Editors Seek “the Necessary”

The Underrated Magic of “Telling” In Creative Nonfiction

by Meghan Modafferi

Surely you’ve heard the common refrain, “show, don’t tell.” And it’s good advice, I’ll admit, as most of us are awfully used to the telling, and could use some practice with the showing. But in my view, the real magic comes when we sneak the two together like teenagers under the bleachers, interlaced so imperceptibly that even the most persnickety writing teacher couldn’t parse them entirely.

Because if you look closely enough, there are metaphors in the real world. If you observe, for example, that Riker’s Island is the largest jail on the continent yet it’s missing from most New York City maps, that’s an observation, yes. The empty space on the map is something you could show me. But it tells me something, too. There’s symbolic meaning embedded in the geography, in the cartography, of this place. And while perhaps you shouldn’t tell me exactly what to think about it, surely you are telling me something through the carefully selected details you chose to surface. It’s a tell about you, in other words.

We can never represent every detail, after all. So, we show a snapshot of reality — and we show, inadvertently or not, a glimpse into ourselves. And what a gift that is — to be allowed for a moment to see through your eyes.

So please: tell me. Tell me a little about what it feels like back there, behind those eyes, looking at the same thing as me, while inevitably looking at something different. Tell me what it brings up for you. Show me not only the scene in front of us, but the scene from ten years ago when you were there with your dad, who’s since passed away. Tell me the history of this place, and let me in on the questions you’re still mulling over despite weeks of research.

Creative nonfiction, and perhaps all writing to some extent, is about this: generosity with what we choose to show, and tell, about ourselves.


Meghan Modafferi is a writer and multimedia storyteller whose work has been published by National Geographic, Slate, and the NPR affi liate WUNC. She has taught writing and podcasting courses at Georgetown University.


Learn From Sarah: In difficult times, writing about ordinary things that delight us can be a radical act of care. Inspired by poet Ross Gay’s The Book of Delights, this class will focus on creative nonfiction writing, grounded in careful observation of the world and its little pleasures. We will explore several examples of the form with special attention to the balance between darkness and light, showing and telling. Participants will be guided through prompts to support the development of their own original work. Register here.

Trees as Muse

by Irene Honeycutt

Needing to feel grounded, I sit outside, an acorn in my hand. A slight breeze brushes my face. I loosen my grip on the acorn; and it feels lighter, as if it might mysteriously dissolve and flow into my veins.

Does this acorn hold within its DNA the tiny thing the size of a hazelnut that Julian of Norwich held in her palm? Julian writes that she “looked at this with the eye of my soul and thought:  ‘What can this be?’” Such a small thing! Denise Levertov would later address Julian in one of her dialogues:  “…you ask us to turn our gaze/inside out, and see a little thing,/the size of a hazelnut,/and believe it is our world?” And in her “Notes on Organic Form,” Levertov seals her own belief by seeing the act of writing as a communion of everything (no small thing):  “…writing is not a matter of one element supervising the others but of intuitive interaction between all the elements involved.” The genesis, then, of the written work of art emanates from paying attention to the world. O Taste and See, Levertov implores. This requires the deep gaze, not the passing glance.

*****

How far we have come in recognizing the interconnectedness of all things (beings). Still, mystery remains. “On the last day of the world I would want to plant a tree,” W. S. Merwin writes. And Mary Oliver has said that she could almost say trees saved her. Poems guide, rage, console, inspire, bear witness. Can we say the same of trees?

