Midweek Notes from a Practicing Writer


What an amazing weekend I had.

RedEarthMFALast spring at the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) conference in Minneapolis, I found myself at dinner with a group that included Jeanetta Mish, the director of the Red Earth MFA program in creative writing, which is a low-residency program based at Oklahoma City University. And then I found myself invited to visit the program and teach in the winter 2016 residency.

Which has just ended.

The class I led on Saturday afternoon is a staple that I’ve offered for MFA programs and writing conferences and centers many times in the past. “Writing What We Know: For Love and for Money” is essentially a mini-course on freelance writing within the specialty of “writing about writing,” whether that may mean assignments with writing-related publications and websites, or author interviews, book reviews, and other writing-focused content for a variety of venues.

I think that the class went well, but you’ll probably have to ask the students about that for confirmation. What I’m certain of is that the director has developed a simply wonderful program and community. If you’re considering low-residency MFA programs, do consider this one! (more…)

Midweek Notes from a Practicing Writer

Class Notes

DraftingIt’s hard to believe that this semester’s “Jewish Sources, Literary Narrative” writing workshop is almost over. By the time I write next week’s update, instructor Amy Gottlieb will have convened our celebratory final session. (There will be food! There will be wine! There will be shared work—including, if I can manage it, one yet-to-be-completed draft of a new poem by yours truly, inspired by the Book of Psalms.)

As I’ve mentioned before, this was the second iteration of the course for me. It is such a wonderful class, and I hope that Amy will offer it yet again.

I’m revising some of the work I’ve written in response to the texts and prompts that Amy has shared with us these past couple of months. And some of it—yes!—I’ve already begun sending out.

My public thanks to Amy and my classmates for a great experience. (more…)

Midweek Notes from a Practicing Writer

Amy K.A Rainy Evening’s Reading

Not even heavy rain kept the crowd from filling the event space at the Barnes & Noble on Manhattan’s Upper West Side last Thursday evening. Everyone had come for Amy Koppelman‘s reading from her latest novel, Hesitation Wounds.

Here’s Amy listening to the very first question from the audience–(her husband happened to be the one who posed the question). Also present for the occasion: one of Amy’s early writing teachers, Michael Cunningham, who by her account, sounds as though he is the epitome of a generous writing mentor.

And it definitely looks as though there’s more than one writer in the family: Amy posted a link yesterday to this lovely essay by her teenaged daughter. Go take a read. Especially if you ever felt friendless/alone as an adolescent. (Spoiler alert: It’s really a happy essay! And poetry plays a part!) (more…)

Midweek Notes from a Practicing Writer

FullSizeRender-23My First BinderCon

This weekend saw me attending the BinderCon conference here in New York for the first time. For those of you not yet familiar with BinderCon, it describes itself as “a conference and community for women and gender non‑conforming writers.” I was there wearing a couple of hats–I’m a woman writer who has been part of the BinderCon community online for a couple of years, but I also went to the conference as a representative from Fig Tree Books, the publishing company that I work for.

There’s good news for those who weren’t able to attend: Sessions were recorded and, co-organizer Leigh Stein assured me when we chatted briefly during a Happy Hour, will be made available online.

Meantime, here are a few highlight nuggets I can share with you: (more…)