Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Monthly Memoir Manuscript Workshop

I’ll be leading a private memoir manuscript workshop starting this July. In addition to dedicating class time exclusively to each manuscript, we’ll discuss editing, revising, narrative arc, possible ethical and moral concerns, ordering of chapters and submitting a manuscript for publication. These discussions will emerge from student manuscripts. By offering feedback on someone else’s work, your own editing and revising skills will strengthen.

The class is limited to eight students, and two manuscripts will be discussed during each class. You’ll be expected to carefully read and prepare feedback for the other students’ manuscripts. The first class will be dedicated to a discussion of craft, drafting, revising, and more.

If you are considering this class, you should have a manuscript that is about 75-150 pages long. Please send me 10-15 pages (Times New Roman, 12 point font, double-spaced) by June 1st to be considered for the class. Email your materials to: Chloemiller(at)gmail(dot)com

Monthly Memoir Manuscript Workshop
5 sessions: 2nd Tuesday of every month, 7-9 pm
dates: July 8, August 12, September 9, October 14, & November 11
Cost: $250.00 per student (payable by cash, check or Paypal invoice)
The class is limited to 8 students.
The class will share materials via email.
We will meet in a private conference room near Dupont Circle

Visit my writing coach site to learn more about my services. 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

One Year Later: Toddler & A Manuscript

Hanging out in front of poetry

My son's one year birthday is coming up soon (we're still accepting ideas for his time capsule.) He's taking tentative, straight-legged steps and we're either close behind him or holding his hand.

And I have a rough draft of a full length manuscript. The manuscript spans my first pregnancy, a miscarriage, a second pregnancy, birth and one year of parenthood. About half of the book was written in the last twelve months. It is a very chronological and memoiristic manuscript. Some of the poems have been recently published poems. This summer, as I teach and parent, I hope to continue to edit and revise the individual poems and the manuscript as a whole.

This all adds up to quite a year! There are nights when we all sleep soundly for more than a few consecutive hours, and there are nights when we are so tired we can't remember having ever slept very long. It isn't easy to teach, write and run errands while co-parenting our son, but it is possible (most days).

I've been blogging monthly over at Minerva Rising on this topic of writing as a mamma. This most recent post is about being ok with sometimes not writing, as some writing friends who kindly shared their experiences said.

Overall, I hope that I remember in his second year that it is possible to write and parent, and ok if I don't. Some days we need to simply get through and be kind to ourselves and others. Other days the sun is shining, we're well-rested and we can write fresh lines.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Buying Gifts for Children

It can be really tricky to buy kids' presents. There's the pink aisle and the blue aisle and the themed gifts with character faces. What happened to non-gendered gifts that offer imagination some space?

A Mighty Girl targets strong girls - and boys - and offers some great gift ideas. They are my go-to for age appropriate gifts.

For more, I wrote on my writing coach blog about some other places to search for great children's books

Monday, May 5, 2014

April Showers Bring Haiku

Last month was National Poetry Month and I challenged myself to write a poem a day, as others, like Janlori Goldman, did. I cheated a little - writing ahead or catching up here or there - but I otherwise produced something daily.

I aimed to write a haiku a day. At first the form seemed easy because of its length, but counting syllables and working within the confines of a form isn't as easy as it looks ("easy as it looks," that is, when it is done well.) I found myself counting syllables and listening to words more carefully throughout the day. Overall, it was a fruitful exercise. The resulting poems weren't extraordinary, but they challenged me to think about words differently and continued to weave poetry into my daily life.

The poems also documented moments of each day. Haruo Shirane writes about haiku, "The Japanese have been kind of satirized for carrying cameras around, but before the camera, it was the haiku. So you climbed the famous mountain and you composed the haiku. And that meant that you had been there. And you pulled out your diary and you read that poem and it reminded you that you were there or you could send that haiku to your friend to show that you had been there."

For more on haiku, read poet.org's definition or poet and translator Robert Hass' thoughts on the subject.

For more on National Poetry Month - over on my writing coach blog, I invited guest authors to write about poetry throughout the month. Hope you'll click through to read some of the posts.