One recent morning, I opened the back door, expecting the usual heat wave. My dog, as surprised as I by the brisk air, began running laps round and round the backyard and I quickly went and stood close to my evergreen tree. I parted a few of the branches and peeked inside. Some gift was always there. As with the giving tree in To Kill a Mockingbird. This time a silky hammock spun overnight held the morning’s catch:  a few drops of dew and a sparkle of sunlight and a little something for the spider. I let the branches close on this secret space. And thought of Suzanne Simard’s Finding the Mother Tree which I’d been reading the night before, stunned by the brilliance of her style in conveying the complicated scientific results of her studies of how trees develop elaborate systems of communication. Understories. Interwoven among the trees are branches of her personal journey with cancer. In the forests, she confronts fear; finds joy and courage.  Her memoir reminds me of how poets and fiction writers convey similar themes. In one of my favorite short stories taught by a beloved teacher when I was a college sophomore, E. B. White’s character notices “the second tree from the corner” and comes to an epiphany.

Go find your tree.  Write about it.


Trees as Muse in Print

Here’s an example of a writer using trees as muse: “In The Petrified Forest” by Dan Musgrave. You can submit your own nonfiction to Outpost19’s tree-tethered nonfiction anthology, Rooted, here.

 


Irene Blair Honeycutt is an award-winning teacher and poet. Her fourth poetry book, Beneath the Bamboo Sky (Main Street Rag, 2017), is sub-titled Poems and Pieces on Loss and Consolation. Irene’s kinship with trees began in her childhood in Florida where she built and retreated to her palm hut. She still meets with the woods and enjoys writing time in her mountain cabin. Her work has been published by journals, including Nimrod, Southern Poetry Review, The Southern Poetry Anthology: VII, Black Moon Magazine, Kakalak and Virginia Quarterly. She founded Central Piedmont Community College’s Sensoria, mentors writers, and is completing her fifth poetry manuscript.


Learn From Irene: The tree as nurturer, witness, listener—a source of terror, even—has drawn poets through the ages to reflect on its Mystery. In the first of our two meetings, we’ll explore a variety of “tree” writings and discuss how these pieces reflect our humanness. Then, through a visualization writing prompt that takes us deeper into our relationship with them, we’ll invoke trees as muses to inspire our intuitive writing processes. During our second meeting, participants will be encouraged (not pressured) to share short writings inspired by the prompt.
Learn more and register here.

You Are Your Book’s Best Seller

by Kathy Izard

Many aspiring authors claim to despise marketing. They just want to work on their craft and write a great book, and hope that will be enough to make it hit the bestseller list. They spend years taking writing classes, searching for an agent, and working on a book contract thinking that someday, someone else will do all that social media and marketing stuff.

The truth is, even if you get a contract with one of the Big Five publishers, there will not be a team of magic marketing fairies selling your book. Publishers still expect YOU, the author, to be engaging with potential readers through social media (Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter) and speaking engagements. Unless you are already John Grisham or Michelle Obama you are not likely to go on a nationwide book tour or get booked on the morning TV shows.

I say this not to depress you but to empower you. If you have a story that you want to tell, it is your job to both write it and sell it. Hopefully, you have already spent years drafting a polished story and understand who your audience might be. But even if you have only written the first draft and have no idea who might read it, now is time to begin crafting your business plan. As the author, you are the best person to understand who will be looking to read your romance novel or who needs the advice in your nonfiction book.

Begin to understand how your book matches your readers’ needs by asking yourself these three questions:

  1. Why did you write the book? Take time to write about this and be honest with yourself. Maybe it is just pure entertainment for you and your reader or maybe there is a felt need you think your book meets for potential readers. Understand why you wrote the book and what your expectations might be for sales.
  2. Who is your ideal reader? Get specific. What are the demographics of this group, where do they shop for books, and what format do they read (e-books, audiobooks, paperbacks or hardbacks)? You wan to make sure what you publish is what they buy.
  3. Where can you begin connecting with your type of ideal reader—either virtually or in person? Is it Instagram or LinkedIn? Are there Facebook groups you can join to begin meeting readers before your book launches? Are there in-person groups in your city—book clubs, service clubs, faith groups—that match your book’s theme that you can connect with?

Make these basic questions the starting point for writing the business plan for selling your book. Whether you have a traditional publisher or you independently publish, you will need a good outline of who are trying to sell to and how you will reach them.

