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Tag: essays

Two Guns: New essay up now at Vol. 1 Brooklyn

I’m thankful to Vol. 1 Brooklyn for publishing my latest essay, here. We don’t need to share a single point of view, but you’re welcome to walk a mile in my shoes.  Here’s the first paragraph…

Two Guns

On July 10, 2013, around 5:30 PM, an old friend of mine, Teddy Days, was sitting or maybe laying down inside an old hearse he owned that was parked on the side of his small house in Yucca Valley, California. It was about 100 degrees. That kind of heat was probably bearable to Teddy, who had lived in the desert for about nine years. But sitting or laying in this white hearse with the doors closed and the windows rolled up like he was doing—well, anyone might have been heat-crazy. That is probably why he kept opening and closing the hearse’s back doors in those hours he spent trying to decide whether or not to shoot himself like he’d planned to do before his friend called the police, who were now present.

Read the rest at Vol. 1 Brooklyn.


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Fall news

Here’s a little news for the early Fall.

1-Learn to Love Your Artist Statement has affectionately been called “artist therapy” by one of my students. My goal with this workshop has been to help artists who are traditionally hostile or uncomfortable with writing about their work to discover the original viewpoint or ambition present in what they create, and to learn to articulate what is unique about what they are trying to accomplish with all those hours they spend in their studios.

Here’s how one student took the time to describe his experience of the workshop:

“I’d…like thank you for teaching a skill that…at first glance appears both confusing and dubious. Without resources like your class to make them understandable and accessible, the mechanisms of art (beyond its initial creation) often appear opaque and impenetrable to those who have not chosen to make it their profession but would like to participate in it.”

2-In Write a Press Release, Publicize Your Event, we cover the basics of press-release writing, students write a release for their own project/event, and we spend the remaining time talking about how to build press lists and find opportunities for media coverage of independent events. By the end of the 3-hour workshop, students will have a press release and a list of local contacts.

3-In Your Own Words is more like a consulting session than a class. This small, unstructured workshop allows students to bring in whatever professional-writing project needs extra help–such as polishing a résumé, finalizing a business proposal or editing a business plan. Students work one-on-one or get feedback from others; each workshop is customized to meet students’ individual writing goals.

  • WRITING: I’m working on interviews with two authors that you’ll see online in the next few weeks at two publications I respect, read and admire. And that’s all I’m going to say.
  • 100 DAYS AND…: YES, I am still working on the 100 Days project! I am learning so much more and less than I expected to learn about myself as a writer. On Day 100, October 8, 2012, I will have written 100 first-draft essays of least 1,000 words each, on 100 consecutive days. But I’ve never written just 1,000 words, so that’s well over 100,000 words for the summer. I’ll definitely write something about the whole experience…but not until after I take a much-needed quick escape from New York. After that, I, um, may or may not start curating a new series of events. You’re welcome to prod me or pitch me about that, if you read this far…
  • THE BOOK: I have an outline for my book. Finally. So expect my hermit ways to continue throughout the fall, though I’m hoping to do a few readings to balance out my newfound introversion.

That’s all I have for now, please spread the word about my workshops (see for details and to sign up), and thank you for your support!

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100 Days, 100 Essays

I’ve been working on a new project this summer, 100 Days (or sporadically on Twitter, #100days). I am writing one 1,000-word essay every day for 100 consecutive days.  I don’t have any plans to post these anywhere while the project is in-progress, although once I pass day 30 I’m going to start editing a few of my favorites.

I’m not alone in “100 days,” which I learned the first week. Through the #100days hashtag I discovered a painter on a similar mission who is releasing prints of her 100 days of paintings. Coincidentally, we started on the same day. Then I found out that a friend of mine, local artist Cameron Blaylock, has also started a paint-on-consecutive-days project, An Apple a Day. He’s painting an apple every day (and then he eats it). He also started on the same day, July 1, but as far as I know he’s going to stop after 30 days. Lots of coincidences lately. In fact, on two separate days, while I was writing the day’s essay, a butterfly joined me–landing on my hand and then on my keyboard on both occasions.  I can’t think of better writing coaches.

I’ve overwritten the word count on most days, and I’ve also written two essays a couple of times–once as a false start, and then yesterday a new idea came up as soon as I finished the first essay, so I wrote two. I don’t have a total word count, and I didn’t plan to count, but I can safely say that I’ve written 25,000 words in the last 22 days, in 23 separate first drafts. As every other writer says at some point, but my friend Audi  said to me most recently: writing is a verb.

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Writing and writing and some more writing, and oh, right, it’s also Spring!!!

I’m celebrating my one-year anniversary of living in New York this week. When I arrived I had this idea that I wanted to write, so it’s fitting that I woke up with a panic attack on Tuesday, with three deadlines hanging over my head. In typical writer form, I spent the afternoon at Brooklyn Botanic Garden. If anyone had asked I would have certainly told them I took my notes with me, so I could work. And that’s actually true. I don’t usually leave the house without a few projects or a couple of books. As though I might suddenly duck inside somewhere on a beautiful day and find myself tragically idle? Whatever.

So story one of three went online this morning, my first contribution to a blog called The Bushwick Dream. If you’re not familiar with Brooklyn, Bushwick is one of its most creative neighborhoods. I like where I live, and I loved having an opportunity to talk with a well-known (and prolific) UK street artist about his art and my neighborhood, which, it turns out, is not so different from where he lives in East London (Hackney Wick, Bushwick–sisters?!)

Story two is for Curbs & Stoops, I’m writing that one next, er, now, um, as soon as I publish this blog. In fact, hopefully it’s going to be finished so soon that there’s no sense in talking about it. And the third story has been the hardest, it’s a short-ish essay for my super-brand-new, we-just-got-our-name writing group, 1441. Stay tuned for more out of us, including our 1441 Review launch party & reading. (That will of course happen sometime after I finish writing my essay.)

When I finish writing those three stories, I hope I’ll be able to focus on the backlog of ideas I want to work on. And some other non-writing projects, like Bushwick Open Studios, for instance. Well, BOS kind of includes writing, but kind of doesn’t. Stay tuned. I missed living with seasons more than I remembered: Spring really does explode with new birth around here, and I’m glad to be a part of it this year. Happy First NY Birthday to me, and thank you for your support.

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