Houston Tells It Slant: Motherhood

We’re back on!

After initially cancelling this in-person event, we’ve now moved to a virtual event this Thursday, May 7th at 8 PM. To register, click here. 

Houston Tells It

I’m thrilled to be joining Houston-based poets Deborah D.E.E.P. Mouton and Erin Belieu for an evening of readings about motherhood. We’ll be reading work that explores motherhood in all its many facets—chaos and control, intimacy and distance, joy and fear. Following the readings, Writers’ League of Texas Executive Director Becka Oliver will moderate a panel discussion.

The event is made possible in part through funding from the City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance. This will be the inaugural event for a new Houston-based reading series, a program of the Writers’ League of Texas. 

HAA - Logo (Tagline)(CMYK)COH - Seal (Full Color)

“Something That Looks Like a Story”

SelenaFor my latest “Craft Club” interview over at Catapult, I interviewed the amazing fiction writer (and my fellow UH alum) Selena Anderson. We unpacked the process that she went through to write “Godmother Tea,” which you can read online in its entirety at Oxford American. 

When I asked Selena about the first glimmer of the story, she talked about this big gold mirror that ended up birthing the rest of the piece.

When I started writing, I was thinking about Joy and the furniture in her apartment, about what it looks like when she’s alone in there. I was also thinking about how objects tend to take on the personality of the person who uses them. I imagined her standing in front of this huge mirror with a gold edge and these little feet on it . . . 

Once I had the mirror and put it in scene with Joy, everything started happening. I understood what she was going to do, how she felt about herself, the way she talked to herself. I could see her sizing herself up.

I loved the way Selena talked about the process of finding that mirror and putting it into scene. It feels so true, in both nonfiction and fiction: story doesn’t come alive unless you fully commit to a highly specific world.

Here’s the full interview!

My New Monthly Column

I’ve just started a monthly “Craft Club” column for the Catapult community page in which I’m interviewing a diverse set of a contemporary writers about the craft choices they made while working on a single short story, essay, or poem.

Each of the pieces we discuss is available online so that folks can read along each month. In the first installment, I interviewed Frances Lefokwitz about her wonderful essay “Survivor” from The SunHere’s the link.

Craft Club

Growing Your Memoir: Free Online Workshop

Please join me on Sunday, October 27th from 2-3:30 pm central time for a free 90-minute workshop on writing memoir. I’ll share some of the tips that helped me get my first draft onto paper, as well as suggestions for refining your draft and finding the heart of your story. You’ll also get a chance to practice with a few generative exercises.

This class will be held on the easy-to-use Zoom platform, and it’s designed for writers at all levels. Sign up here and I’ll send over log-in information and instructions the week of 10/21. There are a limited number of participants so please sign up early! If you can’t make this class, please add your name to my mailing list to hear about future opportunities.

This workshop is made possible in part through funding from the City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance.

Growing Your Memoir_Logo

Research as Creative Process

I’m excited to be speaking at Rice University at 4 pm on Friday, November 8. I’ll be talking about the two months I spent with Pentecostal communities in Southern Nigeria, and how, for me, research is often a portal for going deeper in personal narratives.

The event will be in the Kyle Morrow Room at the Fondren Library.

Rice Flyer

Scenes: The Building Blocks of Memoir

Know anyone in Yoakum, TX? If so, please send them my way. I’ll be there on Saturday morning, October 5th, giving a free presentation on how to write vivid scenes.

This is sponsored by the Texas Writes program – a great initiative through the Writers’ League of Texas that brings writers to rural libraries for a half day of presentations and panel discussions. More details below…

Yoakum Event

Memoir 101: Online Workshop in January

I’m excited to teach a six-week memoir workshop for Catapult starting on January 7th. If you sign up, you’ll come out of the class with:

– A community of peers embarking on similar projects

– Thoughtful feedback from the instructor and your peers on two excerpts from your memoir-in-progress

– Over a dozen prompts designed to help you generate new material when you’re feeling stuck

– A revision protocol that opens up numerous possibilities for strengthening your draft

– A sample query letter and a book proposal template

– A letter from the instructor offering feedback, possible directions for revision, and a personalized reading list

– A 30-minute, one-on-one virtual conference with the instructor to go over your questions and identify goals for the next six months

Only a few spots left: register today.