very small adventure. Other adventures are so big and last so long, you might forget they are adventures at all–like growing up.
–Anne Michaels, The Adventures of Miss Peititfour
I hate writing advice. Writing is so big, art is so big, that advice of any kind about it, how to go about doing it, is necessarily reductive and usually leads to the making of a very specific and small kind of art for a very specific and small kind of person.
That being said: A teacher did say something to me once that has stuck with me for many years. It is advice. It is also reductive. But it fits in nicely with other bits of often heard/repeated writing advice, and it has also served me well.
So, at our next meeting on Tuesday, 09 May at 19:00 in the Carl-Schurz-Haus library, let’s talk about, among other things, the following:
Pay attention to the small things, and the big things will take care of themselves.
We met last night (11 April 2017) from 19:00 until about 20:45, got to know several new people (welcome to those people! we hope to see you again!), and played that game where one person finds a strange word in the dictionary and everyone else attempts to define it in such a way that others would vote for it as the actual definition of the word. Fool that I am– No, because we meet in the library of which I am in charge and I like to keep the library clean, I threw away all the paper we used last night and therefore cannot share with you the wonderfully creative definitions everyone came up with. I do remember there was at least one four-headed, truth cat involved. And several prehistoric birds. And the fact that people who grew up in America have trouble reading the handwriting of people who grew up in Germany and vice-versa. And the point was that, when writing, one must always consider one’s audience (a definition should maybe sound like a definition) and then make decisions (but we were playing a game, not writing a dictionary, and so humor was always an option, as was surrealism, etc. (it is all about the effect you want to create as a writer)).
Please don’t forget that tonight is Erika Liest, and that regular member Kelly will be reading!
Our next meeting will be on 09 May. Same time. Same place. I look forward to seeing you there!
These posts are getting kind of repetitive, aren’t they? We should talk about whether we want to use the blog for some purpose other than reminders about meetings. We should also talk about if we would like to take part in the “Print it, baby!” portion of next year’s Illu festival.
So let’s meet on 14 March at the regular time in the regular place, do a little writing, and have those conversations!
In the meantime, I’ve been thinking a lot about this quote as a philosophy for writing:
But don’t speak of gardens. Don’t speak of the moon. Don’t speak of roses or the sea. Speak of what you know. Speak of the thing that rings in the marrow, that plays in your eyes with shadow and light. Speak of the endless ache in your bones. Speak of vertigo. Speak of respiration and of desolation and of your treason. It’s so dark, so silent, this process that grips me. Just speak of the silence.
-Alejandra Pizarnik, from ‘Extracting the Stone of Madness’
This is a reminder that our next meeting will be on Tuesday, 14 February at 19:00 in the CSH Library. We’ll spend some time writing and talking about what we came up with. Then we might look at a short story or poem together!
(We might also, considering the date, talk about the concept of Hallmark Holidays.)
Feel free, as always, to bring anything you’d like to discuss. Or snacks.
Please don’t forget our meeting tomorrow, November 15, at 7:00 p.m. in, as usual, the Carl-Schurz-Haus Library! We look forward to seeing you there!
We might, among other things, discuss this big list of where to submit in November: http://entropymag.org/where-to-submit-october-november-2016/