Monday, June 11, 2007

Grub Street Rag, 6/11/2007

"You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club."

--Jack London

Welcome to the Grub Street Rag, a newsletter of the Boston literary scene sent out every Monday by the impatient impatiens planters at the world headquarters of Grub Street. As always, if you are receiving this e-mail in horror, please advance to the bottom of the page to unsubscribe yourself.

At Laaaaaaaast!
The summer workshop calendar has arrived. Every year we say something like "man, we're going to take it easy this summer and have fewer classes," but somehow we always end up scheduling a huge menu of workhops, complete with many we haven't offered before. This summer, check out new amuse-bouches like Reading Like a Writer, The Middle of the Story, and Forms of Poetry; delectable aperitifs like Novel in Progress, Memoirs I and II and Writing & Producing the Short Film; and decadent palate cleansers like The Structure of Short Fiction and Master Ten Weeks Ten Poems. Hungry for more? We've also got nine weekend courses, four daytime workshops and seminars, and ten tasty seminars. No matter what you pick, we know you'll be satisfied.

Go forth and save
Grub Street Benefit Days at all Massachusetts Borders locations is this Thursday and Friday, June 14th and 15th. You'll get 10% off your purchases at all Borders stores, and 10% of the net sales will go to your favorite non-profit: Grub! Click here to download the PDF coupon:

Softball Department (brought to you by guest sportscaster, Jen LaVin)
Grub Street Word-Slinger 5, Irish Cannolis 14
SOMERVILLE – Sunday, The Word-Slingers successfully defended their record-breaking non-winning streak, losing to the Irish Cannolis 5 to 14 at Trum field.

Going into this latest game, the team assumed their black-colored shirts would provide significant intimidation. But you know what they say about assuming… And unfortunately, the team soon discovered that it was no match for the pale pink of the Irish Cannolis, who served them up their second loss of the season. Seems black shirts are just plain hot on a nice sunny day.

Despite the score, the game proved to boost the spirits of The Word-Slingers immensely, who turned out in record numbers. With fans in the stands and subs on the bench, the team enjoyed some memorable moments, with Chris Castellani’s handful of strikeouts, including one of the other team’s heavy hitters (which drew cheers from both teams), and Jeff Stern’s impressive catches in center field, including one sliding on his knees that ultimately drew blood.

New players and rookies alike agreed that, given the quality of the play and the fun that was had, the score should have been much closer. As a result, The Word-Slingers look forward to taking on Big Blue Moxie in Newton on Father’s Day, June 17, and bringing the losing streak to its long overdue end.


Whitney, Chris, Paige and Sonya

In addition to our ongoing workshops, Grub Street offers numerous writing-related events around town. See our website for a long-term view of all we do. Here is a sample of what's on the horizon:

FREE LUNCHTIME COURSE: Tuesday, June 12th, 12:30-1:15, Brown Bag Lunch Series Do you work downtown and want to fit some writing into your day? Or do you have a schedule that gives you free afternoons instead of evenings? Bring your lunch and come on over to Grub Street for a Brown Bag Writing Workshop. In 45 jam-packed minutes, you'll meet fellow writers and get your creative juices flowing with some great writing exercises. Led by one of our award-winning instructors or ambassadors. Best of all, you'll leave lunch with some new ideas to ponder for the rest of your day, and beyond. Taught by instructor Sonya Larson. These workshops are free and open to the public. Max. 15 students, email to RSVP or call us at 617.695.0075.FREE, 160 Bolyston Street, Boston MA.

Tuesday, June 19th, 7pm, Harvard Book Store and Grub Street present The Boston Premiere of Out of the Book

Harvard Bookstore, with help from Powell’s Bookstore in Portland, Oregon and Grub Street Writers of Boston, presents the Boston premiere of Out of the Book – a new series of short films about notable authors. Join us on June 19 for a special evening featuring readings, music, and a new film featuring bestselling novelist Ian McEwan. McEwan’s new novel, On Chesil Beach, focuses on the first night between a young married couple. What better way to celebrate the debut of this film than a group of talented writers talking about other “first nights”? Grub Street’s own Pamela Painter, Jon Papernick, and Elizabeth Benedict will read their own short pieces about wedding nights. Directed by Doug Biro (Herbie Hancock: Possibilities) and shot over four days in England and the United States, the film includes interviews with McEwan in London, on location footage from Chesil Beach and Oxford, and original soundtrack, commentary from peers and critics, one perplexing glimpse at British media, and more.$7 Grub members (show your card at the bookstore); $10 non-members. Tickets are available at the store or over the phone with a credit card at 617-661-1515. Brattle Theatre, 40 Brattle Street, Harvard Square.

