Category: the latest

New class: Creativity & Writing at Sterling House

Royal Typewriter drawingI’m looking forward to getting back to teaching with my upcoming new class “Creativity and Writing Workshop,” to be offered at The Sterling House in Stratford, Fairfield County, Connecticut.

The workshop will be held starting Oct. 15, (Wednesdays) from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

This is a 6-week program, open to fiction and non-fiction writers, from beginner to pro. The goal of this class to “jump-start” your writing, wherever you are.

We will explore topics such as: getting started and making time for writing, how to approach a first draft, what your “writing” style is, how to create meaningful characters, and how to use personal experience in writing, among many other topics.

This is space to learn how to do what you don’t know how to do, to reengage your abandoned writing passion, to activate and shape a new area of your creative brain, or to just to see words (and the world) in ways you probably have not before.

To register, please contact the Sterling House, 203-378-2606 or stop by 2283 Main Street in Stratford to register. Fee is $65 (plus membership) for 6 weeks.

You might have any number of questions that aren’t answered here that maybe stopping you from signing up (like, is this class REALLY right for me? Are they going to horrible long writing assignment like my high school teacher made me do? Do I have to let other people read my work?)

If you do, just send them to me or post them as a comment below. See you!

Here’s a bit more about me as a teacher and writer:

I’ve been a writer since I was 7 years old when I created my neighborhood newspaper on my mom’s typewriter. That was the beginning of a lifelong romance with telling people’s stories.

I studied Journalism at the Iowa State University in Ames and while studying there, I worked as an editor for the award-wining Iowa State Daily. I also trained in electronic media, workings as technical director at WOI-TV, the ABC affiliate .

I completed my internship at Walt Disney World in Florida and went on to direct the morning news at WDAF-TV (FOX affiliate) in Kansas City. After four years, I “retired” from television and went back to my first love, writing.

I freelanced for the Kansas City Star, the Kansas City Business Journal, Review and many other publications while I completed my master’s degree at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

I taught two years of college writing at UMKC and was awarded “Outstanding Graduate Teacher” award by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. I went on to work as associate editor for all media at the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers and Blacksmiths until our overseas move.

In London, I had the opportunity to write intensively. I completed two novels (in edits), was shortlisted for the Asham Award for Short Fiction, and studied short fiction under Mary Flanagan.

Back in the States in 2007, I have continued writing, freelancing and created “Demand Poetry.” I taught college writing for three years at Sacred Heart University. I am the resident poet of the Stratford Arts Guild and I currently string for The Stratford Star.

Why I Write Demand Poetry

[caption id="attachment_433" align="alignright" width="300"]Inside the Box by E. Howard at Demand Poetry Come out. Ask for a poem.[/caption]

I started writing Demand Poetry because there was something missing in my connection with readers.

Not all writers are solitary introverts in their garrets.

It’s hard to predict just exactly what a reader wants. I know most editors would say: it’s not a good idea to let the reader dictate to the writer!

I don’t take dictation when I write a Demand Poem.

I just listen to the person who has asked for a poem.

I meet them in the place they have arrived that day. Where they are curious. Where they find themselves with something to say to someone they love, yet are not quite satisfied with the way they have said it themselves.

Because though we still have access to wonderful love songs, we are losing our love letters.

We are very busy writing status updates and tweets and posts and texts.

So that’s what I am offering when I say:

Would you like a poem? 

It’s the chance to co-write a love letter.

It isn’t meant to be pretentious or frightening or strange.

It’s just my way of saying:

Hey. I know you have things you want to say.

I know you’d like to tell someone how remarkable they are.

I know how to help you with that.

It’s Ok to say: Yeah sure. I’ll have a poem.

I will be reading live with some other awesome poets at Artists & Artisans in Paradise, August 24, 11 a.m. and creating Demand Poetry from 11:10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Paradise Green, Stratford. See you there. Limited poems so come early!

In the News, in the news

If I seem distracted lately, it’s all for an excellent cause.
Stratford-Star_avatar
I’ve been stringing for the Hersam Acorn publication, The Stratford Star.  You can click through here to the site to read all of my stories if you are interested. They are a decidedly local news bent, which is something I am passionate about.

My favorite piece was about two Korean War veterans who lived in Stratford and had never met till recently. They had fought together the same day, on the same beach.

Local news is meaningful news. It impacts what we do everyday.  It’s where the heart is. It is full of actionable items. If you want to get involved, it’s a good idea to tweet out #bringbackourgirls, but you may find it more meaningful to ride your bike down to the senior center and volunteer with your neighbors.

So even though the pay is pretty low, I am happy to be writing about important business, features and news developments around towns. Not just “content” and filler, but the real deal.

On a side note and more word to power of local: Did you know that Stratford has approximately 50,000 and a FB group called “Stratford Ladies” that is populated by almost 1,000?

On that FB group, these women do what ladies used to do in social clubs, and in the newspaper — share great and useful information about local businesses, recipes and town meetings and more.

It’s an powerful resource.

 

How Dyana Valentine Said YES, Twice!

This week I am the Guest Poet on the beautiful poetry site: Bentlily. Please do go over and have a look.

But, before you do, I’d like to tell you a quick story about how Vancouver poet and entrepreneur Samantha Reynolds found out about me and Demand Poetry.

I received an email from her about a month or so ago. In the e-mail she said: 

Dear Elizabeth… The indomitable Dyana Valentine suggested I connect with you (she called you her favourite poet).”

Have you ever met someone who is totally and completely brave? Who says  “YES” to things on impulse and lands dead-on right?

That’s who Dyana Valentine is. 

