Portals Writers Conference

art, Christianity, editing, teaching, writing

Have some free time on June 20-23? Join me in Salem for the Portals Writers Conference. I’m teaching workshops in poetry and creative nonfiction, giving a reading, and playing some disc golf. #Portals13

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“Tell me a story that’ll make me feel…”

art, teaching, writing

I’m teaching a creative nonfiction workshop at the 2013 Faith and Culture Writers Conference at Multnomah University in Portland, Oregon (April 5 and 6). Here’s the official blurb:

One of the biggest mistakes creative nonfiction writers can make is assuming that readers will be emotionally moved by an event purely because it factually happened. Readers, however, demand a compelling story, even in nonfiction, and nonfiction writers who wish to engage and move their audience will focus on creating novelistic settings and characters rather than simply stating facts. In this breakout session, writers will discover new strategies to make their writing come alive in the hearts and minds of readers.

It’s not to late to register, and it’s ridiculously cheap as far as these sorts of conferences go. http://faithandculturewriters.com/register/

Writing about the Grand Canyon

editing, writing

I’ve been working on a piece about the Grand Canyon that I’m hoping to finish by year’s end. Here’s an excerpt.

We walk to the rim after breakfast. A handful of us, me the only kid, gather in morning sunlight that takes its sweet time slanting through the juniper branches. The appointed pastor never comes, so a retired minister on vacation takes charge. I sit on the flattest rock I can find, but I constantly shift my skinny body. I draw in the dirt with a small stick. I bow my head and close my eyes when asked and say amen.

I open my eyes and watch the sun flick a switch, turning on the lights inside rocks that used to rest on the bottom of an ocean.

I have to cut this section, probably. We’ll see.

What It Was Like: Bible Class Sex-Ed

Christianity, teaching

My Bible teacher is cool. At least I think he is—I’m not the coolest kid in middle school, so my judgment might be suspect. But I’m not the nerdiest, either, and if I compare Mr. Scott with the rest of my teachers, he comes out near the top. He likes to stand in front of his desk and lean back against it, legs crossed and locked, and smooth his thin tie over and over, pulling it flat and taut against the stomach of his short-sleeved shirt. His shoes have pointed toes, and the thinnest laces I have ever seen…

Continued at Magical Teaching