Thursday, October 29

Creativity

Creativity

Sonya Larson Interviews E. Dolores Johnson about Say I'm Dead: A Memoir of Race, Secrets, and Love by Info
Creativity

Sonya Larson Interviews E. Dolores Johnson about Say I'm Dead: A Memoir of Race, Secrets, and Love by Info

GrubStreet Staffer Sonya Larson interviewed Memoir Incubator alum E. Dolores Johnson about her memoir Say I'm Dead: A Family Memoir of Race, Secrets, and Love. Say I'm Dead is the true story of family secrets, separation, courage, and transformation through five generations of interracial relationships. You can learn more about and purchase the book here.  Sonya Larson: I want to talk about your parent's relationship. Your white mother and Black father fell in love in Indianapolis in the 1940s, when anti-miscegenation laws made their relationship illegal. Can you tell us what exactly they were up against? If they were caught, what were the legal consequences? The family and social consequences?                  E. Dolores Johnson: Miscegenation means mixing, and the ant...
Poetry & Flash Fiction with Kim Lozano
Creativity

Poetry & Flash Fiction with Kim Lozano

Today creative writers at GCAA talked poetry, creative nonfiction, and flash fiction with writer and creative writing teacher Kim Lozano. Here are a couple things we discussed… Honing our ability to see originally Writing specifically Avoiding vague words like “beautiful” and zeroing in on imagery The idea that specificity & imagery apply to fiction, creative nonfiction — all types of writing Embodying emotions in the form of objects: What can I do to show the reader that I’m angry? Show, don’t tell is a creative writing cliché but it’s true –> learn the rules first and then break them The power of our work is in our details Think about gestures – for example, what a character does with their hands Under-utilized element for a lot of poets is the title Then we read…...
Dred Scott & Adoption ABCEDARIUS
Creativity

Dred Scott & Adoption ABCEDARIUS

According to The Practice of Creative Writing by Heather Sellers, “when creative writers use the alphabet to provide the structure for a piece of writing, it’s called an abecedarius.” “Forcing yourself into a box like this does interesting things to your creativity. You end up surprising yourself. Oftentimes, the letters for which ‘you can’t think of anything’ provide the most fresh, original sections. The renowned poet Ezra Pound wrote an entire book, The ABC of Reading, using this form. Other well-known examples include Czeslow Milosz’s Milosz’s ABC’s, a book of brief prose essays. A.J. Jacobs’s The Know-It-All is a memoir of reading the Encyclopedia Britannica in alphabetical order.  The following abecedarius is a creative nonfiction essay that interweaves the writer’s perso...
Protests & Pandemic: General Discussion
Creativity

Protests & Pandemic: General Discussion

Discussion questions: No specific questions, although there are a few suggestions below. I want this to be a space where we can keep in touch with each other during this unsettling time and talk about whatever we want to talk about, whether related to the protests, the pandemic, our writing, or none of the above.   Near the beginning of the COVID-19 lockdowns we ran a post called “General Discussion” that was just a space for all of us to talk about our experiences of those weird early days; a place, we wrote, “where we can just keep in touch with each other and talk or vent about whatever the hell is on our minds.” Which we did: dozens of us had a long-running conversation about our hopes and fears, the struggles we were facing, the ways we were dealing with the...
Writing & Reading Goals 2020: 50-Yard Line
Creativity

Writing & Reading Goals 2020: 50-Yard Line

Discussion questions: Are you on pace to hit the 2020 writing and reading goals you laid out at the beginning of the year? In what ways has the COVID-19 situation affected, or even altered, your goals and your approach? What’s your plan for the rest of the year, reading- and writing-wise? What are the biggest roadblocks in your way? Let’s discuss in the comments.   So here’s a weird thing. When I last did a 2020 reading & writing goals check-in, I said we were one-fourth of the way through the year. I published that post on March 7, barely over two months into the new year. Call it a brain fart, thinking that 3-7-20 means three months have passed. Since then, time has moved in bizarre ways. Remember March 7? The four months that have passed feel like four...
Introducing GrubStreet’s New Look  by Eve Bridburg
Creativity

Introducing GrubStreet’s New Look by Eve Bridburg

In anticipation of our move later this year, GrubStreet’s Founder and Executive Director Eve Bridburg shares an exciting update about GrubStreet’s new look and feel, including our new logo and color.      Dear Fellow Grubbies,   We're very excited to launch GrubStreet’s new look today. In designing our new creative writing center, we knew we’d need an updated look and feel to match this exciting next chapter. To lead us through the many decisions ahead, we hired the fearless branding firm Catapult. With their help and through a process led by GrubStreet’s amazing Senior Communications Manager Sean Van Deuren, we’ve landed on a new logo and color we’re excited to share.  Without further ado, we proudly present GrubStreet’s new logo:    (GrubStreet’s new logo.)  T...
What To Do When You Need Writing Motivation
Creativity

What To Do When You Need Writing Motivation

Struggling with procrastination? Here’s some writing motivation! Today’s post is an excerpt from Ready, Set, Write: A Guide to Creative Writing. This is from a chapter titled “Motivation,” which provides techniques for cultivating writing motivation. Writing Motivation The more inspired you feel, the more motivated you will be to write. But there’s a subtle difference between feeling inspired and being motivated. Inspiration is about ideas; motivation is about doing the work. You could lounge around for hours, daydreaming poems and stories—without ever putting a single word on paper. I remember the first time I wrote a poem of my own volition. The experience was magical. I wanted to do it again and again. So that’s exactly what I did. Then one day I didn’t feel like writi...
Finding Meaning in Poetry
Creativity

Finding Meaning in Poetry

Finding meaning in poetry. We humans are programmed to find meaning in everything. We find patterns where none exist. We look for hidden messages in works of art. We yearn for meaning, especially when something doesn’t immediately make sense. Of course, art is open to interpretation, and some of the best works of art have produced a fountain of ideas about what they mean. From the nonsensical children’s story Alice in Wonderland to the complex historical fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire (aff links), we wonder what a story means, what it’s really about, at its core. Poetry is no exception. When we come across an abstract or vague poem, we look for meaning in it. We might even impose meaning on it. Finding Meaning in Abstract Poetry The literary canon is home to coun...
Futuristic Inspiration for Speculative Fiction
Creativity

Futuristic Inspiration for Speculative Fiction

Get inspired by the future. How would people in the Middle Ages respond to a television? What would someone from the 1700s think of a helicopter? What would a person from the early twentieth century think of a computer, or more specifically, the internet? They would think these things were magical — either illusions or genuine supernatural occurrences. They might even believe the persons yielding the magical objects were witches, wizards, or gods. But you and I both know that’s not the case. Televisions, helicopters, and computers are all very real, and thanks to modern technology, most of us have access to them. We humans have a tendency to believe that we are at the apex of knowledge — that right now, we know as much as we ever will. As much as we love fictional, futuri...
Homophones, Homonyms, and Homographs
Creativity

Homophones, Homonyms, and Homographs

Homophones, homonyms, and homographs. They perplex us, confuse us, and make our heads spin. If you thought learning how to correctly spell words that sound alike was difficult, wait till you try to learn the terms for describing those words. Homophones Homophones are words that are pronounced alike but have different meanings. Some examples are accept and except, affect and effect, and triplets too and to and two, along with they’re and their and there. Homophones may also refer to words that are spelled and pronounced the same but differ in meaning — for example lie (lie down) and lie (an untruth). These words are a major source of frustration for many writers, students, and professionals who struggle to memorize variant spellings for words that sound alike but have...