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Calls, News, & Reviews

Rebecca Brown offers free lectures through Photo Center Northwest

The inimitable Ms. Brown writes:

Howdy all – I am looking forward to talking with the wonderful Michelle Marsh Dunn at the Photo Center Northwest in the next few months in a series of public conversations about photography, images, words, art, et al. They are free and open to all – please come and participate!

Photo Center Northwest on 12th Ave in Seattle across from Seattle U Campus.

The Conversations open dialogues on subjects of interest; these are not formal presentations but group explorations. Please join us with questions, thoughts, and ideas to share.

All sessions are FREE. First on next Thursday, Jan 28, 6:30. Complete schedule below. Be there!

Picturing / Words          Tuesday January 28, 6:30pm

Appearance / Belief       Tuesday February 25, 6:30pm

Everyday / Art                Tuesday March 25, 6:30pm

Looking / Seeing            Tuesday April 22, 6:30pm

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About Writing Calls, News, & Reviews

New Year’s Lag Time can be deadly for writers.

Don’t let it suck you in.

The Ineffable R. Brown
The Ineffable R. Brown

Yesterday, I signed up for  “Writing Very Short Stories,” Rebecca Brown’s upcoming workshop at Richard Hugo House. I was drawn by the way she described it: “Fiction and nonfiction stories, parables, vignettes, memoir-ish thingies, unclassifiable, etc.”

I haven’t seen the ineffable Ms. Brown on the roster recently. Grab a spot while you still can.

Tomorrow, I will post my non-fiction picks for Hugo House’s winter classes. I teach there, so I know everything.

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Read Alle's work Writing Prompts

The Dog: In Summary (and a writing prompt)

Spoiler Alert!!!! If the plot of Rosie’s story in critical to you, read this “Vehry Intahrchesting” post last.

The Dog bounded out of the first prompt from the first writing class I ever took: Write about a magical transformation.

I remember sitting at The Rosebud Cafe half an hour before the assignment was due, furiously writing what is published, here, as Part One. I remember feeling a great deal of shame as The Dog chewed into the popular people; in the time I was writing about, kids weren’t opening fire on their classmates then killing themselves. I had to follow the story, however. Rosie was the real deal.

At the time, I was trying to sell my (still-unpublished) first novel. A young adult editor from a major publishing house read it. She didn’t want it, but asked me to try something YA. Starting with The Dog, I struggled for two years to make Roise/Lauren/Jonathan into a novel. The voice was clear. The characters were fairly clear; Lauren is still mushy. I had the plot (who does what, and how it culminates). I had chunks of fiction, but the story (what is really going on) never popped.

The short story The Dog (not YA) existed simultaneously.  It always had three sections; not always the same three. I wrote Rosie and Jonathan’s brief affair. I wrote Rosie’s death. I knew Rosie had been molested, and that her perp came into the story only as much as you see in The Dog. I thought alot about the Torah stories of Rachel, Leah, and Jacob. I wrote one. Out of the blue, a call came from the editor of Jew-ish.com, commissioning a Passover shorty story. Working with that editor, what is now the second section emerged, the final section fell into place, and The Dog published, Aou-a-ouuuuu.

In the process of re-posting and summarizing here, I understand why the novel never popped. When I got that Rosie would die young, would die without experiencing love because she would not allow herself to experience her abuse, I locked down. I would not write that story. Not long ago, I took an art therapy class. My doodles focused on color. There was always an initial, purple image that came into contact with black-and-ugly. From the collision a phoenix emerged, redolent.

My artist-self wanted to vary the theme. The therapist said, “Don’t. Your ability to hope is why you survived.”

YOUR WRITING PROMPT (with apologies to Rebecca Brown’s “Writing on the Family” at Richard Hugo House, circa 1999):

Write a magical transformation. It can be a real transformation. It can be imaginary. It can be unclear.