You have worked hard to write a manuscript you care about. Now give an equal amount of effort understanding how to get that book to readers who will love it as much as you do.


Kathy Izard is the author of three books, The Hundred Story Home, The Last Ordinary Hour, and A Good Night for Mr. Coleman. She connects with her readers on Instagram (@kathyizardclt) and loves helping writers get their words in the world.


Learn from Kathy

Paths to Publishing: Self-Publishing Start to Finish. Thursday, October 6, 2022, 6:00-8:00 pm. So, you’ve finished a manuscript and have made the decision to self-publish. Where do you start? Join us as Kathy Izard walks you through 10 steps to putting your words in the world. From purchasing your own ISBN number to ordering author copies, Kathy can answer all your questions about becoming a published author of adult or children’s books. Register here.

How to Write About Sex

by Sarah Creech

Good sex in fiction relies on powerful description skills, but what makes it “good” has much more to do with character and conflict than the sensory experience of sex on the page as mere titillation. Sex is always a power dynamic in story with various parties claiming power by different methods and for different reasons. Good sex functions as character development and deepens a character’s psychological richness on the page. Good sex creates subtext and interiority in a story.

Bad sex in fiction ignores all of these important elements of craft and instead focuses on description for description’s sake. Often that description is overwrought or straining for the visual as a stand-in for real yearning and complex desire. Each year, the Literary Review announces its Bad Sex in Fiction award to draw attention to the cliché ways sex is sometimes presented in story. More specifically, “The purpose of the prize is to draw attention to poorly written, perfunctory or redundant passages of sexual description in modern fiction.” (Check out some recent award winners and see if you can spot any reasons for why those particular works were chosen for so dubious an honor.)

But all jokes aside: sex in fiction is a very serious craft concern for storytellers. When and how to invite the reader’s mind onto the page to participate in the imaginary work of scene building is critical. Not all sex is romantic or erotic. Some sex is taboo, violent, without consent. A writer handles difficult material through skillful craft choices.


Sarah Creech is the author of two novels, Season of the Dragonflies and The Whole Way Home. Her short fiction and essays have appeared in various publications, including The Cortland Review, Writer’sDigest. com, StorySouth, and Literary Mama. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and children and teaches at Queens University of Charlotte.


Learn From Sarah: Want to write great sex scenes that don’t just titillate the reader but also reveal character and complicate the plot? Join us for “Sex (How to Write About it Well)” at Charlotte Lit, Thursday, September 29, from 6:00 to 8:00 pm. In this course we will study the best strategies to create good tension in a sex scene and learn to avoid the techniques that might get you nominated for the infamous Bad Sex in Fiction award.  Learn more and register here.

Why “The Iliad” Still Matters

by Jeffrey Thomson

The Iliad is a book of transitions; it is a fundamentally a book of liminal moments. This is a story from the basement of history—from the moment when we began the movement from an oral storytelling culture to a culture of written literature. It establishes many of the characters and tropes of the modern literary world, while living up to almost none of the norms. It is a challenging, sprawling, and difficult text that is likewise small and intimate in its essential movement. Its characters and heroes interact with gods and Fate but play out an ultimately human story.

The Iliad takes place during the Trojan War, but it is not about the Trojan war. Rather it is about the making of a person—Achilles. We watch as he moves from rage to pity. From unyielding to anything but the direct commands of the gods to yielding to the will of another human being. Achilles is “divinely” selfish in the beginning of book one, but by the end Achilles has learned to feel pity for another mortal. His final acts of grace and generosity show that he has abandoned his selfish anger and found a connection to another human being.

For writers, The Iliad is an unending fountain of characters and moments that can be plumbed and investigated, written and rewritten. It is the text that gave us the world’s first fan fiction—The Aeneid—and continues to provide grist for that mill (Madeline Miller’s The Song of Achilles, the film Troy, etc.). In a moment of—again—invasion and war, reading and talking about Homer’s classic war story will let us—once again, as well—think about what it ultimately means to be a human being.