SEMINAR: Monday, June 18th, 7pm – 10pm, What We Talk About When We Talk About Voice

What is "voice," and what do writers and critics mean when they discuss it? How does voice differ from other literary elements like point of view, tone and style? In this one night-seminar, fiction writer Becky Tuch and poet Jennifer Elmore will lead you through this discussion as well as writing exercises that will examine the complex concept of voice. You will explore issues of voice in well- known novels, short stories and poems, as well as in your own works- in-progress. Experimenting with voice is a productive way to stretch your writing skills and/or end your writer's block! Come prepared for writing exercises and to leave with new ideas for your own work. Instructors: Becky Tuch and Jennifer Elmore.
$45/$40 members, Grub Street Headquarters, 160 Boylston Street, Boston, MA.

SEMINAR: Monday, June 18th, 7pm – 10pm, Travel Writing

Ever thought travel writing would be a great way to make a living? Dashing off a few pages on your last vacation experience can seem easy, but can you shape the story into a form that is original, well-written and most importantly, saleable? In this highly informative seminar taught by a freelance travel writer for The New York Times, National Geographic Traveler and The Washington Post, students will receive a comprehensive overview of the travel writing field: the types of stories, the markets available to freelancers, how to shape stories and write pitch letters, what publications actually pay, plus more esoteric craft matters such as what makes a good travel memoir. Instructor: Ethan Gilsdorf
$45/$40 members, Grub Street Headquarters, 160 Boylston Street, Boston, MA.

SEMINAR: Monday, June 18th, 7pm – 10pm, Truth In Fiction

Fiction relies heavily on a writer's creativity and imagination, but generally there are kernels of truth and personal, human experience in even the most outlandish stories. In this seminar we will examine the way that our daily lives, our experiences, our feelings, even our darkest secrets and most emotional days can color our un-truths, and can yield vibrant and emotive writing that will have readers asking, "Did this really happen to you?" The key here is finding the balance between drawing on the key elements of your experiences, and using key emotions and elements to create new characters and new situations. We'll begin by free-writing, and then examine some passages from popular books--some that work, and some that don't work as well--and then we'll spend the rest of the time working on putting pieces of the experiences of our lives into another language: fiction. (Be prepared to share your work with others). Instructor: Brian Sousa. $45/$40 members, Grub Street Headquarters, 160 Boylston Street, Boston, MA.

WEEKEND COURSE: Saturday-Sunday, 6.23.07 – 6.24.07, 9-4pm each day (includes one hour for lunch) Weekend Workout For Novelists
If you want to work on a novel but can't find the time for a 10-week workshop, this intensive weekend class will give you the tools you need to get started. Through a combination of in-class exercises, readings, discussions of craft and an overnight assignment, you'll learn how to get your novel started, as well as how to keep the story moving 100 pages in. Come to class with a short summary of the novel you'd like to write, or a first page; leave with an opening scene or even a first chapter, as well as strategies to keep the writing flowing come Monday morning. Note: This workshop was recently the subject of a Boston Globe article, which praised Lisa Borders for creating an inspiring and productive workshop.
$195/$170 members, Grub Street Headquarters, 160 Boylston Street, Boston, MA.

WEEKEND COURSE: Saturday-Sunday, 6.23.07 – 6.24.07, 9-4pm each day (includes one hour for lunch) The Writers' Toolbox
Spend the weekend with one of our most inspiring and entertaining instructors as she leads you through exercises from her recently published how-to book, The Writers Toolbox: Creative Games and Exercises For Inspiring the 'Write' Side of Your Brain (Chronicle, April 2007). The exercises – with names like "First Sentences," "Non Sequiturs," and "Last Straws" – are meant to be fun, generative and also applicable to any piece of writing on which you're currently working. Best yet; Jamie Cat Callan is an expert at giving on-the-spot feedback on the scenes and descriptions you'll be generating. $195/$170 members, Grub Street Headquarters, 160 Boylston Street, Boston, MA.

