In the winter of 2013, I was honored to teach a free creative writing workshop to a vibrant group of older adults through the South End Branch Library of Boston. The workshop included poetry and flash fiction and was funded by a grant from Lifetime Arts.
Founded in 2008, Lifetime Arts is a nonprofit organization that serves to inspire and engage America’s growing population of older adults. Their mission, as stated on their website (http://www.lifetimearts.org/about/) is “to encourage creative aging by promoting the inclusion of professional arts programs in organizations that serve older adults; to prepare artists to develop the creative capacity of older adult learners; and to foster lifelong learning in and through the arts by increasing opportunities for participation in community based programming. Our approach releases provider and participant from outdated stereotypes that define older people as needy, incapable or frail. While we partner with and advocate for creative aging initiatives that serve all people within this range, we focus on serving independent adults interested in exploring creative expression in a social group setting.”
Lifetime Arts has included me on their “Creative Aging Roster” of teaching artists who are “trained to create and deliver meaningful programming for and with older adults in a variety of settings.” The organization recently contacted me with a request to update my profile as they prepare to launch their “new look” later this month. The new Roster will appear on June 21, 2015. I am thrilled to be included with a network of talented teaching artists from across the country. To see the Roster, please go to: http://www.lifetimearts.org/roster/
I love the community that editors Melissa Hunter Gurney and Chris Carr are building around GAMBAZine and am honored that my story “One Coffee to Go” was included in Issue 3 published in February 2015.
Here is the editors’ philosophy for the Zine:
“GAMBA is a provocative new publication inspired by the goal to challenge set truths through the generation of authentic, momentary, boundless, art. Hunter Gurney, an independent writer, set out to display raw thought without the pressures and restrictions that come with the publication process on the larger more media-driven scale. The idea spurred from extensive conversations about accessibility of independent and international artists who avidly practice their craft but may not be recognized in the public eye. GAMBA is a place where people can find literary and visual art rooted in passion and thoughtfulness without the politics of publication.”
The Memory issue is now available online through this link: http://issuu.com/gambazine/docs/gamba_memory_3?e=16760899/12400461
JP Reads, first launched in the fall of 2012, is a community-wide literary celebration that joins together the Jamaica Plain neighborhood to read a single book by hosting an author talk, varied events and shared discussions addressing the themes in the book. This year the volunteer Advisory Board, composed of JP residents with representation from Jamaica Plain’s libraries and community organizations, have chosen Madeline Miller’s The Song of Achilles, winner of the 2012 Orange Prize for fiction.
JP Reads is sponsoring two Flash Fiction Contests—one for adults (20+) and one for teens sponsored by Tres Gatos, the Jamaica Plain Gazette and The Writers’ Room of Boston. The Winner of the Teen Contest will receive a $100 cash prize. The Winner of the Adult Contest will receive a $100 gift certificate for Tres Gatos. Both of the winning stories will be published in the Jamaica Plain Gazette. Winners and Finalists will also be published on the JP Reads website: www.jpreads.org. This year’s contest theme is ‘The Reluctant Hero.”
JP Reads is sponsoring a Flash Fiction Writing Workshop on Saturday, March 28 from 10 AM to noon at the Jamaica Plain Branch Library located at 12 Sedgwick Street near the Monument. Led by writer, teacher and JP resident Debka Colson and supported by funding from the Boston Cultural Council, the workshop is free but space is limited. Open to all writers, teens and adults, participants can preregister by calling the library at 617-524-2053. Though everyone will be encouraged to submit a story to the JP Reads Flash Fiction Contest, such entry is not required.
The deadline for submission to the contest is Monday, April 6, 2015. Full guidelines are available on the JP Reads website: http://www.jpreads.org/fiction-contest/.
See also: http://jamaicaplaingazette.com/2015/03/13/jp-reads-flash-fiction-contest-begins/
From Folio Literary Journal:
Contest entrants, we love you all. Here are the results of our 2015 fiction contest, judged by Lydia Millet.
It is our pleasure to announce our winners this year as the following three authors:
1st place: Laura Distelheim, “Meanwhile, Over in Pima County, Arizona, the Medical Examiner Unzips a Body Bag Containing the Latest John Doe Brought in From the Desert”
2nd place: Michelle Wright, “Long Thin Strip”
3rd place: Debka Colson, “New Shoes”
Folio is a nationally recognized literary journal sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences at American University in Washington, DC. Since 1984, the journal has published original creative work by both new and established authors. Past issues have included work by Michael Reid Busk, Billy Collins, William Stafford, and Bruce Weigl, and interviews with Michael Cunningham, Charles Baxter, Amy Bloom, Ann Beattie, and Walter Kirn. Folio looks for well-crafted poetry and prose that is bold and memorable.
See Folio’s announcement: http://ow.ly/JVNsh and website: http://www.american.edu/cas/literature/folio/
Photo by Tara Colson Leaning
Passing Through is an online collaboration between art and writing that seeks to capture, twice a year, the transient nature of our lives. The “road less traveled,” however interpreted, is a significant aspect of this journal, as is movement, intersections, wanderlust , nomadic people, tucked away corners, cities, odd homes, scratch-on-the-map towns, wildernesses, and rites of passage.
A prose/photography collaboration I completed with my daughter was included in the January 2015 inaugural issue of Passing Through.
I am now selling handmade books at the new indie bookstore: Papercuts JP. Owned and operated by Kate Layte, the tiny 500 square foot store is located at 5 Green Street near Centre Street in the middle of Boston’s Jamaica Plain neighborhood. For more information about the store, visit: facebook.com/papercutsjp.
I will be selling small books that include my flash fiction or prose poems, as well as blank books to be used as sketchbooks or journals. Here is a sampling:
A Gap and An Opening: An accordion-fold book that includes flash fiction, collage and hand-painted elements.
Thoughts About Laundry: Prose and hand-colored photographs that hang from a line of laundry.
Sketchbooks & Journals:
Every year, The Writers’ Room of Boston supports four emerging local writers who need financial support to secure a quiet place to develop their work. Fellowship recipients receive full membership to The Writers’ Room for 12 months (February through January) at no cost. Members enjoy 24-hour access to a light-filled work space in downtown Boston and the support of an engaged community of writers.
Awards for the Emerging Writer Fellowship Program are based upon the quality of a submitted writing sample, a project description, a CV or resume and a statement of need. The Fellowships are open to writers working in any genre or form. Fellows should be committed to using the Room on a regular basis throughout the 12-month period.
For more information about the WROB Emerging Writer Fellowship Program, visit: http://www.writersroomofboston.org/fellowship/
Applications are due on December 31, 2014.