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.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Welcome to everyone who is considering taking my class, Emotions into Art

Emotions are the wind in the sails for any prose or poetry. It's the one element that you can't be without or your writing becomes as flat as gingerale left uncapped. Through prose, poetry, fictgion or memoir, you will learn to get your emotions on the page. Here is a course description:

Course Description:
Emotions Into Art (online) How do writers make you laugh and cry? Designed for beginners and for those who would like to spike up their writing and gain mastery, this course begins by exploring emotion-packed fiction, short prose, and poems, to discover tips, tricks, and strategies for making the reader ache, cheer characters on, reach for the Kleenex, or hold their sides with laughter. You’ll learn about tone, hyperbole, understatement, pacing, implication, and more. Through stimulating writing exercises and short reading assignments, you are encouraged to find your own voice to create short writing (prose or poems) about yourself /and or fictional characters that grab the attention of both readers and editors.

How Rachel Dewoskin found the theme for her compelling novel, BIG GIRL SMALL (Farrar, Straus, Giroux, May, 2011)

Interview with Rachel Dewoskin by Rochelle Jewel Shapiro

Rachel Dewoskin’s brilliant novel about Judy Lohden, a sixteen-year-old with a huge singing voice at a high school for performing arts who just happens to be three foot tall, sets us into the darkly comic, but risky world of adolescence where something horrific happens.

From the gut-prose you can tell Rachel is comfortablein the world of teens. This comes from having been around teens long before she was one herself. Her mother is a high school English teacher who filled the house with her students. Now Rachel teaches at the University of Chicago and although most of her students are no longer teenagers, they have that same kind of eagerness to “connect-the-dots” intellectually that makes them a pleasure for her to teach. She spends a lot of time reading their work and is intrigued by the way they express themselves.

Through her mother-in-law, a children’s rights law professor who also has a clinic to defend children, Rachel has become fascinated with how America responds to kids, what it means to be a zero tolerance society. “Kids should be forgiven,” Rachel says, “even when they make mistakes.” Her novel asks the serious question of whether or not children should be defined by their worst moments and if so, for how long?

Rachel says that the goal for a novelist is empathy, which helps you get into characters minds. “Hopefully,” she says, “some of the empathy you use in your fiction can bleed over into your life.”

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Passover and Easter

I'm in the white shirt, my husband next to me. The wonderment of holidays is that you make time to be together. Enjoy yourselves!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

How Angela Davis-Gardner got her idea for Butterfly's Child

Angela Davis-Gardner went to see Puccini's Madame Butterfly with a friend. After Madame's Butterfly's suicide because Pinkerton, the American officer she'd been in love with and had a child by, returned to Japan with his American wife, Angela's friend said, "I wonder what happened to Buttefly's child?" After a couple of years of research, Angela ended up with this socko novel.

Lesson: Always listen to other people's questions and your own for inspiration.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

What in the world was Paul Giammatti doing with such a gorgeous woman in Barney's Version? Really, there is something terribly wrong with this equation. Just once I'd like to see some homely woman snare a hunk. Anyone know a movie where this has happened? I'm all ears.

Monday, April 4, 2011

A heart-stopping poem when you think of the tsunami and all other disasters

This is by Tenesse Williams. Notice how you don't have to be explicit. YOu don't have to name the tragedy. This could be in light of any tragedy. But if you get at the underlying feelings, your writing becomes universal, applicable to every person, every situation. This poem was written by Tenesse Williams in the 20's. Think about it in light of the tsunami. Love, Roey TENNESEE WILLIAMS POEM YOUR BLINDED HAND Suppose that everything that greens and grows should blacken in one moment, flower and branch. I think I could find your blinded hand. Suppose that your cry and mine were lost among numberless cries in a city of fire when the earth is afire, I must still believe that somehow I would find your blinded hand. Through flames everywhere consuming earth and air I must believe that somehow, if only one moment were offered, I would find your hand. I know, as of course you know, the immeasurable wilderness that would exist in the moment of fire. But I would hear your cry and you’d hear mine and each of us would find the other’s hand. We know that it might not be so. I’d hear your cry, you mine— And each of us would find a blinded hand.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

War Horse, a simple story and a great piece of theater

Think of a sixteen year old boy who loves his horse so much that when it's sold to the military at the outbreak of WWI, he lies his age, joins up, and sets out to find him. Of course there's more to it than that, but any story about a boy and his horse (or a girl and her horse such as National Velvet) is a winning combo. Steven Spielberg has already bought the film rights to it.

Friday, April 1, 2011

If you live in NYC, here's an opportunity to mentor at risk girls in writing.

Do you want to share your craft and work one-to-one with an aspiring teen writer?Apply to be a Volunteer Writing Mentor today!Girls Write Now is a community of professional women writers—educators, editors, poets, novelists, playwrights, journalists, literary agents, publishers, and more—on a mission. Since 1998 we've provided guidance, support, and opportunities for New York City's underserved or at-risk high school girls, enabling them to develop their creative, independent voices, explore careers in professional writing, and learn how to make healthy school, career, and life choices.Now entering our fourteenth season of programming, Girls Write Now is seeking passionate writers, teachers, and leaders.The mentor application for the 2011-2012 program year is now available!DEADLINE - June 15, 2011. Early applications are strongly encouraged.Please find the application on our website: www.girlswritenow.org/gwn/join/mentorsQuestions? Contact Heather Smith, Enrollment Chair, at enrollment@girlswritenow.org.