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/

Have a great summer. Stay sweet.

art, reading, teaching, writing

This last week I’ve been working on a three-part series based on yearbook memories from elementary school and junior high. What I’ve found interesting about the process is this:

Yearbooks are a kind of clear fiction we willingly pretend is true.

We all want our yearbooks to be signed—by everyone, by just the right person, by the cool kids—yet we know that what will be written in our yearbooks is, in large part, untrue.

We know this because we write those same untruths in other yearbooks.

There is a cliché we can deploy for every circumstance and level of friendship or enmity, and these are the same clichés we solicit for the pages of our own yearbooks—the same clichés we read and reread over the months and years that follow. (Hopefully not the decades that follow, however. We tend to reserve that timescale of cliché for Facebook posts.)

How many questions have I begged so far? Memory, fiction, truth, suspension of belief and disbelief. Write on.