WEEKEND COURSE: Saturday-Sunday, 6.23.07 – 6.24.07, 9-4pm each day (includes one hour for lunch) Screenplay Lab
If you want thoughtful feedback on your complete or near-complete screenplay, this is the workshop for you. Spend the weekend transforming your screenplay from a good first draft to a more compelling, more marketable revised version. You will also get advice on how to get your screenplay to the right contests or agencies.
$195/$170 members, Grub Street Headquarters, 160 Boylston Street, Boston, MA.

On the Horizon:

6/25: The Dialogue-Driven Story

6/25: Rejection, Rejection: Why It's Happening to You, and How to Avoid It

6/25: You’re Writing A Memoir: So What?

6/25: Words and Images

7/21-7/22: The Story Details

7/21-7/22: Travel Writing

7/21-7/22: Surviving the Slush Pile

****Events Around Town****

--READING: Tuesday, June 12, 2007, 7:00 PM Julia Glass, The Whole World Over
Says Kirkus Reviews: "Readers who love quirky characters and a gentle wit that breathes affection even as it skewers human foolishness and frailty will follow [Glass] anywhere." Julia Glass is the author of the National Book Award winning novel The Three Junes. She is a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study and winner of three Nelson Algren Awards and the Tobias Wolff Award. She lives in Massachusetts with her family.
FREE, Porter Square Books, Porter Square Shopping Center, 25 White Street, Cambridge.

--READING: Thursday, June 14th, 7pm, Jacqueline Sheehan reading from Lost and Found
Grub member and weekend workshop instructor Jacqueline Sheehan reads from her novel Lost and Found, published by Avon/Harper Collins in April 2007. "Jacqueline Sheehan is a New England psychologist noted for her essays and the critically acclaimed novel, Truth,
based on the life of abolitionist Sojourner Truth. This new trade fiction original is a stunning, shattering work that gently probes the human psyche to unveil a measure of what it takes to find oneself in a time of loss." Oh, and there's a dog, a gorgeous dog who completely steals the show. FREE, Central Square Branch Library, 45 Pearl Street, Cambridge.

--READING: June 17 – 23, 2007, 7:30pm each night, Solstice Summer Writers' Conference
Sunday, June 17: Pulitzer Prize Finalist and National Book Award Finalist for poetry Cornelius Eady, Newbery Honor and Christopher Medal recipient Norma Fox Mazer, and MA Book Award winner Roland Merullo. Monday, June 18: Pushcart Prize nominee & Theodore Goodman Award for Fiction winner Lee Hope, Los Angeles Times Book Award and National Book Critics Circle Award Winner Randall Kenan, and Oprah Book Club/best-selling novelist Andre Dubus III. Tuesday, June 19: Borders and Amazon’s “Best of 2004” novelist Sarah Micklem, award-winning poet Naomi Ayala, and, from Pine Manor’s MFA Program faculty: award-winning novelist Dennis Lehane. Wednesday, June 20: Poet, translator, and anthologist Kurt Brown, award-winning fiction writer/program assistant Tanya Whiton, and best-selling novelist & creator of the first African American female detective, Valerie Wilson Wesley. See website for complete schedule. The readings are free and open to the public. Copies of the authors’ books will be available for sale and signing during the cash-bar receptions following the readings. Free, Founder’s Room of Pine Manor College, located at 400 Heath Street in Chestnut Hill.

--READING: Sunday, June 24th, 7:30pm, Grace Paley and Mark Doty
One of the most acclaimed short story writers of our time, Grace Paley’s collections include The Little Disturbances of Man, Enormous Changes at the Last Minute, and The Collected Poems. Mark Doty is the author of seven books of poems, including School of the Arts, and three volumes of nonfiction prose. This reading is part of the Juniper Summer Writing Institute's reading series at UMass. FREE, Bezanson Recital Hall, Fine Arts Center, University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Welcome to the end of the e-mail, where, like grandma panties under lowrider jeans, we offer you the chance to win a prize. In Marisha Pessl's Special Topics in Calamity Physics, what are the nicknames the narrator gives to the two main high school gossips? Email your answer to Whitney. Winner receives a gift certificate for ice cream at J.P. Licks.

Answer to last week's quiz:
On June 4th, Raymond Carver would be celebrating 30 years of sobriety; he reportedly took his last drink in June 1977 after joining Alcoholics Anonymous. Winner: Anne Stuart.

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