Jeffrey Thomson is a poet, memoirist, translator, and editor, and the author of 10 books including Half/Life: New and Selected Poems from Alice James Books, the memoir fragile, The Belfast Notebooks, The Complete Poems of Catullus, and the edited collection From the Fishouse. His newest book is Museum of Objects Burned by the Souls in Purgatory. He has been a National Endowment for the Arts Fellow, the Fulbright Distinguished Scholar in Creative Writing at the Seamus Heaney Poetry Centre at Queen’s University Belfast, and the Hodson Trust–John Carter Brown Fellow at Brown University. He is currently professor of creative writing at the University of Maine Farmington.


Read The Iliad with Charlotte Lit: Join us for “Reading The Iliad in Wartime” with Jeffrey Thomson. Over six sessions beginning September 20, we will read and discuss Homer’s original classic and think about the way it speaks to our time and the way other writers have used this story to illuminate theirs. This is a “Zoom Plus One” event — when you register you can bring a friend for free! More information and registration here.

Writing Interiority

by Dustin M. Hoffman

Dustin M. Hoffman

Dustin M. Hoffman

Occasionally, I get jealous of other artistic mediums.

All we have to tell our stories are these words on the page, black ink on a white page. This can seem like a disadvantage when looking at the explosive, varied forms of expression the other mediums wield. Sadly, we just won’t be able to pull off some content as well as other mediums. Paintings will always be more vivid and colorful than our best descriptions. Songs will always be more musical than our most lyrical lines. Movies, with their special effects and booming soundtracks, will create more intense fight scenes and car crashes and romantic stares with movie screens picturing eyeballs as big as boulders.

So, then, what do we do best?

I’ll always argue that interiority is our advantage over all other mediums. No other art can tunnel inside the mind as naturally as written story. No other medium can unwrap psychological complexity as fully. Where voiceover is corny in a movie, it’s organic and powerful in literature.

The short story especially guides effective interiority writing with its emphasis on compression. We don’t have space to waste when conciseness is key. But even if we’re aiming to imply a large portion of the psychological complexity through a minimalist Hemingway style, there’s still plenty of room and need to explore the mind. We certainly don’t want to rely solely on shorthand emotional abstractions: “She was depressed/elated/angered/etc.” And we don’t want to use interiority to redundantly explain what a vivid character action effectively shows.

Instead, we should lean into using interiority to enhance crucial narrative elements like tension. Character motivation grants stakes to story, for example, and is most richly explored in the mind. Motivation is emphasized by the level of desire, another internalized quality. Tension is further emphasized by a character’s anxiety—how much they worry about and over what they most want. Of course, this is just the thrilling start to all interiority can offer us on the page.

Interiority is one of our most potent tools, and through its effective use, we can pull off a story those other mediums can only envy.


Dustin M. Hoffman is the author of the story collection One-Hundred-Knuckled Fist, winner of the 2015 Prairie Schooner Book Prize. His second collection No Good for Digging and chapbook Secrets of the Wild were published by Word West Press. He spent 10 years painting houses in Michigan before getting his MFA from Bowling Green State University and his Ph.D. from Western Michigan University. More than 80 of his stories have appeared in magazines. He is an associate professor of English at Winthrop University in South Carolina.


Learn the Art and Craft of the Short Story: Dustin M. Hoffman leads “Writing the Short Story” in Charlotte Lit’s Studio Two, two Tuesdays, September 6 and 13, 6:30-8:30 pm. Four seats left! Info / Register

The Challenge is the Gift

By Beth Murray

 

Irania Macias Reymann and I are collaborators, kindred creative spirits, and we’ve written two plays together.

