Place Called Home: A Writing Workshop

When: Saturday, December 8, 2012

Time: 9:30 AM – 12:30 PM

Where: Source, 1835 14th Street, NW, Washington, DC (located near the U Street Metro)

Cost: $49

Register here.

The post-revolutionary Iran of Marjane Satrapi’s memoir, Persepolis, the Harlem jazz clubs of Langston Hughes’ poetry, and Sandra Cisneros’ house on Mango Street exemplify how “place” can evolve as a character in non-fiction, poetry, or fiction. Through vivid descriptions of place–and the people in them– readers can become explorers, discovering new worlds and customs.

Learn how to capture readers’ imaginations and stimulate their curiosity with authentic descriptions of place in this creative non-fiction writing workshop. Through guided writing exercises, you will explore the spaces that you call “home,” and practice techniques that will add depth to your memoir, fiction, and poetry.

From your hometown to the adopted city that you love, from the little town you discovered on vacation to your mother’s homeland, there are many spots that you might claim as your home. Home is a place, a memory, a feeling. In this workshop, you will travel to the spaces you know best and discover just what it is that makes a place special.

This workshop is open to writers of all levels and backgrounds. Never taken a workshop before? Join us.

Register for the workshop here.

About Willona

The workshop will be led by Willona M. Sloan, who is a writer and editor from a lovely suburban community in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area.  She has written about D.C. arts and culture for several magazines, including Northern VirginiaDC, and The University of Virginia magazine. She received a 2013 Artist Fellowship award from the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities.

Willona wrote about her hometown, Reston, for the  Washington Postand she compiled the popular ebook Come to Our Show: Punk Show Flyers from D.C. to Down Under to showcase flyers from D.C., the city she now calls home.

Write.Drink.Read: A Writer’s Happy Hour on Oct. 16

Hello literary folks — It’s time to celebrate the words that we create at another Write.Drink.Read. writing happy hour!

Join us for drinks, snacks and writing prompts on Tues., Oct. 16, from 6:30-8 PM at Science Club (1136 19th St, NW, Washington, DC). We will be writing new work, laughing and having a good time.

Please pass this on to anyone who would be interested. And as always, RSVPs are required because space is limited.To RSVP, email Willona at creativegeniusdc@gmail.com.

Can’t make it this time but you want to hear about the next event? Send me an email!

(Writing Workshop) Literary Mixtape: Remix the Classics

Literary Mixtape: Remix the Classics

Date: Tuesday, June 19, 2012 at 5:30 pm through 7:00 pm

Instructor:Willona Sloan

Location: National Portrait Gallery Kogod Courtyard (800 F NW)

You know how DJs do it: take a classic hit, sample it, mix it, and update it for a new audience. Writers can make remixes too. In this workshop, you will create new writing by putting your spin on a classic literary work. Each participant will receive a poem or a short story that you can rearrange, rewrite, re-verse. Sample the lines you like, reimagine the setting, reframe the story, recast the characters. Remix it!

No experience is necessary. Just come with an open mind and a writing instrument or computer.

Registeration is free. Go to Knowledge Commons DC to register here.

(Writing Workshop) Literary Mixtape: Remix the Classics

When: Tue., Jun. 19, 2012 at 5:30 pm through 7:00 pm

Location: National Portrait Gallery Kogod Courtyard (800 F NW)

You know how DJs do it: take a classic hit, sample it, mix it, and update it for a new audience. Writers can make remixes too. In this workshop, you will create new writing by putting your spin on a classic literary work. Each participant will receive a poem or a short story that you can rearrange, rewrite, re-verse. Sample the lines you like, reimagine the setting, reframe the story, recast the characters. Remix it!

No experience is necessary. Just come with an open mind and a writing instrument or computer.

This is a Knowledge Commons course, get more info here.

Don’t Miss Poet Ruth Forman Reading @ MLK Library on Monday, 2/13

A couple of years ago, I participated in the VONA Writers Workshop for writers of color, where the talented and graceful poet Ruth Forman was a faculty member. I had the amazing experience of hearing Forman read her work.

Last year, I saw her read again at the Hedgebrook reception during the AWP conference. She drew the audience in with her soothing voice, and created a palpable energy that filled the room.

Now it’s your turn to experience the magic! Don’t miss Ruth Forman reading at MLK Library on Monday, 2/13 from 6:30-8 PM. Get more info, here.

(Poem) A Titian Twilight

Purple twilight sky looks painterly like a Titian
with soft broad strokes
deep lavender, streamed with ribbons of white, hints of gold
and a light that radiates from just below the surface.
A gentle streak of fire curls the edges of the clouds
From the window of the Metro train
The sky beckons, reflects me, plays tricks with my eyes  
Purple with grief with passion with peace, a mixture of swirling emotions
The sky hovers, expands over the heroes’ cemetery

Congratulations to Tayari Jones for NEA Grant

Tayari Jones has been awarded a 2012 Literature Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.  This is great news. I saw Jones speak at Politics and Prose this summer as she read from her novel, Silver Sparrow. She struck me as an elegant, intelligent, beautiful, sunny, insightful woman. And, she’s an amazing author.

I took Silver Sparrow with me on my summer writing retreat in Athens, GA. I spent a week working on my novel day and night. And I read her book when I needed a break. Her fleshy characters felt so real to me that I read the book slowly, savoring it, hoping it wouldn’t end. I felt like I was taking a craft class with her that week for just the low cost of one incredible book.

I wish her the best as she works on her fouth novel. I am sure it will be worth waiting for.

Your First Novel May Not Be Your First Novel

Wow.  I really appreciate this blog post from local writer, Leslie Pietrzyk. I read her blog, Work-in-Progress, which offers great advice and writing tips on a daily basis. She posted this short piece to the VCU blog about her experience of publishing her “first novel.” As I sit my first novel aside to write my second first novel, I found her story very comforting.

“It all depends on what one means by the word “first.” My first official novel is Pears on a Willow Tree, published by Avon Books. It started as a short story–not a novel–and it wasn’t a novel for a long time but a family of mothers and daughters about whom I kept having questions I needed answered. The way to answer those questions was to write another story about them. Eventually, I saw that I had a novel. At about this point, an agent read one of the chapters in a literary journal and called me: Did I have a novel I could send her? Yes, it so happened that I did. After some revising, she sold the book in the first batch of submissions to editors. Yay! That sounds easy, doesn’t it?” 

But, as it turns out, Pears on a Willow Tree may have been the first novel she published but it was actually the fourth first novel Pietrzyk had written! Read the essay here.

Around Town: DC Writers Celebrity Home Tours

Looking for something different to do with your visiting relatives? Try this walking tour of DC Writers’ Homes. The tour includes homes of famous writers such as Paul Laurence Dunbar, Frederick Douglass, Katherine Anne Porter, Zora Neale Hurston, and Sinclair Lewis, as well as some forgotten local literarians. Organized by authors Kim Roberts and Dan Vera, the tour includes dozens of homes. Check out the list to search for your favorites here.