Don't be fooled by the grim-faced picture. It was the only unblinking one. For me, words are worth a thousand pictures. I'm looking forward to saying hi to all of you.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Gulp. I didn't read the submission guidelines carefully when I sent in my one-act play. Here is the submission response:

We regret to inform you that you have written a really good play and, therefore, it does not fit into our CringeFest. Thank you for allowing us to consider your work. It was read aloud three times by professional actors and discussed by the whole company and resident directors. The decision was: you're just too good for us!
International CringeFest '09 takes place at the Producers' Club, July 20-August 9. We wish you the best of luck with this and all your other work. Please feel free to submit to next year's festival.

Thanks again!

Melba LaRoseMelba LaRose, Artistic Director, NY Artists Unlimited,

Friday, March 27, 2009

The Personal Essay Sorority Sisters

Meet Terry August, Gina Sorell, and Dr. Jeanne Kane. Camerone Thurson must have been taking the picture, because she's a major player in the Sisterhood. They met in my personal essay class and forged such a bond that they have regular reunions.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Registration for my course, Writing the Personal Essay, Intermediate is NOW!

Come all ye personal essayists and memoir writers and writers of all genres:

Intermediate Personal Essay (Online) In The Art of the Personal Essay, Philip Lopate writes, "The personal essayist looks back at the choices that were made, the roads not taken, the limiting familial and historic circumstances, and what might be called the catastrophe of personality." This course is designed for those familiar with the personal essay form and who are ready to delve deeply into that "catastrophe of personality." The course focuses on guiding students in the writing and revision of one or more personal essays to be submitted for publication, as well as the study of markets and the manner in which those stories which sometimes appear to be the smallest moments expand to become memoirs. For those ready to stop regaling friends with their tales and to, instead, commit these to the page. U8287

Former students have gotten published in Notre Dame Review, a paying market, Persimmon (a status-y online journal), and one developed a book of poetry out of her essays that was published by a fine literary press!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The sun is coming out soon: Beware!

While most women get to go to the plastic surgeon for a lift, I have to go to get basil cells removed. I grew up near the beach at a time when no one knew a thing about the long term damage of the sun. Every time I pass one of those tanning salons and I think of all the people baking themselves in these UV coffins, I cringe.
The only upside of this is that my poem on this subject, Shaded, just came out in the South Carolina Review.


With basal cells rising on my body like dots
in a Seurat, I am la femme who walks stiffly
beneath the domed shadow from her parasol.

After my first summer
day of chasing piping plovers
that skittered on wiry feet

toward the tide, then kneeling
to scoop up crabs that tickled
my palms, I’d be housebound

a week, shirtless,
slathered in Noxema,
my nipples red dimes.

Soon came the frenzied scratching
with the edge of Mom’s metal yardstick,
then peeling off the pale flakes.

At puberty, anointed with baby oil and iodine,
I lay face up, a reflector held at my chin,
a silver chute for the sun’s rays at high noon.

Now the hem of my skirt skirts the yellow-
green grass. The sleeves of my tunic are down
to my wrists. I wear a brimmed hat.

My arm aches from holding up the parasol
I carry every day, not just Sundays,
on the Isle of La Grande Jatte.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Meet Dena Mohammed, Personal Essay Student whose writing I'm sure you'll all get to know one day.

Hello Everyone,
My name is Dena Mohammad and I am 29 years old. I am a former international Fulbright scholar and have been in the U.S. for a little over two years now. During that time, I worked on my M.A. degree in American Studies and Art History at the University of Kansas. And before that I did my undergraduate work in English, with a special emphasis on translation. I have graduated about six months ago and my husband and I currently live in the Washington D.C. area. I love it here! We are in the historic district of Old Town Alexandria, so there is a lot of history here!
My life's most cherished dream is to cultivate my skills as a writer and be a known and respected published author. In an ideal world where all is happy and balmy I truly cannot picture myself doing anything but holding on to my pen and paper! I am a pathological book worm and I am slowly building a huge collection of books that space is becoming our most pressing problem around our small apartment. I collect mostly academic works in Art History and Cultural Studies. Coming from American Studies, I have a special interest in such topics as the relationship between words and images, race, gender, the representation of men and women in art and literature, whatever that you can put under the huge umbrella of "culture"...Apart from that, I love the simple delicacies of everyday living: a good book on design and interior decoration, curling up with The Writer Magazine, a scrabble game with my husband, cooking, daydreaming!!!It would be foolish to list favorite writers for the list is too long : William Shakespeare, Sylvia Plath, Mark Twain, Tamar Garb, The Brontes, John Kennedy Toole, Goethe...These names quickly come to mind...The personal essay has always been the kind of art form that I, almost subconsciously, found myself practicing! It is always so compelling as if it is the natural, unconditional reaction to life and its details.