In 2013, we wrote and toured a bilingual show with music for children called Mamá Goose. It was inspired by the beautiful Latino nursery rhyme anthology of the same title by Isabel Campoy and Alma Flor Ada. In that project we challenged ourselves to make a play engaging and relevant to young audience members across language and cultural borders. We used music, movement, English, Spanish, American Sign language, playful actors, and all the design elements of theatre to tell the story for a diverse audience.

Our second play, Tatas Tales: Los Cuentos de las Tatas, is also an adaptation of sorts. We created the play based on the writing, conversations, drawings, stories, and community of breast cancer survivors participating in Irania’s bibliotherapy groups—some Spanish-speaking, some English-speaking. At this moment, we have an English and a Spanish version of the same play written to a point where actors can read the piece for an audience, and seek a response.

Despite the vast age and topic differences, both projects bear similarities. Both involve navigating cultural and linguistic borderlands with story. Both projects involve adapting existing material that is not in a single-narrative form. Both projects began with one of us saying something like: “There’s this thing. It has possibilities to be a play. I have no idea how right now. Will you collaborate with me?” We always say “Sí.” And then we see.

The challenges are the gifts. The weaknesses are the strengths. The doubts are the possibilities. The community matters more than we do. So, yeah. It takes us a long time to create a play. The plays become of a place and of the people who shape them along the way. For Tatas Tales, there have been many people and places.

Program administrators who held space for creative breast cancer therapies.

Bold and brave writing group members.

Readers and performers of early drafts on Zoom.

Community programmers and librarians willing to open their doors to our reading events. Media folks.

Current cast members.

Tatas Tales CastIrania and I are named as playwrights, but Tatas Tales/Los Cuentos de las Tatas reflects a plurality of authors, as the story is continually written and re-written in rehearsal and performance choices by the ensemble, even as the words stay constant. Our current cast includes five actors.

The photo shows 12 people (a 13th in spirit). Among those smiling faces are professional performers, novice performers, breast cancer survivors, witnesses to breast cancer, monolingual English speakers, emergent Spanish speakers, bilingual speakers with varying degrees of comfort and confidence with English and Spanish, fluent multilingual speakers, young professionals, middle-career professionals, and retirees. This patchwork of people will bring the script to life. The initial challenge of not having five bilingual actors available for all performance gave way to this richness.

The challenge, again, became the gift. It is a generous one.

 


Tatas Tales EventsJOIN US for Tatas Tales/Los Cuentos de las Tatas:

Wednesday, May 4: In-person in Charlotte Lit’s Studio Two, 5:30 p.m. in English – Register

Wednesday, May 4: In-person in Charlotte Lit’s Studio Two, 7:00 p.m. in Spanish – Registro

Thursday, May 12: Hybrid event, 6:00 p.m. in Spanish
• In-person in Charlotte Lit’s Studio Two – Registro
• Virtual through Charlotte Mecklenburg Library – Registro

NOTE: Proof of full Covid vaccination is required to attend in-person Charlotte Lit events. Send a picture of your vaccination card to staff@charlottelit.org. If you do not email it  24 hours before showtime, please be prepared to show proof of your vaccination at the door.


ABOUT IRANIA & BETH:

Irania Macias Patterson is an author and Certified Applied Poetry Therapy Facilitator (CAPF). For the past 22 years she has worked as an outreach program specialist for the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library. Her book Chipi Chipis, Small Shells of the Sea/Chipi Chipi Caracolitos del Mar, a winner of the 2006 International Reading Association Children’s Choice Award, Wings and Dreams: The Legend of Angel Falls. She also co-authored The Fragrance of Water, La Fragancia del Agua, and 27 Views of Charlotte. She is a 2020 recipient of an ASC grant assigned to write a poetry therapy play called Save the Tatas 2020. She holds a Master of Literature from La Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona, Spain, and a BA in Communication (UCAB) and Education (UNCC). She is also a trained teaching artist from Wolf Trap and The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and a Road Scholar for the North Carolina Humanity Council. She is the co- founder of Criss Cross Mangosauce, an edutainment company for families.