She was the FIRST stranger to buy a Demand Poem from me via my website and Paypal. She didn’t know me. And certainly didn’t have a certificate of guarantee that the poem she would receive from me would satisfy her soul.

But Dyana didn’t hestitate. She invested in me. She laughed with me, and egged me on. She said “Let’s go girl!!” and she must have enjoyed the result, as she has told others about me.

I admit, I have always been a little bit cynical about the concept of “Life Coaching.” But I am not at all cynical about mentors, leaders, and people who inspire us to move forward. These women and men succeed because they are not adverse to risk. They are brave.  They move their minds, bodies and spirits apace.

Investing time and money with a mover pays back, and forward.

So, this is just my way of saying thanks to Dyana Valentine, for her YES, which is a muse of bright impulse and leadership.

And to Tara Gentile too, whose conversation with Dyana connected us in the first place. Thanks for her mindful and fearless dive into the creative world.

Life moves with them.

Why Demand Poetry Thrills (and Chills)


Do people squeal when you tell them what you do?

I didn’t realize that people would SQUEAL when I told them about my business: Demand Poetry.

(Well, men do tend to “guy-squeal,” which is more like: “Ahhhh-AH! COOL!”)

They DO! It’s true! It has happened on the playground, at the gym, at church, at the grocery store. All over.

Demand Poetry (apparently) causes thrills, and chills.

I think I know why. Three reasons

First, Demand Poetry causes thrills because it is it is actually analog.

Let’s face it: we all love the IDEA of analog everything at the moment.

Analog, Redux

We are so tuned in and turned on, we practically vibrate. Our fabulous 960-megapixel Brilliant Phones are being used for everything, including to create photos that look like they were taken from those old, black plastic rectangular torture devices we had in 5th grade, with disposable cube flash.Hazards of Demand Poetry by Elizabeth Howard

So just mentioning a typewriter — particularly to folks just a few years younger than me, in that ‘just-missed-it’ generation– and you get, a reaction. Thrills

Demand Poetry is real analog. It’s not created on an iPhone, via Twitter chat. It’s not faux, with a font-that-looks-messy.

It’s real-world analog. And that’s thrillingly imperfect. It’s immediate, and smudgey, and, achingly human.

The Condensed

Not to mention, it’s//Poetry.  To Tweepsters //Poetry says// Enough.  Enough with Blu-Ray,//DVD, Betamax backwards unspooling of//My life.

We’re  a short & sweet people. Yet the secret to writing good poetry remains elusive to most of the 140-character generation.  The appeal, however, is baldy obvious.

The Cool Deep Down

But it isn’t the just the analog thrill, or the brevity that makes Demand Poetry so meaningful: it’s the chills.

It’s the chills that really make people squeal. Nervous titters from the “oh, don’t I know it, but can’t say it” part of deep down.

The process of Demand Poetry is deeply personal. It’s a way for you to tell a story — your own, one-on-one, perfectly broken love story — through your own, personal muse.

And it can be any kind of love story: mothers, wives, daughters, friends. Yourself.

Demand Poetry by Elizabeth HowardThe end effect between you, the poet (me), and the recipient is much like the connection between the type bar, the ribbon, and the paper.

It’s real, physical contact that hits its mark.

Ready?

Not everyone who gets turned on by Demand Poetry goes through with it.

Following the squeals, the thrills and the chills is the realization that Demand Poetry isn’t just a pretty gift to hang on the wall.

It’s a beautiful, brave intersection between you and that person you love.

And, sure: not everyone is quite ready to put that on paper.

Yet, it’s a story you don’t want to miss telling. So why wait for something as tiny as courage?

Click here, and tell your story.

 

Demand Poetry, Live in CT

 

This  October 2nd, I’ll be live at the original Harvest Festival in Stratford, CT for my third annual Demand Poetry appearance.

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If you haven’t had the chance to experience Demand Poetry, this is a great way to see me in action.

When I do Demand Poetry live, I bring the Olivetti Lettera 33 out in public, to a beautiful spot like Paradise Green in Stratford.

Then strangers and friends alike request a poem from me on the spot. I ask them what they’d like a poem about, or who. We exchange a few ideas and I ask some questions. I take notes.

Then I send them off to browse at the fair.

I write the poem for them, edit it, then type the revised version.

All whilst surrounded by curious 8 year olds asking “What is that Mommy?” “Is that an old computer?”

Come to the green on October 2 and Demand a poem.

Bring the kids. They’ll be amazed.

See you there.

Original Demand Poems = $25 each
All proceeds donated to support the Social Justice Work at UUCGB

Demand Poetry at 35th Annual Harvest Festival
Sunday, October 2, 10-4
Paradise Green, Stratford, CT

Writing About “Craft” at American Craft

My essay on “Why I Make” went live today on American Craft’s blog.

I was so happy to write this piece, since I really believe that good writers need a “physical” outlet– something to give them the chance to get away from writing mentally.

I was super glad that some commenters and readers found it funny and related to it– this is my goal in writing many of my blog posts. Vivid writing that makes you laugh and gets you to look at the mundane in a new way.

My post is part of their series “Why I Make.” I submitted to them after I heard the prompt via their Facebook page, which I “like.” This is one great way to find writing opportunities,  finding writing work in an area in which you:

  • are interested
  • have working knowledge of the topic
  • know the lingo (so yes I DO know what a “bind-off” means in knitting, though its abbreviation “BO” is like say what?)
  • Might already have a few connections on Twitter, etc. who will like and read and share it.

I am grateful to Elizabeth Ryan at American Craft for spotting me in the email abyss. Every essay is another chance to flex those muscles.