Beth Murray, Ph.D., has been a public-school theatre teacher, a freelance teaching artist, a program development facilitator, and a playwright/author/deviser for young audiences across her career. Beth’s current trajectories of creative activity and research explore, describe, question, and foster spaces where young people and those who teach and reach them put theatre and all the arts to work for learning and intercultural understanding.  The Mamá Goose Project, in which Beth was co-playwright and director of a multilingual play for young audiences as well as a professional development facilitator and principal investigator, exemplifies her collaborative, multi-disciplinary approach. Cotton & Collards: Unearthing Stories of Home through Kitchens & Closets is a current inquiry with local and global artists, educators, and the Levine Museum of the New South. Dr. Murray has published in academic and practitioner journals, such as Youth Theatre Journal, English Teaching Forum and Middle School Journal and has contributed to books and anthologies. She is the current Director of Publications for International Drama and Education Association (IDEA) and an Associate Professor of Theatre Education at UNC Charlotte.

Make the Ordinary Sacred

Angelo GeterThe past two years have been interesting, as we have entered into and through a pandemic, learned new skills, and discovered things about ourselves we may not have known were there.  In the midst of that time, I have found myself reading poems, articles, and stories that speak to real life and emotions.  The overwhelming number of things I’ve read that spoke to me were the courageous things.  The poems about picking yourself out of bed when depression told you not to, reminiscing about eating a meal with your grandmother before she passed, and harnessing the joy of a child’s laugh to name a few. The elements that all these stories had in common was an elevation of the ordinary. They celebrated regular people cherishing the seemingly mundane but also recognizing the effort it takes to do so.

 

The poems that relish and elevate the small things are the ones that have the most impact.  For example, Patricia Smith has a poem entitled “When the Burning Begins” where she details making cornbread with her father before he passed.  While the act of making cornbread isn’t particularly exciting, the vibrant language, colorful storytelling, and active wordplay allows us to exist in the moment and have a greater appreciation for what that act represents.

 

When you are crafting your own work, take a look at the things around you.  What is something that you do every day as a ritual? What does that look and feel like? What makes it something special to you?  Asking yourself those questions can help you find and define a purpose in that routine. Perhaps you brush your teeth a certain way because your mother told you that when you were younger and now it’s also a way to honor her. Perhaps you eat a certain meal on a particular day because it reminds you of something. Take those ordinary occurrences and detail the process of what it takes to create it.  There is always some beauty in the seemingly ordinary.


ABOUT ANGELO: Angelo ‘Eyeambic’ Geter is a dynamic poet, spoken word artist and motivational speaker who merges his passions for poetry and speaking into a unique performance that educates, entertains, and inspires. Over the course of his career, Angelo has amassed several accolades. He currently serves as the Poet Laureate of Rock Hill, SC, and a 2020 Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellow. Geter is also a 2019 All-America city winner, 2018 National Poetry Slam champion, Rustbelt Regional Poetry Slam finalist, Southern Fried Regional Poetry Slam finalist and has performed and competed in several venues across the country. His work has appeared on All Def Poetry, Charleston Currents, and the Academy of American Poets “Poem a Day” series.


BRING YOUR WORDS TO LIFE WITH ANGELO: Join Angelo for Spoken Word: Poetry and Performance, a three-part class dedicated to the art of spoken word and poetry slam. Examine spoken word work to demonstrate how literary devices employed in traditional poetry are expanded in this genre. Participants will be guided through several prompts and exercises to help them craft their own original work. Participants will have the opportunity to read their spoken word pieces and receive feedback. This class will show you how to literally bring your words to life from the page to the stage. More information here.

Note: This class meets on three Tuesdays, May 10, 17 and 24, 6:00-8:00 pm.

Proof of full Covid vaccination is required to attend in-person Charlotte Lit events. Send a picture of your vaccination card to staff@charlottelit.org

Notebooking

Zines for Creative Exploration            Timothy: As a novice artist, I once spent several months drawing pictures of lizards and turtles for researchers in an animal behavior lab. I loved being around all the gadgets and learning the jargon of science, but the most interesting aspect was watching everyone fill up stacks of green notebooks with scribbled facts, figures, and thumbnail sketches. This largely unseen work of scientific exploration revealed to me a vastly bigger and more complex process than I’d imagined before.

Since then, my education as an artist has taken a pinball’s path, rolling and rocketing from bumper to flipper and back again. Now in the afternoon of this journey, after trying on a dozen different identities, I tell people (and myself) that I make books about books. But, ever skeptical of neat categories and descriptions, I wonder every day what this actually means.

It helps reaffirm my practice to think back to all those amazing lab notebooks overflowing with blue, black, and red ink. Their rich beauty, not meant for the eyes of the lay public, made me interested in the stories behind stories. Of course, I also have the privilege of living with a writer, who has filled so many shapes and sizes of notebooks with ideas. A finished book on the shelf or a painting on the wall can be wonderful things, but to me the messy, freewheeling preparatory work that flows though notebooks and sketchbooks is every bit as fascinating. So, I make, or at least try to make, book-like objects that talk about the often overlooked labor of art.

 

Bryn: And I have the privilege of living with a visual artist whose sketchbooks burst with wild, beautiful drawings and annotations. Our artistic disciplines intersect in the realm of notebooks: writers, artists, and other creative thinkers, as Timothy mentions, find these compact paper spaces crucial for process and discovery. Time and again, I’ve scratched bits of imagery, scenes, and characters during long walks or early morning coffee; later in the same pages, I’ve refined and expanded those bits or ditched them altogether. I’ve pasted encouraging quotes, pictures, and notes to self. When I drafted Sycamore, I first highlighted and tabbed pages in the stack of notebooks I’d been working in. Some of those scraps made it in wholesale.

Living with an artist, I also know how valuable it is to make a notebook for a project. Book artists in particular build mockups for their projects, mapping and testing structures, and then filling the pages with calculations and notes, before embarking on the final piece. Why shouldn’t writers, too, make their own project-specific notebooks? These serve not only to capture our ideas but to remind us from the start that this work should have its own personalized, playful space that also is practical and portable. Anyone can buy a readymade journal, but slowing down and constructing one from scratch is a kind of promise: This work matters. It’s in my hands now.


ABOUT THE INSTRUCTORS:

About the Instructors: Bryn Chancellor is the author of the novel Sycamore, a Southwest Book of the Year and Amazon Editors’ Best Book of 2017, and the story collection When Are You Coming Home?, winner of the Prairie Schooner Book Prize, with work published in numerous literary journals. Honors include a 2018 North Carolina Arts Council Artist Fellowship and the Poets and Writers Maureen Egen Writers Exchange Award. She is associate professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

Timothy Winkler is an illustrator and book artist whose Modern Fauna Art & Ephemera Studio is currently based in Charlotte. A native of Nashville, Tennessee, he has long studied and worked in all the various media of printmaking. He earned his MFA in Book Arts at the University of Alabama and has taught letterpress printing at Penland School of Crafts and a course on Outsider Art at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte. Winkler was a 2020 recipient of an Arts and Science Council Artist Support Grant.


CREATE ZINES WITH BRYN & TIMOTHY: The road to a story winds through myriad notes and drafts. Join Bryn & Timothy on April 30, 2022 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. for Little Notebooks, Big Ideas: Zines for Creative Exploration. Making notebooks by hand lets writers immerse themselves in the critical early creative process and helps them commit to a project. We’ll make fun, easy, affordable, and portable notebooks in the spirit of zines, closer to Anne Lamott’s index cards than to fussy bound journals. We’ll start to fill the pages with targeted prompts for characters, settings, and scenes, and play with simple printmaking and collage to make them our own.  Register Here

Note: This class includes an hour break for lunch. You can bring your own or visit one of several walking-distance options.